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Waste of Space

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Wow, what a ride! Waste of Space is a really fun read which spoofs the crazy reality shows. Set up much like Big Brother, 10 teens are chosen to head to space ALONE with no supervision while being filmed 24/7. A few of the characters are really outlandish, especially the creator of the show, who is also the TV host.  

BUT... Unknown to the cast and to the TV audience, the entire production is fake and the spaceship is actually sitting in the desert with a group of scientists and an elaborate special effects budget.  

The zany premise is what drew me to this book and I knew I had to read it. The book is told as a report using transcripts of the show and raw video footage which, once I got used to the format, worked well.   

All in all, I loved it, and found myself impatient to get back to it when real life got in the way.  Once Saturday hit, I sat back and read to my heart's content until finished.  

Thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Publishing for the great read!
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I guess you could say that it was contemporary, but then a little sci-fi ended up being thrown in at the end, so was it magical realism? WHO KNOWS? This was basically making fun of reality shows, and I actually enjoyed how satirical it was and how it poked fun at itself! It was also formatted to include interviews and transcripts, so think Illuminae, except all the science stuff is fake? This is honestly the hardest book to rate ever, because I didn't enjoy it, but I didn't hate it? So, three stars it is, I guess!
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~ Told in transcripts
~ I laughed A LOT
~ Tag yourself, I’d like to be Kaoru
~ But I’m probably Hibiscus
~ Speaking of Kaoru, KAORU
~ The interactions and characters in this are hilarious
~ Matt’s constant confusion
~ That fucking satire. THE TEA
~ It’s SUPER engaging
~ I can’t but help be reminded of Illuminae. Obviously very, very different,
but the formatting, sci-fi emphasis, and method of storytelling are similar

~ The story, especially the twist ending, takes a bizarre turn into the
almost magical? You just gotta accept it. There’s no accounting for the 
nonsense in here.
~ Trust me, it’s pretty nonsensical
~ In good ways and bad ways
~ From the get-go, you HAVE to suspend your disbelief, because none of this
shit would ever, ever happen.
~ Ever.
What do you get when you take a teen reality show and launch it into space? 

Good TV.

First off: this book is a comedy. If you go into this expecting nuance or realism, you’re outta luck. This book is goofy and completely over-the-top satire, and if you take it for what it is, it works.

Second: this books is an epistolary comedy. A lot of people seem to find the humor too quirky to be taken seriously, but I have to say, epistolary books tend to take a very satirical eye to every subject. On some occasions, yes, the subject matter of a book of letters is moody or dark or extremely realistic, but to me, who grew up reading Kate Klise, this is an updated and hilariously ridiculous revisit to a beloved genre.

Told in a series of TV transcripts (with addendums by a disgruntled intern) Waste of Space is the outrageous parody of a reality show set in space and the scandal, legal and otherwise, that ensues.

I said it once, I’ll say it again. The humor is ridiculous, but it caricatures reality. The crazy whitened-teeth spray-tanned vapid moron reality show host, Chazz, the teen cast who ranges from anarchist hipster to sci-fi nerd to farm boy with a pet pig, the constant product placement, Catchphrase Forever . . . it’s chaos. But hey, I laughed a lot. I needed something funny, something I didn’t have to take seriously. It’s refreshing in a category so saturated with end-of-the-world fantasy quintologies that take themselves so seriously as to be laughable.

The one flaw I find, though, is that the book does take rather a serious tone when it comes to the two main characters. I won’t reveal who they are (you gradually realize who are the main two) but their stories carry much more gravitas than the others. The heaviness of their stories, coupled with the absurdity of the ending for one character, was jarring and unnatural.

Those two are the MCs, but everybody has their own sort of revelation. Characters I thought were pure comedy or pure villainy actually had some depth, and that was nice. To some, I feel, it might be too much of a stretch. But if you take this book for what it is, I think you’ll be fine.

Another thing people might find fault with is the method of storytelling. The use of transcripts to me is very clever. It does take a bit of getting used to (it’s essentially like reading a script) but once you do, it makes for a breezy read.

As a comedy I fully recommend this one; if you like making fun of reality TV, you’re sure to enjoy Waste of Space.

