Speth was nervous about giving her Last Day speech. She had to do it right or her sponsors could back out on her, or maybe even sue her. Another lawsuit was the last thing her family needed. Her parents were already sent into servitude because of the National Inherited Debt Act and the Historical Reparations Agency when it was “discovered” that one of their ancestors had illegally downloaded a song. And now that Speth was turning 15, she would be given a Cuff so that she could be charged for every word she spoke and every gesture she made — or have her eyeballs shocked if she couldn’t pay. Speth knew it would be tough to scale back on what she said after 15 years of free speech, but she had no idea she would be tested so soon, or so horribly. As she was walking across a bridge to give her Last Day speech, her best friend, Beecher, jumped and killed himself. She literally could not react before giving her Last Day speech or she would be in breech of her contract. She couldn’t imagine how she would give that speech after what she had just seen, so she decided she just wouldn’t talk. Ever again.
But how could Speth possibly keep her vow? She didn’t really consider how she would finish her education. Get a job. Or even communicate with friends and family. It was clear that the corporations and lawyers had taken things too far by copyrighting words, gestures, and even physical likenesses… But how could Speth fight back, let alone lead a revolution, without speaking? Much like MT Anderson’s Feed, this story challenges readers to consider the consequences of giving corporations and technology too much control over our daily lives. I can’t wait to see what happens next in the Word$ trilogy.