Cover Image: Waste of Space

Waste of Space

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Before going further, perhaps you need to know something about me : I breath satire. There's just nothing more satisfying than unhinged sarcasm as far as I'm concerned. And, oh boy, did Waste of Space delivered! Indeed it takes a look at the way people consume reality tv shows and welllllllll, that's not pretty. Oversexualizing teens, diversity tokenism, and the cynicism! Cynicism everywhere. Behind the layers of bullshit lies a fierce satire on our society, one I am THRILLED to see in a novel aimed at teenagers. Of course, for that to be accomplished Gina Damico had to portray a lot of offensive stuff, most of it coming from Mister King Asshole's mouth, Chazz, the producer of the show :

    "We've still applied the standard network reality casting percentages : fifty percent male, fifty percent female; sixty percent white, thirty percent ethnic, ten percent undetermined; balanced dispersal of ages from fourteen to eighteen; plus the four Golden Tokens : gay, foreigner, disabled, and orphan. As per usual, we'll be throwing all sorts of plot bombs and crazy situations at the poor bastards - with the new added twist of a live segment at the end of each episode."

Charming, isn't it? There's so much wrong in this statement that I won't even try to correct it : what's important to know is that it's very clear that this is not meant to be taken at face value but on the contrary, that it's very much a pamphlet of some sort.

So the ten teenagers chosen are shoot into space and filmed 24/7. Except they're really not. In space, I mean. Of course, nobody except the production knows that, and if doubts start pilling after the first episode is aired, most of the public chooses to believe the lie and you know what? It sounds pretty realistic to me. I mean, I did read an article last week in which people were arguing that the moon landing was fake. So.

Moreover, I won't lie, I was engrossed from the start, and I have to give props to Gina Damico's writing for that : it was my first read from her but definitely not the last, because I just can't help myself when it comes to sarcasm. So many authors don't get it right! Sure, it was offensive as hell, but we can't ignore the fact that it was meant to be, can we?

Ultimately though, my 3 stars {generous} rating probably gives away that I didn't fall in love with this story. Let's see why, shall we?

Alright, I get that introducing stereotypical characters was the point. We've all seen these TV shows or music bands that always seem in a hurry to plaster down a stereotype to their members - marketing will do that for you. However, it would have been interesting to see the characters get rid of the straightjackets they were put in. Sure, they ultimately did... by page 350! I mean! It's way too far for me to care, when I've spent most of the story bored OUT OF MY MIND by Clayton the Rich Asshole, Baccardi the Party Girl, Snout the Nice Farmer Boy, Nico the Shy Orphan, Lucy the Scifi Nerd... As much as I appreciate what Gina Damico wanted to do when she deconstructed these stereotypes, I'd have very much enjoyed for that to start, say, 200 pages earlier?

Moreover, some plot points were just completely unbelievable, and no, I'm not talking about the way everyone believed DV8 productions. I've already stated that the willingness my fellow humans show in accepting such framed lies make me think it could happen. But. See, one of the contenders is a Japanese teenager, who doesn't speak English. Because she's smarter than the others, she immediately understands that they're not in space and that the whole thing is bullshit. None of the other characters speak Japanese, though, so they don't understand her when she's complaining. Fair enough, but come on, the show is aired on television in the United States and you're gonna tell me that nobody understands Japanese? Now that's just stupid. More generally, I did not like the way her character was treated : even in a satirical atmosphere, the way she was solely used as a joke did not sit well with me.

Finally, as captivating the beginning was, Waste of Space didn't manage to hold my interest through the end. Indeed by page 200 I was already aching to skim, and if I didn't, I can't say that the ending made it up for the boring parts. Even if the concept won me, the plot was just not compelling enough in my opinion. 

To conclude : I appreciate what Waste of Space was trying to do, and the sarcasm was perfect. Yet as far as I'm concerned it failed to exploit its fabulous premise.
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This book just grabs you from the beginning and won't let go until you finish. When I wasn't reading, I found myself wondering what was going to happen next. Great satire on reality tv, amusing and sad at the same time. The characters you either hate or love, but you do care what happens to them. Some great writing.
I received this free from NetGalley and the publisher for an honest review.
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If you love sci-fi but want a beach read option, this is the perfect book for you! Waste of Space is fast paced, easy to get sucked into, and takes one of the craziest turns I've ever read. Can't recommend this one enough for Summer!
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The first half of this book left me feeling both frustrated and annoyed. The dialogue did not sound realistic at all and the stereotyping was taken to the extreme. It also felt like a bit of a rip off of several recent popular sci-fi related YA books. Oh, and do not get me started on the names of the majority of the characters. They just sounded ridiculous. I was also bothered by the book being set in 2017. It just did not make sense to me for these events to be set in the current time period. However, around the middle of the book, things began to improve immensely. I finally began to feel invested in the story and what happens to the characters (especially Nico) and by the end of the book all I could say was "wow". It felt like it was going to be very predictable, but it actually went in a direction I did not expect
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I received a copy of this title from NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Waste of Space will be available July 11, 2017.