A free ARC of Waste of Space was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
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Rating: 3.5 Stars

Take ten strangers, cram them into a faux spaceship (which they think is read), add some special effects, and a new reality show sensation is born. But there is more than meets the eye on Waste of Space. The producers are lying, the scientists are lying, and most of the contestant are lying. With this level of subterfuge, something interesting is bound to happen....and it does. 

I had a lot of fun reading this novel. I have always had a love/hate relationship with reality TV, and could not help but enjoy Damico satirical take on the genre. From the smarmy producer and seemingly stereotypical reality show characters to the outrageous stunts performed in order to produce "must see TV", I found myself grinning my way through this book. I loved getting to see this show from all angles. You had the producers pulling the strings, the scientists working other nefarious plan, and the contestants being oblivious to it all. These extra layers just added to the fun, and kept me wondering what was going to happen next. 

One thing that is not a secret, is that I love books that stray from the traditional narrative format. This one was sort of fun, in that it was a combination of video and phone transcripts with a few blog posts here and there. It was an interesting, but not random approach, as we, the reader, are well informed that this is being transcribed by a former network intern for a tell-all book. This worked well for me, especially since there are a lot of moving parts in this story. 

I also really enjoyed many of the characters. The contestants were meant to represent those one dimensional typical reality stars, and they sure seemed that way at first. But as the story played out, we got to learn that there was more to them then met the eye, and this sort of followed the trend in this book, which was filled with lots of fun surprises and twists. 

Overall, this book was humorous and lots of fun, so I didn't expect what happened at the end. I cannot reveal the very last page, but I can tell you that it gave me chills.
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Would love to review this book, but I could not open the  file.
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**Thank you so much to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review!**

-what i liked-
The topic of this book. I mean, what's cooler than a TV reality show about teenagers getting sent off into space? Even better, what about if the entire outer space was actually just a set in a warehouse but nobody else new about it except for the production company?

So. Much. Suspense. The whole time that I was reading I just had to know what was going to happen next. Was another person going to be kicked off the spaceship? Are aliens going to come? Is someone going to die? I just needed to know immediately!

The characters. Honestly, Titania was my favorite character. She was very intelligent and had been through a lot of crap. I liked how bits of her story were thrown throughout the entire novel. I also loved how awesome the whole cast was. They were all so different and meshed just like the producers thought they would.

The satirical nature of the novel. It was obviously meant to make fun of a lot of reality TV, and it sure did serve its purpose!

The entire book was told like it was part of a case that was being recounted. It let the reader know that something bad definitely happened.

-what i didn't like-
I wish it was longer!!

Despite the title of the reality TV show and the novel itself, this book is surely not a Waste of Space. Pick it up and give it a read-it definitely deserves a place on your shelf!
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Hilarious, heartfelt, quirky, and weird in the best possible way, I think it's safe to say that Gina Damico has done it again.  While her books may not be for everyone, I find myself becoming an avid fan.  I can honestly say I've enjoyed every single one of her novels - all for very different reasons.  Even better?  I've also found other readers that appreciate the finer nuances of her writing and that mix of humor, weirdness, and sincerity that make her books so damn charming.  This is definitely one to add to the collection and one I look forward to putting into the hands of readers I know will recognize the sheer brilliance of Gina Damico's storytelling and her unforgettable characters.
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I thoroughly enjoyed Waste of Space. Apparently, it was supposed to be humorous but honestly, it had me on the edge of my seat. I had to know what was going to happen next, especially when things went haywire. The ending was baffling, and I enjoyed the way it wrapped up.  I would love to add this to my bookshelf once it's released!
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Title: Waste of Space
Author: Gina Damico
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers
Review Spoilers: Mild

There are few books that I’ve wanted to like as much as I wanted to like Waste of Space. The premise is phenomenal and whether it was taken seriously or presented as a parody, it could have and should have been amazing. I mean, teenagers on a reality television show where they think they’re blasting off into space? It’s an amazing idea and particularly timely considering how much people still watch all those reality shows.

Unfortunately, the book fails to make good on it’s premise.

I was so disappointed about that I almost titled this review “Waste of Space is a waste of shelf space” but I decided to take a more diplomatic approach. While I didn’t really enjoy Waste of Space, I did read all the way to the end because the book has it’s fair share of interesting twists. They aren’t enough to to make me give this book more than the two stars I’m giving it but they were enough to keep me reading until the end. So, in that regard, I suppose the book did keep me interested to a degree.

The problem is that this book could have been so much better.

