By M. T. Anderson
Candlewick Press, 2002
Feed is a YA dystopian Science Fiction novel, a psuedo-transhumanism tragicomedy. It is a fairly good example of YA cyberpunk, although completely lacking in hackers.
Titus is a perfectly normal teenager -- he goes to SchoolTM, he buys what his feed tells him is brag, and he talks like a lobotomized chimp. But one day, while on a trip to the Moon (which completely sucked), he meets a strange girl. Violet reads, she uses words like 'suppuration' and 'autumnal', and she intentionally tries to manipulate her feed... There's really no reason for Titus be be attracted to her, but he is.
Which would be brag, except that what really meg-sucks is that some old dude at the club zaps them with some kind of thing that completely shuts down their feeds. Titus, Violet, and Titus' various other friends all end up in a hospital ward without anything -- no chat, no music, no TV, no shopping, not even the ability to zonk out on some malware. Which, after they get used to the big hole in their minds, turns out to be okay.
And then they get their feeds fixed, and everything goes back to the way it was. Except that Violet has all of these crazy ideas, like that killing all of the trees was a bad idea, or that oceans should be clean enough to swim in, or that the mega-corporations might not be entirely on their side. Which actually fits in well with what's happening in the world, which appears to be falling apart. The mysterious lesions that are affecting the younger generation are getting worse, other countries are threatening severe consequences if America doesn't shape up, and people keep putting on protests, even if they aren't really sure why.
As far as stories of the future go, this is a pretty good setting. The future is quite futurey, there are nice little touches -- like the ambient background radiation being so high that traditional sex is no longer a functional method of producing children. On the other hand, the book is written from the perspective of teeagers from the future!, which naturally means not only a lot of swearing and acting dumb, but also a layer of made-up slang words. I also take issue with the ending, which was really just mega-depressing. But I have to admit, if you like depressing tales, this one is inventive and entertaining, and somewhat better than the average YA SF tale.