Posted by : Deborah Takahashi Monday, August 19, 2013

Plot Summary:
Life for Knox is pretty heaven, especially when he has money to burn and no one to stop hi. In this world, only the rich can thrive because everything has a price tag. For Syd, he isn't rich and he knows what it's like to suffer. Since the moment he was abandoned, Syd has been wracking up debt because it cost money to feed, cloth, medicate, and keep a roof over his head. In fact, it costs money to go to school so most teens either work or ask their patrons to front them the money. In this world, the patron system is not about philanthropy- it's about give and take. If teens didn't have patron, they would their lives in utter squalor or die. Although Syd hasn't wracked up the debt like his best friend Egan, his "job" and his low-profile lifestyle has kept him a float and almost debt free. Once Syd has paid off his debt, he will flee the Valve and everything else that has made his life miserable and start over as a free man and not as a Proxy. To be a proxy is to be in debt to a patron and that patron can dish out any goodness and evil upon the Proxy. Unfortunately for Syd, he is Proxy to Knox. When Knox's father purchased Syd's debt, Syd has been obligated (mind, body, and soul to endure any punishment that Knox would accumulate. In other words, Syd knows what its like to be beaten with EMD (Electro-Muscular Disruption) stick, slaving away under the hot sun, and being left alone in the dark for days. Although being hit with an EMD stick is painful, Syd is tough and he can pretty much take whatever punishment that Knox deserved. However, when Knox got into a car accident that killed his friend, Marie, Syd is the one who will be tried and sentenced. Knox may be a spoiled brat, but, this was now what he wanted for anyone...even his Proxy. The question that remains is: will Knox have the courage to take his own punishment or will Syd comply with his punishment. Decision making has never been so difficult and the consequences have never been greater.

Critical Evaluation:
Alex London has created a world that is not only frightening, but provides a look into a world that could very well become our own. In this society, people are born with debt unless they are among the wealthy. There is no middle-class in this world; only the very rich and very poor. Syd accumulated debt the moment his parents abandoned him and he had no choice but to grow up in an orphanage. In other words, Syd had no choice in how, when, and where he would live, nor did he have the capacity to obtain the money to pay for his necessities. Syd's situation is a classic example of economic inequality where the law of the land has literally allowed free enterprise to discriminate and, to an extent, subjugate, the poor. Politics aside, the morality of the Proxy system is just as appalling. To think, if one has enough money to purchase another human to be a "beast of burden" then slavery has slithered its way back into society. Syd is a victim of his circumstances and when Knox goes too far, he pushed into desperation that could very well kill him. However, the price of freedom is well worth the risk and Syd has no choice to upset the balance that he has so carefully tried to maintain in order to pay off his debt. Syd is one of those dynamic characters who is not only poor, he is also gay and a minority. Not only does he have to deal with ridicule of being poor, people look at him differently because he happens to like guys and he is not from the area (based on his skin color). In addition to the very complex plot, London gives this character a million milestones to overcome and Syd, by the grace of God and higher powers, miraculously overcomes all of it. For Knox, growing up privileged has also, in a way, made him a victim of his circumstances as well. Knox is expected to take over his family business and he is supposed to be the model example of a future business executive. However, after losing his mother and his father's nonexistence, Knox did what any typical teenager would do and rebel. However, when Knox witnessed Syd's beating for his mistake when they were just four years old, he promised he would change, but, unfortunately, that was short-lived. Over the years, Know has become indifferent to Syd's punishment, but when Knox killed Marie, Knox had literally sent Syd to his death. I truly believe that Knox, despite his poor judgment, knows what is right and wrong and that is why he did what he had to do. Call it guilt, or  humility, but Knox finally learned that he really does have to grow up and take his future into his hands. This book is a non stop-thriller filled with raw emotion and lots of surprised.  

Information about the Author:
According to his website:
C. Alexander London grew up in Baltimore, Maryland. He's an author of nonfiction for grown-ups (under a slightly different not very secret name), books for teens (as Alex London...see above), and, younger readers. He once won a 12-gauge skeet-shooting tournament because no one else had signed up in his age group. He's a Master SCUBA diver who hasn't been diving in way too long, and, most excitingly, a fully licensed librarian. He used to know the Dewey Decimal System from memory.
He doesn't anymore.
While traveling as a journalist, he watched television in 23 countries (Burmese soap operas were the most confusing; Cuban news reports were the most dull), survived an erupting volcano in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a hurricane on small island in the Caribbean, 4 civil wars (one of them was over by the time he got there, thankfully), and a mysterious bite on his little toe in the jungles of Thailand. The bite got infected and swollen and gross and gave him a deep mistrust of lizards, even though it probably wasn't a lizard that bit him.
Although he has had many adventures, he really does prefer curling up on the couch and watching some good television or reading a book. He enjoys danger and intrigue far more when it's happening to somebody else.
He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Teen Sci Fi

Reading Level/Interest:
Teen Dystopian Thrillers, Teen LBGTQ Fiction, Teen Sci Fi

Books Similar to Proxy:

Awards & Recognition:

"Put down what you're doing and read this book. Right now. The complex characters, intricate world, and blistering pace are off-the-charts amazing. I fell in love with this story from the first sentence to the final, epic page. London is a force to be reckoned with." -   Marie Lu, author of the Legend trilogy

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Deborah Takahashi
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My name is Deb and I am a Librarian who absolutely loves to read and recommend books to teen and tween readers. In this blog, you will find reviews on a variety resources ranging from books, movies, video games, and much more. Please feel free to leave any feedback, especially book recommendations!
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