Cover Image: Waste of Space

Waste of Space

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Member Reviews

Once again Gina Damico has written a story that is so much fun!  I love her characters, the snarkiness, the silliness, all of it. And it's not just that the characters are so great, the story itself is full of all kinds of great scenes, and extremely edge of your seat action at some points!  While you know there is something going on, I didn't quite guess exactly what it was until it was actually happening in the story.  In a way, this is almost a tribute to stories like Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, in that the story is told through recordings and video, with comments from the intern that is turning all this evidence into a book so that everyone knows what really happened.  This book had me sitting and laughing at something on almost every single page, especially a lot of the dialogue. There were actually two parts in the story I had to make note of.  Let me share them with you.

Page 73:

NASAW:  You know you can't just put the word "space" in front of everything and act like it makes sense.

Chazz:  Watch me!

Page 203:

NASAW:  It's ludicrous.  None of that makes any sense, scientifically speaking.

Chazz:  You don't make any sense, scientifically speaking.

As you can tell, Chazz is a bit of an imbecile.  I mean there are all the words he either creates or gets wrong.  Like "intrepit" instead of "intrepid."  And that he wants them to make a "Spaceplane" and calls the kids on there "spacetronauts."  All of the characters are really perfect fits for a reality tv show.  And Damico totally blows each of their stereotypes all the way out, takes them to the supreme limits.  The villain is pretty much a villain.  There is the party girl that is pretty crazy.  Of course they had to have minorities, which includes one Japanese girl - Kaoru - who pretty much only speaks Japanese, making all of her comments also hilarious.  They also needed someone with a physical handicap, in this case, a missing finger.   

I really need to get back and finish the Croak series, as well as get Hellhole read.  I'm never disappointed when I read this author's books.  Can't wait to add this one to my school library for my students to read.
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Waste of Space by Gina Damico is definitely one of those books I blame for my reading slump, but I had already invested a couple hundred pages in it, so I just didn’t want to give up either and I finally finished it this month. Finally. I really enjoyed Damico’s debut series, Croak, which was a fun Dead Like Me trilogy, but hadn’t tried any of her later books until Waste of Space.

This book is about a reality television show where they pretend to cram 10 teens into a spaceship, and use a lot of special effects to convince them they are really in space. But then, communication is severed and the teens must figure out what to do next. The novel itself is told in a mix of transcripts of various kinds, which is usually a format I enjoy (see, Illuminae) with a heavy dose of satire.

The reason that Waste of Space didn’t work for me and Croak did, is that I just didn’t care about any of the characters at all in this book. And 500+ pages is a long time to not care about the characters you are reading about, especially when they are supposed to be in some kind of life-threatening danger. Then, when it finally, finally, got to the end, the “twist” just felt dumb. In fact, a lot of the story was pretty dumb and boring, even when it was supposed to be satirical. I think Damico was trying to break down stereotypes, but it took far too long for that to happen, and the book just moved really slowly. If I sound grumpy, it’s because I am really annoyed by what waste of time Waste of Space was, so even though I’d like to read her other books, it will be awhile before I pick up another Damico novel.
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I loved the basic premise of this fast-paced, page-turner of a book - ten hormonal teens are supposedly crammed into a space ship and sent to outer space for the ultimate reality show. All stereotypes are present - the awkward emo kid, the slutty party girl, the jock, the nerd, the soldier, etc. however, unbeknownst to them, they aren't actually orbiting the earth, but instead are stuck in a warehouse in the middle of the desert in a fake replica spaceship.
Once you've set your disbelief to anti-gravity mode and accepted the basic premise, this is actually an extremely entertaining read. The characters are well imagined, the plot rips along at a fast pace and keeps the reader guessing as to what is actually going on behind the scenes, especially when the show is a massive success and then suddenly goes offline....
I docked one star for the last section, where the story floated off into an orbit that I couldn't reach, with subplots, disappearances, guns and chaos. Otherwise it was a suitably stratospheric read!
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The story is mostly told in a unique format - interviews and recorded video transcripts.  There were many diverse characters and more than one twist involving them that I didn't see coming.  Even though she had a small part in the book my favorite was Kaoru.  Her parts although not spoken so the group could understand her but for the reader alone were hilarious.   I received a free ebook of this in exchange for an honest review.
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Okay…Wow. I was expecting this book to be silly, I mean, just read the synopsis! But I wasn’t expecting it to be so stupid that I could barely finish reading it. I wanted satire! Not this.