Waste of Space is not just the title of this book but the fictional television series that it’s about. The show convinces a group of teenagers that they are going to be on the first reality show shot in outer space. Neither the kids nor the viewing public are supposed to know that the whole thing is a sham. The reader gets introduced to this whole debacle through a series of documents meant to expose the whole thing. We get transcripts of phone calls, videos, broadcasts, and more. 

So basically we have an epistolary novel that’s meant to show the reader just how everything dramatically falls apart. The problem is the documents we’re given themselves. Nothing is even remotely believable. The character behind the studio that puts together the show is so outrageously over the top it brings the whole book down. And from there it just gets worse. The teenagers themselves are often nothing more than stereotypes – and when they try and reverse those stereotypes they do less to challenge them than to replace them with a new stereotypical archetype.

I mean, seriously, the dude from the Midwest is called Snout and he has a pet pig named Colonel Bacon. 

On top of all that, half of the kids are basically kidnapped without any parental consent. The facilities are woefully insufficient for the number of people on the show – and there is literally no way anyone was ever going to allow kids ranging from thirteen years old to eighteen years old to all live in one bedroom. Especially when that bedroom had so few beds that some people were going to need to double up. Honestly, these kids are almost all underage – in what world would a show ever be allowed to booze them up on national television or encourage them to hook up for the viewing public?

The whole thing is uncomfortable. If the book were about an older group within the age range of your usual Big Brother contestant then fine. I’d be okay with a lot of what’s going on in the book. But, seriously, one of the kids is like thirteen.

Now, I get it. Maybe the book is meant to be a parody. The guy who runs Waste of Space calls the kids spacetronauts for crying out loud. And for the most part I would buy that. Except there are moments where the book really tries to take itself and it’s twists seriously. The whole tone changes depending on what transcripts were being shown and who is doing the talking. The whole expose part – and some of the more scientific aspects – are supposed to be serious while the rest  

Now, if the whole book was presented as a parody then I’d be a little less upset about everything. But at times it seems like it really wants to be taken seriously. The main characters, Nico and Tatiana, are portrayed as genuine characters with tragic backstories who help each other through the hardship. While the rest of the cast is a bunch of walking stereotypes they get the kind of development that makes you almost care about where they’re coming from and what made them want to be on a show like Waste of Space. Of course, it’s really hard to see them as well fleshed out or developed characters when they’re playing against a drunk party girl whose name is literally Bacardi.

Even the big mysterious twist at the end does little to salvage the train wreck that is the rest of the book. 

I genuinely wish the book had been better. I love the concept and I would have liked to see it taken more seriously. They could have even made the whole thing real – the show and the journey into space – and that would have made things better. But the whole silly tone of things really turned me off. The fact the book implies that anyone would be so willing to send off a group of teenagers with absolutely no training and no adult supervision is ridiculous. Obviously I am not the target audience for this book as an adult reader but I think even teenagers are going realize how off the rails this book gets.