This was such a different kind of book than what I’ve read before. While it didn’t quite work for me 100% of the time, I did find it an enjoyable, often humorous read.

I thought this was going to be a Contemporary sort of book, but it’s much more of a satire on reality tv. I have watched my fair share of reality shows and I found much of this to be really spot on – from the casting “…sixty percent white, thirty percent ethnic, ten percent undetermined…plus the four Golden Tokens: gay, foreigner, disabled, and orphan…”  (quote taken from ARC) to the manufactured dramatic plot points. I loved all the random reality tv show titles that were thrown in as being part of the same DV8 network. And I loved how it shows the audience being separated into those who fully believed these kids were in space, those who found the whole thing so fake it was insulting, and those that were just enjoying it and not really caring one way or the other how real it was.

I found some of the “spacetronatus” a little more likable and/or developed than others. I liked Snout and his pet pig, Colonel Bacon, who also came on the show. I loved Kaoru, who got recruited to the show against her will, only speaks Japanese, and is not at all amused at what is going on. The two characters that were the most developed were Titania and Nico. They developed a bit of a showmance and both had some serious backstories. I really liked Nico, but wasn’t quite as fond as Titania. I’m not quite sure why. She just kind of rubbed me the wrong way sometimes. I also thought that their storylines detracted from the overall satire feel of the book. I think that the author should have gone all in with the satire and left out the heavier storylines. The story felt a little unbalanced trying to switch back and forth between the two.

I expected to get the “spacetronauts” POV in a traditional narrative format. Instead, the story is told from a whistle-blowing intern who shares video, phone, and blog transcripts, along with his own observations. I really liked this format. All of my favorite portions of the story came from the transcripts with Chazz, the producer, working behind the scenes. I also enjoyed the Perky Paisley talk show and the various blog posts about the show. Where it lacked for me was actually with the kids on the show. While they did have several humorous moments, I found them way less interesting than the production of the show.

Overall, I found Waste of Space pretty enjoyable. I loved the satirical view of reality television. Though it did occasionally go a little far into cheesy territory, I thought it was really well done overall. If you’re looking for a humorous, different kind of YA book, I definitely recommend this one. Catchphrase forever!

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars
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I will admit that the premise for this book is laughable. But this book surprised me. It has so much more substance than I went into it expecting. 

It starts off how it sounds in the synopsis. An awful reality TV network with absolutely no sense of morals or reality, led by a power and praise hungry CEO come up with the idea to put a bunch of kids on a space ship and see what happens. It makes a mockery of reality tv and Hollywood in general with overdone characters. But it is entertaining. It hooks you. Reading this book, the show is destined to be a train wreck and it is impossible to look away. Then you have the ten teens who all fit into reality TV token categories. The nerd, the jock, a couple of token people of color, the hippie, the loner, the hick, the rich jerk, and the drunk party girl. The way these characters are portrayed is very overdone and definitely borders if not is offensive at times. But the characters do undergo some really great development. 

I find it hard to write this review without giving too much away. But the story goes from something trite, something that is trying too hard to be funny and satirical to something with character development that shocks, intense can't-put-down-the-book-because-what-is-happening action sequences, and an ending that goes beyond any expectations. If you can get past the slow and repetitive first act of this book, the rest is a joy to read and discover.
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As a fan of this author's Croak series, I started reading Waste of Space with high expectations.  If anything, the book exceeded my expectations.  I loved the parody of reality TV and its online culture.  The method of telling the story (episode transcripts, etc.) was original and held my attention.  The plot twists and revelations about the characters kept me on my toes as a reader.  Loved it!
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DNF 99 pgs (24%) - It just felt overwhelmingly cheesy and unrealistic. I get that the book is supposed to be those things to an extent, but it just felt like too much. I didn't care about any of the characters because even 99 pages in, we hadn't really gotten to know any of them. The way the author tried to use different formats and mediums was interesting and a good concept, but I found the use of a no-name intern narrator to be a little strange. I usually love reality TV books, but I just couldn't with this one.
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As soon as I read the blurb for Waste of Space I knew I was in for a fun time and couldn't wait to start reading. I started smiling within the first few pages and I'm not sure I stopped until after I realised the book was over. Although my smiles at the beginning related to the absurdity of the situation the characters were unwittingly getting themselves into, the last smile was due to the satisfaction that came from imagining the beauty and perfection of that final image. 