Sigh. I don’t even know where to start with this book so I’ll keep it short. Nothing in this book is worth your time. The characters are idiotic, the plot even worse and the writing. Huh, don’t even get me started on the writing!

In short I hated this book, I would give it .5 stars on Goodreads if  I could.
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This book was... well crazy different. 
It's a super ridiculous and humorous premise; that a TV network is going to send a group of teenagers into space and film it as a reality TV show. I really enjoyed the first 65% of this book. It was amusing, engaging, heartfelt and so cliche you couldn't help but laugh. The end however didn't quite hit for me. 

Waste of Space is written in the format of video or audio transcripts (for the most part); either of the reality TV show, phone calls, unaired footage from the video cameras, or the mysterious intern that provides commentary every once in awhile. On page 1 we learn that the intern is the reason the footage is all combined in one file from so many sources. This format while easy to read is not always my favourite. We only get characters perspectives from their 'confessionals' to video cameras which makes it difficult to know if we are getting their genuine thoughts or more 'acting' out of their stereotypes. I prefer to be in the character's head and better understand their POV. 

The teens are the main focus of the story; alongside the TV executive, Chazz. He's the over the top executive that calls all the ridiculous shots and seems to think that the world needs cutting edge, truly dangerous reality TV. Except that no one is going to sign off on their teenage being shot into space alone... so instead of actually going to space they make it seem like the kids are in space for the show. Oh, and the teens think they are also in space and on their own. A typical Lord of the Flies scenario. 

The best part of this book is that the ridiculous fun of the first half is obviously a hoax. We, the reader learn this right away and of course most of the world buys into the silly premise (because people are easy to manipulate). Thankfully a few groups of scientists easily debunk the show as being in space, even if no one listens to them. 
By the second half of the show I feel like the reader is suddenly the one being taken along for a ride. Suddenly we are trying to figure out what is actually going on as there is clearly more to this little charade than a fake 'space plane' and a celebrity hungry TV executive. 

This brings me to the crux of what I didn't like about Waste of Space. It has an odd ending. It's not that it's bad... it's just... not what I expected at all. And not in the 'wow, I'm amazed' kind of twist. Instead in the I feel there was little to no foreshadowing for this ending and it's a bit cheap. I suddenly feel like Gina Damico took me, the reader, along for a similar ride that Chazz took the TV audience on in the beginning. A total and complete facade that barely explains what is happening. 

The other thing that I found about Waste of Space is that it's a bit long... my ARC copy is 510 pages. I see that the published copy is shorter (400 pgs) so I'm hoping they cut down on some of the unnecessary dialogue between the teens on the ship. That said, the pages aren't fully text either, as they are in the screenplay dialogue style. So average words per page is significantly lesser than your average book. 

Overall I thought Waste of Space was fun, but I wouldn't pick it up to read again. That said, if you have a teen that is a space geek and would enjoy a fun book I think this is a great pick. Also this is a clean book so you could give it to any child at the right reading level. I'd easily buy this for a 10 year old that has a higher than average reading level. And I'm certain that a 10-13 year old would be enchanted by the whole thing. Which makes me wonder just now... maybe I'm just a bit too old for this book (like 20+ years too old, lol). No matter what your age is there is no doubt you will need to suspend ALL belief to really accept this odd ending. But at least you'll have a good, fun time getting to it!
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Reviews shared on Goodreads, Amazon, B & N and V's Reads:  http://wp.me/p3AKEA-2gr

This book is a wild ride, and not because the characters are jettisoned into space. Far from it. It's a satirical look at "reality TV" giving the complete lowdown from the able assistance of a low-level PA who got fired and handed enormous amounts of raw footage of the Waste of Space TV show produced by DV8 studios.

