The Panopticon: A Novel by Jenni Fagan

Named one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists
Anais Hendricks, fifteen, is in the back of a police car. She is headed for the Panopticon, a home for chronic young offenders. She can't remember what’s happened, but across town a policewoman lies in a coma and Anais is covered in blood. Raised in foster care from birth and moved through twenty-three placements before she even turned seven, Anais has been let down by just about every adult she has ever met. Now a counterculture outlaw, she knows that she can only rely on herself. And yet despite the parade of horrors visited upon her early life, she greets the world with the witty, fierce insight of a survivor.

Anais finds a sense of belonging among the residents of the Panopticon—they form intense bonds, and she soon becomes part of an ad-hoc family. Together, they struggle against the adults that keep them confined. But when she looks up at the watchtower that looms over the residents, Anais realizes her fate: She is an anonymous part of an experiment, and she always was. Now it seems that the experiment is closing in.

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I knew going into this story that it was going to be very raw and harsh. It is definitely a book that left me with the feeling of being smacked in the face and punched in the stomach.

Anais is a young orphaned teen, always looking for her next high to forget the life she is living. One of these times she is in the wrong place at the wrong time, even worse she can't remember what happened. Taken into custody and placed in the Ponopticon Anais is on the borderline of life in and out of jail. In a place where the people find her a menace to society and herself.

There is so much sex, anger, swearing and drugs in this story it really was an eye opening story. Anais had to grow up fast, mostly on the streets and the drugs helped her forget. Now that she is facing charges and knowing deep down she couldn't have done anything. She must face her life head on.

The Panopticon is somewhere she can go while under investigation. She makes close friends, and lovers within it's walls. There is still no hiding from the drugs, or the anger but she is challenged daily to not hide from herself.

I am very glad I received a copy of this book for review, it was out of my comfort zone and I almost gave up on it, but this story is truly worth the emotions I felt. It was a bit of Trainspotting with a hard punch of coming of age reality.

I personally would not recommend this book for ages under 16. I sure didn't like Anais very much, but her story is very powerful and taught me something about life, reality and love.


I received a free copy for review from Blogging for  Books.

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