Reality shows are such guilty pleasures. I've felt squeamish during Survivor's food challenges, eaten chocolate while watching The Biggest Loser, experienced the horror akin to watching a car crash unfold every time something disgusting is found during a Hoarders episode and revelled in feeling boringly normal each time a new My Strange Addiction unfolds on my TV. 

I love that Gina Damico took a satirical spin on reality shows. I'm not usually a fan of books that feature transcripts as I generally find them quite incohesive but was pleasantly surprised with how well my attention was maintained throughout the transitions between transcripts of video footage and phone calls, and the intern's commentary. 

I haven't read one of Gina Damico's books before but found her writing to be very visual. With the descriptions of the people, locations and situations I could easily watch mini movies in my mind of all of the action. If The Asylum were to take it on I could see this book being made into a really fun B grade comedy/drama/action movie. I'd definitely watch it!

Waste of Space took me longer to read than I'd expected because I kept stopping to go find someone to read a funny passage to, such as the explanation of what went wrong in the season four finale of Alaskan Sex Igloo. I loved the concepts of the other reality shows described in this book as well, including America's Next Top Murderer and The Real Housewives of Atlantis. I had to try to suppress a giggle when reading about these because I'm sure if they were real I'd be settling in to binge watch them as we speak.

That said though, beneath all of the fun and some silliness there were some deeper truths to be found about conquering your fears, not judging a person solely by the image they portray on the surface, facing the painful events in your past and the impact they continue to have on you, and the value of trusted friends.

I was intrigued by both Nico and Titania from when I first met them and looked forward to seeing how their characters unfolded throughout the book. Watching their characters interact with their fellow Spaceronauts and each other was entertaining and I liked discovering the defining moments in their pasts that eventually led them on board the Laika. As much as I liked both Nico and Titania, my favourite character ended up being Kaoru, the girl who consistently told it like it was ... albeit in Japanese which none of the other Spaceronauts understood. 

What I wanted to eat while reading this book:
* Bacon (sorry, Colonel Bacon!).

If I were to nitpick:
* I was a bit annoyed by some crude scenes that I didn't think were necessary and added nothing to the plot or character development.
* I kept waiting for the disclaimer saying this book was sponsored by IKEA.

What I'll be doing once I finish writing this review:
* Researching Gina Damico's other books to add to my ever growing to be read pile and working out which one I want to read first.

Although I received a free advanced reading copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, I know I'm going to want to reread Waste of Space and highlight all of the passages that made me laugh so I can easily find them again when I feel the need to randomly quote them, so I'll be purchasing my own copy.

Catchphrase forever!!!
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A Crazy & Compelling Satire! With so much reality TV these days, we never know what is real anymore. This book does a great job in capturing that truth. It was over the top, funny in places and very scary at how disconnected some people are from basic human decency. Very relevant to the time and I think a great addition to any high school library.
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Cannot access on my device so cannot write a review
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MY THOUGHTS

Gina Damico is one author that I read EVERYTHING I can find by her, so WASTE OF SPACE is a must read for me.  In her latest, she takes 10 teens and places them in a reality show on a space ship. What can possibly go wrong?  Well, with Damico, almost everything and then some.  The teens all are chosen in a random, reality-show faithful casting much like a younger Big Brother mixed with Kardashian product placement.  Of course, with plans to broadcast 24-7, something goes awry when the teens don't seem to do anything interesting.

Everything goes according to the plans of the producer who is a Ryan Seacrest type creature who tries to manipulate the teens into drama.  Some of the teens are pretty smart and are figuring out they are not really in space.  As the drama is artificially increased the rating take off but maintaining those ratings are cause for concern.  When the whole project goes dark, there are some major machinations at work.  The story is uniquely told by an intern who catalogs the inside scoop on this show which is now the subject of lawsuits.

I found this book so much fun to read.  It is a wonderful take on reality shows but also brings out the best in teens.  I am not going to go into each character and plot detail because that would truly ruin the whole thing.  Just note once you start, you have to read this one straight through.