The premise is this: DV8 wants to make a show about regular kids on a space station, but that's unrealistic, and expensive, so they partner with NASAW--a shadowy conglomerate whose scientists know lots about space and time--to build a fake space station (complete with IKEA furnishings) that can house ten teens for two months. Along the way, DV8 management bullies and coerces everyone to insist that this show is taking place in space.

Kids line up in malls hoping to become part of this cast; some a fame-hungry, some are looking for a way out, others are looking for a new life altogether. The teens are cast to fulfill certain roles, and the stereotypes they reflect. It's a weird mix of Big Brother and Space Camp, and the audience is in on the joke from the get-go. That said, there's still lots of surprises in store. Like, what happens when the uppity/vile nephew of the TV show's producer is going to get axed? (Bring on the big guns...) What about the party girl--any more bras to display? The token minorities are messing up the chemistry, and there's plenty of clueless to go around.

The telling of this story is a disjointed collection of transcripts from video recordings, cell phone calls and business meetings. There are roughly 15 POVs, so that's a jumble. It took me a while to settle in, though I caught on to the sympathetic POVs in the early going. Nico and Titania are the heart and soul of the story--two kids who've been altered by tragedy. They are searching for more---meaning and acceptance, and they don't go in for DV8's shenanigans. The DV8 exec, Chazz, and his nephew Clayton are the typical reprehensibles, pulling all the strings and cutting despicable deals. I was pleasantly surprised by "Bacardi" and "Snout" and saddened by Louise. I had thought I wasn't touched much by the book, then the end hit me like a sledgehammer to the chest. The storyline was a sleight of hand that morphed from zany and unpredictable into intense and emotional. 

I'm not going to belabor the plot; some of the kids are desperately hoping to be a part of a space mission. Others know it's gotta be hoax. The DV8 and NASAW folks are doing their utmost to convince the world their show is "real." In the mix some true connections are made, and dare I say: the most fervent wishes of several of the cast are made real. I was pleasantly surprised how all the seemingly random plot threads were stretched and connected and eventually woven into an unexpectedly picturesque tapestry. For fans of reality TV, this book is a piercing commentary on the genre of entertainment, and how we consume fiction--in any medium. Expect plenty of showmanship, and deceit, and double-crossing. Expect subtle commentary on American xenophobia and racism. And if you read through to the end, expect to be surprised, and maybe delighted. Like I was. I received a review copy via NetGalley.
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While the book description sounded interesting, the writing style/tone of this book was just too cheesy and over the top for me.  Since I did not finish the book, I do not intend to publish a review.
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Waste of Space is contemporary fare for the modern age.  It is sure to appeal to teens who live, breathe and die by the digital world.

This reality series is told via transcript of video footage and chronicles the lives of teens that are shot into space in a modern day Lord of the Flies.  Despite the comic and satiric nature, it accurately upholds two universal truths.  People are not always what they seem, and some people are so desperate to change their circumstances they will do just about anything.
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Waste of Space is easily one of the funnest and most entertaining books I’ve ever read. I can only really describe this as Beauty Queens meets Big Brother. With a satirical eye, Gina Damico tackles everything we love, and hate, about reality tv. Waste of Space follows 10 teens chosen to participate in an out-of-this-world reality show, with the only catch being - everything is fake. We see the teens struggle with their new “reality” as the production team scrounges up new ways to torment our unknowing teens, until everything starts to go wrong.

