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All Rights Reserved: (Word$, Book One)


All Rights Reserved: (Word$, Book One)

In the world of ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, “Sorry” costs $10. ”Silence” costs $3.99. Every word, every action and every look is copyrighted, trademarked or patented, with the ever-watching Silas & Rog keeping watch of whatever you do.

Speth Jime knows there is no escape; on her fifteenth birthday she must deliver her Last Day Speech, the first words she will be forced to pay for. From then on she must watch her every word, after seeing the crippling debt that destroyed families around her and stole her own parents away. Speth is prepared to embrace the Terms and Conditions, but on her last day, her friend Beecher kills himself rather than face his family's debt, and everything changes. Suddenly, everything she took as normal seems wrong, and nothing is what it seems. Instead of giving her Last Day speech, as expected, Speth shuts her mouth, and vows never to speak again. In order to avoid violating her speech contract, any form of communication, from words, nods, to even a shrug is off limits. Her bold response stimulates hundreds to follow her footsteps, leaving her world in chaos as the ruthless lawyers struggle to control her. Once the idea starts, Speth is left helpless as her family, friends and life as she knows it spirals out of control.

"With his debut novel, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, Gregory Scott Katsoulis develops an entrancing dystopian world, filled with shocks and outrages in every turn of the page."

With his debut novel, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, Gregory Scott Katsoulis develops an entrancing dystopian world, filled with shocks and outrages in every turn of the page. From the beginning I was in love with this book, as the entire idea of having limited words, and therefore thoughts and ideas, baffled me. From hugging, to music, to words, to even hairstyles, everything cost money, a seemingly unrealistic notion, yet Katsoulis makes it seem perfectly plausible. Many dystopian novels don’t have clear roots, and it doesn’t always make sense how they come around. By basing this world's creation on money and greed, it provided an entire new sense of realism to the story so I felt completely immersed in the novel.

The unique situation of having limited dialogue makes character development a challenge, yet throughout the novel I felt as if I knew each character personally. Speth’s voice was endearing and powerful, as her lack of communication made her thoughts seem all the more powerful, as none of the characters were giving any insight. In addition, noticing what words her siblings decide to spend money on showed what they believed was important in their life, a brilliant touch to the story. Seeing her family and friends try to understand her motives, and struggle with the consequences of her lack of speech brought me to love them all. Individually, Speth’s out of the box thinking constantly surprised me, and even by the end of the novel, I never knew exactly how she was going to respond to the situation.

Finally, the author's writing style made the novel flow like a realistic fiction novel. There was never an information dump, as can often happen in dystopian or fantasy novels, as the world was gradually introduced. Instead of revealing important aspects of the world right at the beginning, Katsoulis hints at important parts of Speth’s world through subtle repetition, which allowed me to appreciate everything even more.

Overall I would recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys dystopian novels, because it contains countless important parallels to real world as well as being an amazing read. Read ALL RIGHTS RESERVED to find out how one person’s silence can be more powerful than hundreds of others’ words.

Reviewed by Jessica K., Teen Board Member on September 27, 2017

All Rights Reserved: (Word$, Book One)
(Word$ #1)
by Gregory Scott Katsoulis