Lizard Radio - YA Review by Sam T

Reader: Sam T.
Age: 16
Title: Lizard Radio
Author: Pat Schmatz
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pub Date: 09/08/15
Galley: Yes
Top 25: No
Convince us to read the book: I hated this book; in fact, it was one of the worst things I have ever had the displeasure of reading. 
     Almost every other word is a complete nonsense word or phrase, like "jazzy", "sweetbits", "Cleezies", "Mealio", "benders", "samers", "Pieville", "vape", "Quint", "lands smack in my biz", "kickshaw", "fikety-fike", "quiet-quiet", "brainiola", "burby", "Blight", "frods", and countless others I didn't have time to mention. 
     Every time one of these nonsense words appear little or no explanation is given to their meaning. Often the book also uses bizarre sentence structure, such as using phrases like "a big happy", among others. 
     This book reads like an inebriated baby chimpanzee that is well versed in nonexistent 90s hip-hop lingo messed around on Google Translate.
     The story (if you can call it one) concerns a teenager dropped into a camp where the campers grow vegetables, take weird drugs, pray, and have sex. 
     The government, called the bizarre name of "SayFree Gov", makes kids decide their gender at age ten and then not only changes it for them but then makes them take classes on how to be that gender. There's also something called "The Blight" and "vaping". NOTHING IS EXPLAINED.
     This gender-bending idea is unrealistic not only because it seems to be a completely useless allocation of resources and effort, but also, considering that transgendered people make up a tiny fraction of the population, it doesn't make sense to make the other 99% of people go through this arduous process.
     There's also something about reptilian aliens, which seems like something pulled straight out of either the craziest conspiracy forum on the Internet or a bad 50s B-movie.  
     This book is all over the place. It is extremely difficult to read (and this is coming from someone who's read some postmodernist literary theory and technical scientific documents!). The only part of it I actually enjoyed was writing this review. I only made it to about chapter four or five before the comedic value had grown old.
Memorable or Forgettable: This book is memorable only because of the level of my dislike for it. This book makes me angry.
Cover: If you removed the silhouette of the person, the words "Lizard Radio", and the pages in between the front and back covers, it would be an OK cover.
Age Range: 14 through 17
Quality: 1Q - How did it get published?
Popularity: 1P - Yech!  Forced to read it
Additional Comments: There is a place for bizarre, surrealist contemporary "art", but the YA genre is not that place. This book was a confusing slurry of made-up words, strange sentence structure, and overall incomprehensible plot. On an A to F scale, it gets an F minus.

tags: science fiction / dystopian / coming of age / ya lit

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