Zoe Zindleman has just been “graduated” from high school a year early because the Governor of her dystopian world has decided to privatize what remained of public education in order to help balance the budget and eliminate government-run services (“I don’t believe in government!” the Governor announces proudly on the News). Zoe is assigned an entry level job at AIRMART, a local big box store, instead of heading off to University, because, well – she can’t afford it. In fact in her universe she can’t afford anything – no one can. Her house is going into foreclosure, her mother moves away leaving her alone, and her father was killed years ago (kicked in the head by an ostrich). So what is a girl to do?

MARTians by Blythe Woolston is a satirical novel which imagines a world that, frankly, isn’t too far off from our own. Woolston deals with this economically depressed and soulless consumer society with humor. Cheery commercial scripts, news transcripts, and other ephemera of this plastic society punctuate Zoë’s narration, bearing witness to her grim environment, which, heartbreakingly, has no defeatable villain.

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