Things I Liked 
I would recommend this book to anyone purely for the humor and satirical value. I can only liken it to Beauty Queens by Libba Bray - both books tackle pop culture in a fantastically original way. You really get the larger-than-life personality of the tv hose, Chazz Young, who is one of the single most entertaining characters I’ve ever encountered. I loved the extravagant situational humor, and the confrontational humor between the contestants, the production crew and the scientists, and the believers vs. the non believers. This was so supremely entertaining - and truly laugh out loud hilarious.

Things I Didn’t Like 
The “episodes” started to feel really long once I got into part two. Yes, there were some little excerpt info posts, but I just started to drag a bit for me. It honestly made me want to start skimming parts of the story, which is really absurd, because it was such an easy and quick read - but it managed to feel long.

Louise got so incredibly annoying to the point of being insufferable. I wanted to skip every scene she was a part of because I literally could not believe the world coming out of her mouth. It pushed past satire into delusional.

This was such an entertaining read, with a high humor factor, that it was really seems like the best way to spend your free time, is to read this book. Such an outrageous cast of characters brings life and drama to this astronomical take on reality tv. 

I received a copy of the book from HMH Teen via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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The synopsis looked interesting and the cover is beautiful. I'll be looking out for this book.
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This was unfortunately a bit mediocre. I'll be writing a full review and posting it here soon, hopefully, but as a summary - great concept, mediocre execution.
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I really enjoyed this YA novel, it is a fascinating and unique premise for a novel, and it was very fun to read! It's also easy and quick to read, I managed to read it all in one day, and it kept my interest the whole time. 
The premise of the novel is set up like a Big Brother style show, with cameras following the kids the whole time. As well as being an entertaining method, having it be told as a collection of evidence gathered by someone looking back on the events definitely helped hype up the excitement and the action that would come at the end of the novel.
Damico is a humourous writer, there were many moments where I actually laughed out loud. The novel is also a good satirical narrative on reality tv, and the society that spends its time watching it. 
Damico has written a nice cast of characters, she has captured the voice of teenagers well, the teenage characters who's voices we hear seem realistic and believable for their ages. But I did think that the characters were quite stereotypical , which I wasn't so keen on, it seemed a little lacking in imagination and creativity from Damico to think of any characters that weren't quite so obvious.
I was also a little disappointed by the ending of this novel. There's a specific event (no spoilers!!) that occurs that takes the novel from a "fairly" realistic premise to utterly ridiculous!
But with the exception of the ending and slightly disappointing character stereotypes, the novel was otherwise enjoyable, and I gave it 4/5 stars.
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The file wasn't supported on my Kindle to read this to review this! Might check it out when its out though!
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The blurb of this book appealed to me but I didn't really know what to expect. The structure and subject matter remind me of 'The Illuminae files' and I think it would appeal to fans of these books. I'm a big fan of the 'case file' type book when it's done well and this was a very compelling, believable setup. 

The idea behind this book was great and it was executed brilliantly! The reality TV concept was a really strong hook and the action definitely lived up to the idea. I loved how this book took some unexpected turns and I really hope there's a sequel!
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I received an ARC ebook from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

WASTE OF SPACE is a sarcastic, funny novel that made me laugh out loud a lot. The story is an over-the-top reality show parody. Sadly, and this is a good thing, it doesn't stretch that far from real life. You know, big egos, twist after ridiculous twist to keep the ratings, and watchers eating it all like in a banquet. The book's format is out of the ordinary--script-like with some narrative here and there. And it works. It suits the style.

Overall, if you like witty humor, WASTE OF SPACE is for you. I love wittiness!
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Waste of Space is a fun read, perfect for fans of reality TV and young adult humor.  In a departure from her other middle grade books, this novel is aimed at older teens with its humor and language. Told through transcripts, emails, and interviews, the story of a group of teens who believe they are on a reality show in outer space, when they are really on a sound-stage is a cautionary tale of how far the entertainment business is willing to go for a profit. When things go wrong the TV network must get creative in how they deal with the rambunctious group of teens they selected for their looks and dramatic potential.
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Waste of Space 
By:  Gina Damico

I received an e-ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Ms. Damico is the author of the quirkily dark "Croak" series.  She has a deft hand with the teenage mentality and snarkiness.  I firmly predict that this new book will be a new YA favorite.

