Synopsis from Good Reads:
Knox was born into one of the City’s wealthiest families. A Patron, he has everything a boy could possibly want—the latest tech, the coolest clothes, and a Proxy to take all his punishments. When Knox breaks a vase, Syd is beaten. When Knox plays a practical joke, Syd is forced to haul rocks. And when Knox crashes a car, killing one of his friends, Syd is branded and sentenced to death.
Syd is a Proxy. His life is not his own.
Then again, neither is Knox’s. Knox and Syd have more in common than either would guess. So when Knox and Syd realize that the only way to beat the system is to save each other, they flee. Yet Knox’s father is no ordinary Patron, and Syd is no ordinary Proxy. The ensuing cross-country chase will uncover a secret society of rebels, test both boys’ resolve, and shine a blinding light onto a world of those who owe and those who pay. Some debts, it turns out, cannot be repaid.
Proxy was an enjoyable read with an interesting take on the Dystopian genre. It worked well in some places and not as well in others.
The world building was just enough to get the gist of the new society, without delving too far into the how and why. There are Patrons, the rich society who live super hi-tech, lux lives. Then there are the poorer population in the Valve. They live in kind of the sewers of the Patrons. The whole society is based on debt. Just being “rescued” from the outside wilderness gives you ten years of debt. Every medical appointment or purchase can add on years to your debt. The Patrons buy your debt and in return you work it off as their proxies. Inspired from the idea of whipping boys, when a Patron misbehaves, his Proxy is punished. There is a resistance, The Rebooters, who want to forgive all debts and start over, there are the wealthy Patrons who are happy with the way things are, and there’s Syd, a Proxy who just wants to pay off his debt and be left alone.
Of course, Syd is the reluctant hero of the story. When an especially severe punishment is handed down from Knox’s behavior, Syd’s debt, which is just a couple years of being repaid, is almost doubled and he goes on the run to escape it. With the help of his best friend, Egan, his Patron, Knox, and a Causegirl, Syd runs head first into his destiny.
There’s some confusing back story and unlikely coincidences that leads to the final chapters. All Syd wants is a choice, but all choices seem to already be made for him. A twist at the end brings redemption to one character and hope to another.
I thought Syd and Knox were both relatively well developed. They both have demons they face and both have some growth throughout the novel, but ultimately I never found either of them particularly lovable. I found it refreshing that this is a YA novel that didn’t revolve around romance. I also liked that Syd’s sexual orientation is just another part of his character and was not used as some greater platform.
Overall, I enjoyed Proxy. While I thought the world building and the the back story could have been a ittle more developed and explained, the plot was interesting and pretty fast-paced. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.
Rating (out of 5):
Overall Rating: 3.375 Stars