In Cindy Pon’s novel Want readers are taken on a journey to near-future Taipei where the air is so polluted that there are specialized suits which only the rich can afford, leaving the poor to suffer. We are introduced to Jason Zhou, an orphan who is determined to change his city for the better.
The suits are monopolized by Jin Corporation. As Jason goes undercover to infiltrate the company, he explores the life of the rich and meets Daiyu, the heiress of Jin Corporation.
With help from Daiyu and his friends, Jason discovers that Jin Corporation is behind the widespread pollution in Taipei. It is also revealed that the company has been blackmailing politicians to prevent environmental bills from being passed and murdering advocates for environmental regulation. In addition, they also released strains of a virus in an effort to reduce the population of the poor.
After setting off a series of explosions to destroy Jin Corporation plants, the public is exposed to the truth. Although Jin is charged with many crimes, he escapes the city and promises to build new plants.
An antidote for the virus is successfully made and Jason promises to save the city from further ruin. The ending of the book seems to promise a sequel.
Young adult novels have not been as popular in recent years. Most of them are full of cliches and the plots quickly become predictable. However, the summary of this book seemed promising.
While the plot was nothing new, readers can appreciate the creativity and hidden message. Cindy Pon’s descriptions of future Taipei was both exciting and horrifying. The technological advancements she describes are amazing. However, the breakdown of social interactions that come along with it are troubling.
The hidden message of Want was it’s most considerable aspect. By depicting the extreme pollution of the city, Pon is sending a clear message about the importance of saving the environment. There are many times in the story when the characters wonder what blue skies or shining stars look like which are things we take for granted. Although the story itself was typical, Jason’s quest was more than inspiring and Pon’s message is sure to resonate with readers.