Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Review: The Panopticon by Jenni Fagan

Title: The Panopticon
Author: Jenni Fagan
Format: ARC
Publisher: Hogarth
Publish Date: July 23, 2013
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a fiction fan.
  • You don't mind tough subjects.
  • You like great writing!
What's the Story?:

From Goodreads.com: "Anais Hendricks, fifteen, is in the back of a police car. She is headed for the Panopticon, a home for chronic young offenders. She can't remember what’s happened, but across town a policewoman lies in a coma and Anais’s school uniform is covered in blood.

Raised in foster care from birth and moved through twenty-three placements before she even turned seven, Anais has been let down by just about every adult she has ever met. Now a counter-culture outlaw, she knows that she can only rely on herself. And yet despite the parade of horrors visited upon her early life, she greets the world with the witty, fierce insight of a survivor.

Anais finds a sense of belonging among the residents of the Panopticon – they form intense bonds, and she soon becomes part of an ad hoc family. Together, they struggle against the adults that keep them confined. When she looks up at the watchtower that looms over the residents though, Anais knows her fate: she is an anonymous part of an experiment, and she always was. Now it seems that the experiment is closing in."

My Two Cents:

"The Panopticon" is the story of Scottish teenager, Anais, who ends up in the Panopticon after being bounced around from foster home to foster home and potentially committing a crime that she doesn't remember committing. Told from Anais's point of view in explosive detail, this book is a really good debut from Jenni Fagan.

This is book deals with a lot of tough topics. Anais doesn't have a very good background. Passed all over creation, she doesn't feel like she belongs anywhere or that she can do anything about her situation. She wants to get out of the system but she feels like she's being held back. You're pulling for her throughout the entire book. You want things to get better! Fagan writes Anais in such a way that even though she makes bad decisions, you still feel for her. She is truly an unforgettable character.

The writing of this book was especially gripping. As I mentioned, the book is told from Anais's point of view, which truly pulls the reader into the story. You see what Anais is doing and why she's doing it and what she's thinking while she's doing it. We get to meet all of the other teens that are in the Panopticon and get a close look at Anais's relations with them and how they continue to shape her.

The book started out very fast paced and over all, this story is very good but it lost a little bit of steam towards the end. The ending of the book is great though. Although this book deals with tough subjects, it's a great story! I am looking forward to Fagan's future releases!



  1. I've been hearing lots of great stuff about this book and since moving to Scotland I'm trying to read more Scottish fiction. It sounds good, but it also sounds depressing. Still sitting on the fence about it.

  2. Definitely plan on trying this one. I just like the sound of it. Glad it worked for you.

  3. Oh, I am so glad to read you enjoyed it! I got it not too long ago and have yet to read it, but was really intrigued by the story. I love that it seems to tackle some though subjects in a different setting. Can't wait to read it. Great review!

  4. I've been meaning to read this and your review just bumped it up a few spots on my tbr list.


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