The Panopticon

Jenni Fagan. Random/Hogarth, $22 (288p) ISBN 978-0-385-34786-0
After an altercation with authorities leaves an officer in a coma, 15-year-old Anais Hendricks finds herself shuttled off to the Panopticon, a care center for young, chronic offenders modeled after the prison designs of English philosopher Jeremy Bentham. Amid the institution’s crescent-shaped buildings and all-seeing watchtower, Anais befriends a group of ragtag ruffians and delves into her past, endlessly stoned and concerned she’s being watched by an entity she calls “the experiment.” Fagan’s debut, voiced in a frenetic, robust Scottish inflection, weaves together mystery and coming-of-age elements to create a tale filled with dread and humor. Though Anais tries to clear her name and remember what transpired between her and the injured officer (she was under the influence at the time) the novel dwells less on her fate and finds stronger focus on the bonds between residents. Fagan constantly fluctuates between scenes of distress—as when a stoned resident leaps from a window—and scenes of typical teenager behavior: smoking, dating, debating about superpowers, and playing Truth or Dare? Anais’s story is one of abandonment, loss, and redemption, well suited for a paranoid age in which society finds itself constantly under the microscope. Agent: Wylie Agency. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/13/2013
Release date: 07/23/2013
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 185 pages - 978-0-385-34787-7
Paperback - 300 pages - 978-0-385-34795-2
Hardcover - 324 pages - 978-0-434-02177-2
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4481-0632-5
MP3 CD - 978-1-5318-4298-7
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