The Word Exchange by Alena Graedom

I owe this author a big apology. I have been reading this book since April. It NEVER takes me this long to read and review a book. All I can say is, I had a lot of trouble getting into it and STAYING into it, yet I really wanted to finish it.

Word Exchange Hardcover (XX)

Word Exchange Hardcover ((Knopf Doubleday)

THE PLOT: In a slightly futuristic world, almost all written word has been replaced by devices called Memes that respond to thought. Anana is searching for her father, Doug, who worked on the North American Dictionary of the English Language and refused to use Memes. Helping her is her coworker and father’s colleague, Bart, who also serves as an alternating narrator. Bart is in love with Ana, but is also sort-of friends with her ex, Max, whose company is introducing an even more invasive version of the Meme. Is he behind Doug’s disappearance? Then people start showing signs of aphasia…mixing up words and making up fake words in an illness known as “word flu.” Will technology wipe out language as we know it?

MY TWO CENTS: As an editor, I thoroughly abhor what texting and Twitter have done to our language. Language is being dumbed down to fit in 144 characters or less, and new “words” like vacay make me sick. In that mindset, I was totally ready to enjoy this book and its message. Unfortunately, I feel like the message got a bit lost in an overly long sea of too many words. I realize that wordiness is part of the punchline, but an author also needs to keep the reader moving along. Maybe the editor needed to be more brutal in streamlining it. I got bogged down in the reading so many times that I finally switched to the audio version about 1/3 of the way through. I will say that I connected with Bart as the narrator more than I connected to Anana.

BOTTOM LINE: A great premise, but a little too detailed and dragged out, and too many unimportant characters. Some readers love it; I found it okay. I wanted to love it.

TEACUP RATING: Three out of five teacups.

ON SALE DATE: Available now in hardcover, eformats, and audio. It will be released in paperback will be released on 2/3/15.

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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