Poster Girl by Veronica Roth

Sonya lives in the Aperature. It is essentially a prison that holds those once dedicated to the old regime, the Delegation. Sonya’s family were important members of the fallen government, so much so that she had the honor of having her face printed on all of the propaganda posters.

She is a model citizen who follows all of the rules. She is pliable and obedient, just like they want her to be.

Now, her family is gone. Her friends and betrothed are gone. All she has left are the other traitors around her where they will one day die here.

Until a familiar face who reappears; one who betrayed his family and joined the resistance just in time to escape capture. He offers her a deal: if she can find a lost child who was taken by the old regime, she can earn her freedom. Sonya knows it’s all a political stunt. But she is the youngest prisoner in the Aperature and wants a chance at freedom.

As Sonya searches for the girl, who is now a young teenager, she reveals a lot more than she bargained for. And she makes enemies that want the truth to stay hidden.

With the help of some daring outsiders, she is able to make progress that leads to some unsavory answers. Most surprisingly about her own family. She’ll have to decide if she is willing to risk her own life to save another’s. And if she is willing to let the truth come out.

I was really looking forward to this book because I love Veronica Roth! She has such a way of warping reality to reflect a new dystopian future that seems a little too plausible.

Poster Girl was released just last week on October 18, 2022.

This is classic Roth style. Young-ish adult in a dystopian hellscape where she is undervalued and stuck in life. There’s an oppressive government (or two) and some pretty evil, powerful people. There’s a clear distinction between groups and who is treated humanely.

And of course, Roth is warning us of what could become of our own civilization.

In Poster Girl, she’s really getting the point across about surveillance intruding on our personal lives. The characters in the book all have an implant called an Insight. It’s placed in the eye and brain when they are babies and grows with them, weaving itself into the brain. The Insight is a powerful tool that brings any knowledge right to the reader’s eye. It can play videos and music, it can answer your questions, and it has become the best friend of many.

However, the Insight can be accessed by the government to spy on its citizens. If someone breaks the rules, the are instantly punished by a point system called DesCoin. Do a good deed and you earn coin. Make a mistake and you lose some. And it’s all tracked by the Insight that is impossible to remove or turn off.

This insane system is all too real. We are a generation addicted to our smartphones. We obsess over them. We carry them from room to room in our homes and never leave them behind when we leave the house. All of our communications, personal information, locations, and interests are stored on one device. They might as well be attached to us like the Insight.

I was entertained mostly by the premise of the book. A new government has taken over to replace the intrusive and controlling previous regime, but honestly, the new one doesn’t seem so perfect either. I think the point is that there are people who want power and are willing to sacrifice others to take it.

I was also a bit horrified at some of the things in this book. Without spoilers, there were some pretty bad killings. They were not gory, but the thought of them was bad enough. I think the point was to illustrate just how bad some people can be, even those closest to us.

There’s time at the end for redemption and growth for the characters. I was pleased to see some characters change from their initial introduction. Mainly, I felt bad for all of these characters struggling in their own way.

Overall, this is a really insightful book, meant to entertain, but also warn. What happens when convenience becomes dangerous. What happens when oversight becomes invasive?

I highly recommend you go read Roth’s newest book, Poster Girl.

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