Format:
This book is arranged like a report.  There are transcripts of video footage and interviews as well as letters and a few sections inserted by the "intern" which help connect bits.  The book is 500 pages long (in my copy) but the format keeps things moving  swiftly.

Plot:
10 teens are propelled into space for a reality tv program.  The secret is that the whole thing is just pretend.  The kids and the viewing public, however, think it is real.  What happens then when an unexpected kink occurs in production and all communication is lost?  Read and find out.  The author really knows how to create suspense and then deliver a wallop of a conclusion.  

Characters:
Bacardi - the party girl; Snout - the hick (with a pig no less); Kaoru - the foreigner; Jamarkus - the black, gay, astronaut wannabe; Louise - the sci-fi nerd; Nico - the orphan; Hibiscus - the hipster musician; Matt - the disabled (?) hero; Clayton - the entitled rich kid; Titania - the tomboy

Most of the characters start the novel as a type instead of as real and developed people.  I know I've seen particpantd just like them on nearly every reality program.  They felt very one-dimensional and boring.   The one  person who is not deceived by the whole set up is a Japanese woman (Kaoru) who was kidnapped to be on the show.  She keeps pointing out what should be obvious to everyone - that screen outside is only a computer image, it feels like someone's throwing rocks at us, mouthing "deceit" into the camera.  However, like Cassandra in Greek mythology, no one can understand her so her voice of reason is unheard.

However, a story based purely on caricature would be boring.  The reader needs to be able to connect and sympathize in some way.   After communication is cut off, the characters begin to develop as more interesting people (thank goodness).   Bacardi was a complete revelation.  I loved her by the end.  Yes, please give Bacardi her own book.  I want more!  In fact, all the kids revealed themselves in better ways and became real characters for me.  My only complaint on this front is that we only actually meet them when the book is almost over.  I loved getting to know them a bit but wished we had more time in their company so they could be fully fleshed in my mind.

Overall:
I loved this book.  It was fun with enough depth to make it interesting.  It starts purely as a commentary on reality television and morphs into a journey of self-discovery.
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This book is a train wreck. It’s a total disaster. And that’s exactly what makes it epic, because it was on purpose. Waste of Space is 100% like the blurb. It’s reality TV style trauma drama with a whole lot of offensive, bigoted, and racist casting, but the point is that by calling it out, by labeling it for what it is in the story, it becomes a sort of crazy satire and social commentary and OMG is it entertaining. 

From the initial premise to the casting to the filming, it’s absolute chaos. There’s no order, there are comical twists, literally everyone is at a loss for what it actually happening. Like I said, a mess and all for the sake of entertainment ratings. You know that feeling, when you want to sit back, lounge and put on some Real Housewives or Bachelorette? This is it, in book form. All the drama. All the catfight insanity and suspicion. All of it is crammed on this “space plane” and broadcasted to the world. 

The book is set up kind of like Illuminae with the premise that some sort of disaster has already occurred and a case, with evidence is being made. There is video footage and all sorts of documents, phone records, etc., all scattered through the book. And even some memes. 

The characters are “token” characters and the author is actively mocking the clichés. They’re even labeled by their stereotypes when they’re initially introduced. Somehow this worked and did not come off as offensive and wrong as it could have because comedy. 

The characters themselves are interesting. They have well-defined personalities and back story. The voice is ON POINT. 

And then the twist. Towards the end there’s something that will make you question everything. Circumstances change on the fly and you wonder if real danger is on the horizon. 

If you like to be kept guessing, laugh off offensive material, and/or are a sucker for trash reality tv, definitely pick this up!
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