Now, if you like silly stories that don’t really take themselves too seriously then you might like this one. It genuinely lampoons the idea of over the top reality television with a nice, timely science fiction angle. And if you can get past the cringey stereotypes and ridiculous antics (or at the very least accept them for what they are) then Wate of Space could be a pretty decent read. After all, I did finish it. But I can’t say that I’d recommend this book for the average reader and if any of the reasons I didn’t like it might make you feel uncomfortable then you probably don’t want to give it a try.
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Unfortunately this book wasn't for me. I don't typically read YA, but I am a fan of reality TV and reality TV meta, so I figured I would give this one a shot. However, I found it too corny and I didn't like the problematic aspects of it, although I know they were incorporated to show the problematic aspects of reality TV. It was well-written and had a good format for the story, but it just wasn't for me.
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Love Giana Damico!  Waste of Space continued her streak of cleverly witty storytelling that left me in stitches.
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Waste of Space was a likeable enough novel. I think everyone who reads this can appreciated the author's attempt to ridicule the entertainment/reality TV industry. The story is quite far-fetched and ridiculous, but it's supposed to be satirical so you can't take it too seriously for the most part. However, there were some parts that were a bit too cheesy/silly for my liking, which did affect my enjoyment of the book. It was also told in epistolary format (transcripts, interviews, etc.) which is not a style I enjoy reading. I have read a few other reviews saying that it would have been better as a comedy movie rather than a book, and I agree. Waste of Space was a quick, light, easy read that makes fun of the reality TV, and while I didn't hate it, I didn't completely enjoy it either.
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This is a FUN book! It's a spoof of reality tv shows as well as a fun sci-fi romp. An unscrupulous tv production company producer and cheesy on-air host (think Ryan Seacrest but slimy) recruits several teens to be the cast of his new reality show, "Waste of Space," which is like "Big Brother" but set on a spaceship orbiting the Earth. The tv crew has partnered with a group of space scientists to try for an air of authenticity. The cast is blatantly chosen to fulfill reality show archetypes ("The Party Girl!" "The Rich Kid!" "The Nerd!" etc.) and create tension and "Drama"--this is a low-rent outfit, and part of the fun is seeing how low this tv guy will go in order to get good tv ratings! But by the end they prove to be much more than their stereotypes would have indicated; I liked how the characters were gradually revealed to be a little more well-rounded. Not all of them, though--the "Foreigner" character, who only speaks Japanese, seems to be there only for comic relief and we never get to know much about her. Here's the twist: the tv folks are faking the whole "spaceship" aspect, but they DON'T tell the kids that they're really on a secret soundstage in the desert! (You'd think they'd wonder why there is a hot tub and a "confessional closet" on a spaceship, but only the Japanese girl realizes this right away, and no one can understand her when she tells them!) The story is presented through transcripts of the show episodes and unaired raw footage, as well as transcripts of various phone conversations, all compiled by an intern on the show who wants 'the true story to be told.' The manufactured "Instigating Plot Points" that the producers cook up to create dramatic tensions--"A solar flare!" "An asteroid attack!"-- soon give way to ACTUAL conflicts, as the story accelerates into hilarious farce territory. I won't spoil the plot twists but I couldn't put the book down until I got to the end!

I read an advance copy of this book courtesy of NetGalley (and the YALSA Teens Top Ten galley project).
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I am sorry but I was unable to download this book onto my Kindle Fire.
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Unable to read due to format; could NetGalley make it clear in future if books will not be available for Kindle before requesting?
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This book was one hell of a read! I liked it a lot because it was hilarious and fun. Even though I had trouble at times to grasp what was going on I think that many people would love to read it. The premise of the book was very interesting, even though I am not so much of a sci-fi fan. I would recommend this to a ton of readers everywhere.
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Initially I was excited for this one. The premise was intriguing and I figured the formatting would be like Illuminae.

But I struggled to even get through the first few chapters. I don't even now exactly why. I loved the author's past series, but this was just... mediocre. I did DNF, unfortunately.
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This book was so fast paced, I could hardly put it down. It's writing as transcripts and video recordings. If you like Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1) by Amie Kaufman, you'll love this. It's also set in space. Or is it? Waste of space is a reality TV show about teens sent into space. Some of the crew believes they are in space, others aren't so convinced. The viewers also aren't sure. If you like Big Brother, imagine it with the stereotypical versions of teenagers and you there you have Waste of Space. It's funny and light, but it's also a satire. A timely one at that. It shows how gullible people are. How they take all information for fact without taking a hard look at the source. It also shows how people chose to believe what they know is false if the falsehood makes them feel better. There's also a lot to be said about the entertainment industry and how far contestants and producers will go to be loved by the viewer. Everybody wants their ten minutes of fame, right? But not all of these characters do. And those characters are boring.

But that's not really the case. The characters that have depth are the ones we care about. Some of us can see beyond their outside appearances and into their hearts. The girl with half her head shaved, dressed like a real punk is actually really intelligence and sweet. The Japanese girl who doesn't know English, is smarter than everyone and knows how to hold her own despite being at a disadvantage. She can read a situation without hearing what's going on. Some of the other characters act like a stereotype in an effort to win, but are smarter than they appear.

I like that we get to see this wide range between what people show and who they really are, because that's reality. I makes you take a second to think about the reasons people go to such lengths to act like someone they're not.

Satire aside, you should enjoy this book. If you don't love the characters, you'll love to hate them, especially Chazz and Clayton. And you'll have fun figuring out if there in space or not, because when you think you've figured it out, the game changes. I kept theorizing what NASAW was doing. Where they building a real ship the take the kids to space, or where they doing something else entirely? You'll have to read to find out.
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