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Weyn, Suzanne. The bar code tattoo.

WEYN, Suzanne. The bar code tattoo. Scholastic. 252p. c2004. 0-439-39562-3. $5.99. JS

In a book not far from the headlines ... What if people began to get bar codes tattooed on their arms for identification, for credit card purchasing, for movement around the country, for getting a job? This is the premise of The Bar Code Tattoo, a story about Kayla, a high school student who is beginning to get suspicious of what the bar codes are doing to her world. Her friend's father can't get a job, people are losing their homes, alienating their families and committing suicide, and she knows it is somehow connected to the bar codes. She joins a group working against the codes and against Global-1, the corporation behind the codes, and soon is inspired to fight the bar code--and to fall in love! In the end, Kayla finds herself unwittingly on the lam, separated from her friends and family but knowing in her heart that she is doing what is right.

This is a great book, one that reminded me of one of my favorites, Feed by M.T. Anderson, though a little less futuristic. It would be an excellent tie-in to discuss contemporary issues of proposed US I.D. cards and civil rights, as well as corporate domination and centralization of ownership. Students will enjoy the multilayered story lines and some students will recognize the similarities to the book of Revelation, which, if you read the author's note, inspired the title. A frightening book. Sarah Applegate, Libn., River Ridge H.S., Lacey, WA

J--Recommended for junior high school students. The contents are of particular interest to young adolescents and their teachers.

S--Recommended for senior high school students.
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Author:Applegate, Sarah
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 2005
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