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Waste of Space doesn’t happen in space. Nope. It’s the story of reality TV show where the contestants are supposed to think they’re in space and so are the TV spectators…
It was told the way Illuminae was, basically… A succession of files and a dude commenting the videos…
I was afraid starting it that it would be too similar to Illuminae but turns out, it wasn’t…
 
I actually really loved this. I connected instantly with some of the characters and some others grew on me. I was deeply invested and read it in about one sitting. I could not stop. I laughed, cried and everything in between…
 
It’s also a satire on reality TV and TV production? It’s a subject that I’m interested in and I enjoyed that side greatly… It’s also a satire on bias and the classic character tropes.
 
So, basically, I’m buying this when it comes out, and I’m planning on re-reading it.
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For now, I am giving up on this book. I read 100 pages and I was just really annoyed with the format. I think I'd enjoy it more as an audiobook, so once it's out, I will pick that up and then I'll come back and adjust my review accordingly.
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*I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Wow!

That is all that I can think after finishing this wild ride of a book. First of all, I loved the humor throughout this book and it had me laughing out loud in certain spots. It was fun to see that number of references that were made to different reality TV shows – but now had really outlandish names like Pantsing with the Stars and America’s Next Top Model. I really appreciated that little touch.

We had a great cast of characters that included “the four Golden Tokens: gay, foreigner, disabled, and orphan.” I loved all the characters and the dynamics between them. Not everything was as it seemed with any of them, and it helped add depth to the novel. (This is a side note: there is a character named Karou, who can’t speak English, and I loved her commentary – it added some much needed humor at some parts).

I can imagine that the finished copy of this book would be stunning because of the pictures that separate the different parts of this story, as well as some memes thrown around. Something that I didn’t know going into this book was the format in which it was told. Throughout the story there are report transcripts, phone calls, web posts, and raw video footage – I thought that the different formats were fantastic. I think that the audiobook of this novel would be phenomenal because the diverse cast of characters, there would be so many voice actors, and it would be a very immersive journey.

Overall, I give this book 4/5 stars and I strongly suggest checking it out on its release date of July 11th. Thank you so much to NetGalley for this great read!

Stellar!
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I'm a sucker for sci-fi books. I love space soooo much so when I read that this book was "set in space" AND was a reality TV show, I was all for it. However, reading the blurb didn't exactly give away what kind of read I was in for...

Cram ten hormonal teens into a spaceship and blast off: that’s the premise for the ill-conceived reality show Waste of Space. The kids who are cast know everything about drama—and nothing about the fact that the production is fake. Hidden in a desert warehouse, their spaceship replica is equipped with state-of-the-art special effects dreamed up by the scientists partnering with the shady cable network airing the show. And it’s a hit! Millions of viewers are transfixed. But then, suddenly, all communication is severed. Trapped and paranoid, the kids must figure out what to do when this reality show loses its grip on reality.

So this book is very satirical. It makes jokes about the world of reality TV and how it works, it jokes about how reality TV game shows always adopt tokenism, so they always have the token black individual or gay individual... This book plays on the ideas that reality TV always has the stereotypical individuals. Some people may not see that this book is satire and think that the stereotypical characters of the book are offensive because they tick every box in the 'stereotype' list. BUT! That is not what Damico is doing here. She is taking the p*** out of reality shows, how they come up with their ideas, how they script the episodes and how they choose their cast. I thought it was very clever, but I didn't know that this was a satirical book. I went into it thinking that it was quite serious. So sometimes the satire got a bit too much for me, the jokes that Chazz Young made got a little too cheesy. But there's a strange underlying message: how far will producers and writers go to get those high rating and viewership? Well in Chazz Young's case: there isn't a 'too far'. He will do ANYTHING to get the ratings, even if it borders on barbaric. 

I was all for the NAWSAW company at first. They always told Young when his ideas were ridiculous and when he had gone too far, they alway tried to put him in his place (and failed), but towards the end of the book, I was like... WWHHHHAAATTTT??!! I did not see the plot twist involving NAWSAW coming and to be honest, that whole story arc came out of nowhere. I mean the whole ending was pretty cool and everything but I just didn't understand what had happened. Ok, well I knew what had happened, but nothing was explained, through any of the characters. Or is that just me missing something completely huge that was obvious to everyone else? 





"I'd get up in the morning, and when I stretched out my arms, it felt like my fists were banging into an invisible barrier, a bubble around my bed. It was suffocating. I couldn't breathe."

- Gina Damico, Waste of Space





What I really liked about this book was that it was that the story was told in loads of different formats. There were video camera footage, transcripts of the episodes, transcripts of phone calls and other fascinating formats. It was very similar to that of Illuminae and Sleeping Giants. I love it when author adopt this story-telling method because it always adds another dimension (HA, see what I did there?) to the book and it always seems more interesting. 

