Book Review: Proxy by Alex London
Knox is a Patron- one of the City’s wealthiest families, he has everything anyone could possibly want- the latest toys, the coolest clothes… and a Proxy to take all his punishments for anything and everything he does. When he does the slightest infraction, Syd- his Proxy- takes the punishment. A broken vase ends in beatings; a practical joke means manual labor. A car crash killing a friend- branding and a death sentence only weeks away from earning his freedom. All because Syd was born a Proxy, and his life is not his own.
Yet there is more to Syd then either of them knows, and when Knox and Syd meet, they end up bucking the system and shining lights into the darkness where light hasn’t been seen in ages- and shaking up a world built upon a system of those who have resources and those who pay for them.
The beginning of a duet, Proxy hooks readers from the get-go and does not release you until the very end, and will then leave you begging for Guardian, the pairing. Knox and Syd are two sides of a coin- Syd striving to get out of the hell-hole he was born into while Knox could care less about where he is and what he’s doing. Less you think that they are stereotypical rich boy/pauper characters, they are definitely NOT. Syd is a master of any technology he can get his hands on, and is constantly working his way around his society, trying to get ahead and get out, even though he’s been branded an 11 by everyone (gay and glitched). However, every misdeed that Knox does keeps dragging him backwards, and when Knox crashes his car and kills a girl, it’s the ultimate punishment for Syd- sent to the prison sector and sentenced to death. The only option for Syd is to run- and to try and fix the system.
Running into various gangs and underground systems along the way, Syd discovers that he hold the key to turning off the Network- the data-stream that flows through everyone in the area and codes people with the knowledge of who you are, what you owe, and what (and who) you own. When he and Knox collide and join forces, no one can stop them- but will they be ready for the sacrifices that the Network will require?
Proxy is an excellent “bromance” book- while Syd is an obvious gay character (it’s right upfront in the first few chapters), the romance aspect is buried within an action-flick/buddy film of a book. Especially attractive is the diversity of the cast in the post-apocalyptic Earth, and the realism of the current-day racism and sexism within the pages.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for all those loving action/adventure/high speed books. I’d pair these with I Am The Weapon (previously Boy Nobody), Pawn, and other dystopias for the intense action and thrill. For classroom readings, I’d pair it with anything to do with institutionalized racism,sexism, and classism in the US, debt and economy discussions, and how far away we could be from this scenario.
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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