Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Internet is forever: TOUCH.

TouchTouch by Courtney Maum

My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

Sloane Jacobsen is the most famous and sought after trends forecaster in the world. Companies across the globe seek Sloane's knowledge about the "next big thing." Sloane may be confident in her work life, but her personal life is a mess. She's not happy with her boyfriend, Roman, and she's basically estranged from her family--all since she fled to Paris shortly after her father's death. But now Sloane is working for six months in New York: she's back near her family, and Roman is accompanying her on the trip.

This book immediately got off on the wrong foot with me as the main character ranted against how society has changed--using peanut allergies and the horror of having to avoid her favorite peanut-filled treats on a plane as proof. As someone with a kid with a peanut allergy (who has met these lovely people on planes in real life), I was already turned off by Sloane. It never really got any better.

Sloane is supposedly a trend forecaster. Her entire life she's been able to "see" things and predict where society is going with certain trends. She is credited with foreseeing the famous "swipe" action. The problem Sloane faces now is that she thinks society is going to turn against the technology it has come to hold so dear: something that doesn't sit well with the technology-focused firm, Mammoth, who has hired her. After all, Mammoth uses a driverless car to transport Sloane while she works for them. They want her to present at a convention that aims to showcase technology for the childless set.

On the surface, this doesn't sound so bad. Consider parts of it satire and a critique on our tech-obsessed society, and it has real promise. Unfortunately, for me, the premise fell flat. My favorite character wound up being Anastasia, the driverless car. Sloane's boyfriend, Roman, wears a Zentai suit (imagine a full-length wet-suit that covers his entire body) and preaches an anti-touch, pro-cybersex agenda. He's strange. That whole part of the plot is weird, albeit one that offers the occasional comic moment. Maybe my sense of humor is not finely developed enough?

The book nails a lot of the corporate world (you can certainly picture Dax, the head of Mammoth, and many of his worker bees). Other parts of the plot are harder to swallow. Sloane waffles. Roman irritates. The dialogue is oddly written at times. Large pieces of the plot didn't really seem necessary. Other pieces were interesting, but felt like reading a research paper (and I found myself skimming).

So while there were certainly funny moments (and it picked up a bit as it neared the end), overall I just found myself cringing. I didn't like the plot, I never warmed up to Sloane, and I wanted to hit Roman and Dax. Maybe I missed a higher meaning to this novel, as it seems to be getting a lot of better reviews, so take mine with a grain of salt. For me, I just didn't enjoy reading it, and that's why (and I debated this a while), I'm going with 2.5 stars.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Netgalley (thank you!) in return for an unbiased review. It is available everywhere as of 05/30/2017.

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