Apart from the characters being stereotypes (the rich, obnoxious kid, the nerd, the quiet one, the odd one, the gay one, the clever one and then the party animal), I thought the characters were really well-rounded. Sometimes, you couldn't help but laugh at the stereotypes and how much Damico played on them, but other times, like the character of Bacardi, I was utterly surprised when I realised that I really loved this character. She was just absolutely amazing. I hated Clayton so much. Every time he opened his mouth, I just wanted to shut it. Every word that he spoke was just utter rubbish and he was so self-centered! I'd had enough of him the second he was introduced. I felt so sorry for Kayou as well! She's Japanese and she was only cast because she was from another country, but no one else could speak Japanese so she would be talking and no one could understand her! It was so sad, but some of the things that she said were just hilarious! Her sarcasm was unreal and I couldn't help but laugh out loud at certain things she said. 

Overall, this was a very enjoyable book. I'm not 100% sure if I would read it again, but if there ever was a sequel, I would definitely read that!

Disclaimer: this book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Released 11th July
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Can't review as can't open pdf. I do like the sound of the story though and will be buying it.
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Honestly, this book just wasn't for me. Waste of Space is told through a series of interviews, recorded phone calls and a play like writing of what was happening "on screen".  I've found these books to be difficult for me as it's easy to get pulled out of the story. It probably didn't help that I'm listening to another similar writing style book at the same time (though I will say that listening is way easier in this style then reading). 

The premise is cool, but I found many of the characters to be annoying (which I'm sure was purposeful) but it didn't help my enjoyment of the book and I found myself desperate to get to the end. 

I really enjoyed Damico's Croak series and I'll definitely be reading more from her. I'm bummed I didn't like this one more, but the writing style just wasn't for me. 

Thank you for the opportunity to review Waste of Space.
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Unfortunately I can only read books on my kindle right now. So I am unable to read this. But thank you anyways for the opportunity.
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Gina Damico’s books  always make me laugh out loud and this one did as well.   This is a biting satire on reality TV and how insane things can get in television. This is a different book than any others I’ve read by this author, but the things that I love, the wit and sarcasm are certainly there, as well as a story that is hard to put down.

The story is being told by a disgruntled intern who worked on the project for the cable network DV8. She (I thought of her as female although we don’t really know who the narrator is) recounts the ill fated reality show Waste of Space, through transcripts, e-mails, recorded phone calls and video recordings.  There is much to tell, from the start of the producer and DV8 owner Chazz’s first meetings with the scientist of NASAW through to the somewhat surprise ending. The reader is often left wondering what is real and what isn’t through out the entire book, mostly because no one is quite what or who they seem to be. 

All of the cast members are quite different from each other and unfortunately fall into the categories most associated with reality TV.  We have Nico, who is very shy and has a troubled past.  Titania, who is also troubled but more of a leader than Nico.   They are the real stars of the story and we see them the most in the transcripts.  Bacardi is the freewheeling drunk who appears to be clueless most of the time. Jamarkus is the smart one, who also happens to be african american and gay.  Clayton is the nephew of Chazz and is the one who loves to stir up stuff and is the character on the show that everyone loves to hate. These five are the ones who carry most of the dialog and action of the show.  Louise is the youngest and has the most trouble relating to the others.  She is also the only who never doubts that they are really in space.  Snout is the country boy who really doesn’t have a clue as to what is going on usually.  He was allowed to bring his pet pig Colonel Bacon on the ship, which adds another layer of comedy and incredulity to the show.  Kaoru, who only speaks Japanese, Hibiscus the hippy and Matt round out the group of ten teens supposedly sent into space.  We also hear a lot from Chazz Young, the producer and owner of DV8.  I loved all of the characters, even the ones that were nasty such as Chazz and Clayton and I felt sorry for a few of them. Nico and Titania were the the ones who really steal the show and tug at your heartstrings with their stories. Bacardi ends up being a bit of a surprise and although I hated her through most of the book, I really came to appreciate her in the end.

We also get glimpses of what the public is thinking of this show through blog postings and transcripts of news conferences.  Through these we are meant to understand that the show is widely popular and that the majority of americans think that the kids are really in space!  There is one group of naysayers who try to call DV8 out on their deception, but are always one step behind them and the scientists who end up deceiving everyone.

A really great read that is funny and a great satire of reality TV.  I found it hard to put down, and spent most of it chuckling to myself.  When things start to go wrong for the show and the kids are trapped I did start to worry about how it was going to end.  There is a bit of a surprise twist, but a good one I think, and one that adds to the mixed up reality that is a Waste of Space.
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