Review of Stefan Petrucha - Teen, Inc
Jaiden Beale is in nearly every way a typical teenager. He is starting to becoming aware of himself and his place in the world. He has been going through the changes of puberty, becoming an adult. His hormones are racing, bringing with them a growing sexual awareness and all the insecurities these changes bring.
Jaiden's life is a little more complicated than most. Whilst still a baby Jaiden's parents were killed due the negligence of a large company, NECorp. The company sought to regain some PR points by adopting him and offering to raise him in place of the parents he had lost.
Although initially a media sensation, his celebrity has grown quiet and he believes he has the chance of at least some normality, the chance to be an ordinary kid. He convinces NECorp to allow him to attend a regular high school.
However, each incident or opportunity in his life has to be passed by a committee, the corporation being paranoid against future potential lawsuits. Their obsession with guiding his life has effects ranging from stifling to deeply embarrassing. They offer him seminars on dating, profiles on potential girlfriends etc.
And when the girl Jaiden likes just happens to be an environmental campaigner dedicated to proving NECorp is releasing pollution in levels far greater than they report, the higher ups see it as an opportunity to gain inside information about the environmentalist's work.
Jaiden, though, doesn't want to play their game, and fights back. Problem is the corporation has a great deal more resources than he does.
This is a real David vs. Goliath tale. Jaiden is struggling against absolutely overwhelming odds. But he still fights, he doesn't give up. And because of this the book is very uplifting; it’s a true story of hope.
This is a great example of a what-if tale on a human scale. Jaiden's age is perfect for the story, it works in a way that just wouldn't were the lead character adult. For not only is Jaiden struggling against the machine that is NECorp, but he having to do so at a time in his life when he is unsure of himself - standing, as he is, at that junction between his childish past and adult future.
Highly recommended stuff.