Monday, May 17, 2021


I have another dystopian book for you today. I plan on branching out to other genres soon, but this one was too good to pass up.

Synopsis from Amazon:

Everyone gets the Mark. It gives all the benefits of citizenship. Yet if getting the Mark is such a good thing, then why does it feel so wrong? 

Set in a future North America that is struggling to recover after famine and global war, Swipe follows the lives of three kids caught in the middle of a conflict they didn’t even know existed. United under a charismatic leader, every citizen of the American Union is required to get the Mark on their 13th birthday in order to gain the benefits of citizenship.  

The Mark is a tattoo that must be swiped by special scanners for everything from employment to transportation to shopping. It’s almost Logan Langly’s 13th birthday and he knows he should be excited about getting the Mark, but he hasn’t been able to shake the feeling he’s being watched. Not since his sister went to get her Mark five years ago . . . and never came back. 

When Logan and his friends discover the truth behind the Mark, will they ever be able to go back to being normal teenagers? Find out in the first book of this exciting series that is Left Behind meets Matched for middle-grade readers.

What I liked:

  1. World building: The key to a good dystopian, fantasy, or sci novel is the world building. And for me, the backstory of why the world is the way it is has to make logical sense. (Don’t get me started on the dystopians where they banish stupid people!) Angler did a great job with including some fun elements (houses are built in stories since land is too expensive), while having logical reasons for why the world worked as it did.   
  2. Sympathetic Main Characters: I thought both Logan, with his anxiety and missing sister, and Erin, with her interest in spying and longing to get her family back together, were well-drawn and realistic. Having completely different ways of looking at the world added to the tension. 
  3. A dystopian that’s really a mystery. If I were to categorize this book, I’d put it more firmly in the category of mystery, but with a dystopian setting. I liked discovering along with Logan and Erin what was really happening to those who took the mark, who the Dust were, and what happened to Logan’s sister. 
  4.  A main character you can look up to: I read a book with a similar plot line where the main character didn’t rise to the challenge when faced with a difficult choice. But this book was different. By the end of the book, Logan wasn’t satisfied to hide and stay safe. He was willing to risk his life to find out the truth about his sister—and that’s the kind of hero I love. 
  5. An ending that gave closure, even though it’s a start of a series. It’s frustrating when the first book of a series ends on a cliffhanger that doesn’t tie up any lose ends. This book had a clear climax and resolution, but left a few open threads for the next book, which I’m reading right now.

Minor Quibbles: This book is multiple point of view. While I felt like that worked most of the time with Erin and Logan, when other characters’ POVs were included, it got a little muddy for me. But this was a small thing.

 Book trailer:

About the author (from the author's website):

Who is Evan Angler?

Evan Angler is safe, for now. He lives without the Mark, evading DOME and writing in the shadows of Beacon.

As a kid he was quiet and well-behaved, having grown up in a town not unlike Spokie, where he enjoyed music, drawing, hover-dodge, astrophysics, hiking, virtual reality . . .

None of that matters now.

Evan Angler is the author of the Swipe Series. But if anyone asks, you know nothing about it, and you didn't hear anything from him. Don't make eye contact if you see him. Don't call his name out loud. He's in enough trouble already.

And so are you, if you've read his books.


                                                Evan Angler  


Don’t you just love that bio?

What books have you loved lately?    

 If you'd like to read more middle grade reviews or join in the MMGM fun, go to Greg Pattridge's Always in the Middle blog. 



  1. I love that this is a mystery but in a dystopian setting. Thanks for sharing about a great book that I never heard about. I'll have to see if I can get it at my library.

    1. I got mine from my library. I hope you enjoy it, Natalie!

  2. What's scary is how close we are edging toward a society like that.

  3. This sounds like an exciting story! I like that it has strong characters and worldbuilding. I'm honestly a bit tired of multiple-POV books myself, so I understand where you're coming from about all the POVs here. Thanks for the great review!

    1. Yes, multi-POV is not my favorite. I do like omniscient sometimes, like with the Incorrigible Children, but it's very hard to do well.

  4. As someone who would be perfectly happy to let Bill Gates stick a microchip in my finger if it means I could just swipe my finger everywhere instead of remembering passwords and PINs (!) I am definitely intrigued by this plot! And the author's bio makes me think he's an author whose humorous voice I would enjoy.

    1. Ha! It's a very interesting read. Hope you enjoy it, Kim!

  5. Can't wait to read this one even though it does sound a bit creepy. Not crazy about too many viewpoints but the characters and setting win out. Thanks for featuring on MMGM.

    1. I hope you enjoy it, Greg! It's definitely mysterious and eerie at times, but with hope (not too dark).

  6. I like dystopian books, too, Jenni, & this is a new series/book to me. It sounds like one that's great for middle school kids. Thanks!

  7. Hi Jenni. I'm not really a dystopian fan, but if it is really well written I can get into it.
    Have you read Kenneth Oppel's Overthrow series? I am anxiously waiting to read Thrive, the last in the series.

  8. Jenni, you really got my attention with your fascinating and well-written review! I'm hooked. Will be looking for this book. The series reminds me a bit of Michelle Isenhoff's Recompense series (YA) -- mystery, dystopian and fantastic world-building. I reviewed on my website. Thanks for the great review!

  9. I don't read dystopian fiction, but your review makes me think maybe I should make an exception for this book. It sounds really, really good. i do love the bio. Thanks for the post.

  10. Interesting. It does sound good. It also sounds a little too true to life right now.

  11. I just reread Wonder, and it reminded me that multiple viewpoints can be a good thing. I will keep an eye out for this one. I like a good hero.

  12. Oooh, this sounds good! I hadn't heard of it yet, but I've gotten way behind on my MG and YA reviewing.

    I totally agree with you - a good dystopian story must explain why the world is the way it is. That's one of the reasons I liked Allegiant the best of the 3 Divergent books - it finally explained the backstory/history.

    Thanks for the great review - oh, and I love the great outdoors (as well as books), too!


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