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YEAR 2045: Fifteen-year-old high school cyber-rebel Simon Laramie is bullied. The freshman feels alone, until rebellious senior Jaya Ceyes reaches out. Their connection ignites a remarkable journey through which Jaya, Simon and their friends create their own outlet for expression: S.T.A.R.L.I.N.G. But there’s one huge problem. In the near future, people (once-citizens) aren’t permitted to assemble without a license or express themselves outside their official National I.D.’s on SUPERNET. Simon, Jaya and their friends are marching into the fight of their lives: The battle for their education, privacy, individual economic security and freedom of thought. Writing for parents, teachers, and anyone concerned about the future of our children and humanity itself, Theodore Webb introduces a shocking dystopia in which the courageous heart is our only hope.
"In STARLING, Theodore Webb has written a thought provoking series about young people who thirst for self-expression in a totalitarian world. Webb shifts between first-person storytelling and stream-of-consciousness writing to further the plot. STARLING is at its best when Simon and his ragtag gang — Flower, Peter, and Jaya — build friendships even as they search for answers in a mire of controversy. Their high school is a microcosm of a highly technological, controlled society the author has envisioned in a distant American landscape. Their destinies weave in and out, based on the choices each makes in the pursuit of love, friendship, human rights, equality, and freedom. Webb invites you to explore the possibilities in STARLING."
-Carmen Fullmer, actor and advocate-worker for people of all abilities
"Theodore Webb presents a chilling dystopian future not too far removed from our current society, an Orwellian backdrop of constant surveillance, immersive, ubiquitous social media, and manufactured realities that soothe and distract from harsher truths. Thrust into a high school environment of carefully controlled thought and expression and mandatory school spirit, a small cadre of free-thinking students struggle to break the norm of "Work, Consume, Conform, Repeat."
Extrapolating current anxieties to frightening but plausible extremes, Webb has much to say about privacy in the digital age, our dependency on prescription medicine and technology, and the state of the working class, filtered through the unique voices of his non-conformist protagonists."
-Scott Emerson, author & blogger @ "Brain Nuggets," http://scottemerson.wordpress.com
"Take a moment to imagine American society's reliance on social networking, Genetically Modified food, and pharmaceutical over-prescription continuing on its current upward arc. What will a virtual-reality world of synthetic foods, drinks, mood-enhancers, genetic manipulation, and digital economic opportunity-building run by the biomedical, religious, media, political, military, and educational establishments look like? Part Phillip K. Dick and part John Hughes' prototypical high school meets Tim Burton's "Edward Scissorhands," "The STARLING Connection" is a sobering and often times violent and frightening look at what our world might become if things continue on their current trajectory."
-Joseph Madia Jr., artistic director/resident playwright at Seven Stories Theatre Company and author of "Minor Confessions of an Angel Falling Upward" and "Jester-Knight (Book 1 of the Ambir Dragon Tales)"
"I bought this book on a whim, the price was right and I like dystopic futuristic reads. I was blown away by how well this was thought out and put together. This is a thought provoking page turner and could easily be a classic for years to come.
This book would be so great for young children in their teens struggling to find identity in this world that has less and less real to offer. Anyone reading can easily find themselves lost in the story along side the characters who are dealing with issues that we all face in regards to our society and our struggle for identity in a world that cares less and less about who we really are.
This book leaves me feeling happy and full of thought every time I have read it and put it down. This could very well be a must read for any child coming into high school and facing the extreme pressures of society so they can feel comfortable with themselves and who they want to be. It could really be a great tool so children and adults feel comfortable with decisions they make in the face of societal pressure.
Read this book, let your kids read it. 3 thumbs up!"
-Phil Anderson, web designer & developer, SpiralSpark.
"Mr. Webb has taken the ideas that are prevalent to society today, and taken it to a darkly controlled level where creativity, critical thinking and even human companionship have ceased to be important. Did the government take over or did the people become too complacent? How did the world end up this way? I'm excited to see what happens next."
-T.A. Woods, author & blogger @ "Pen Paper Pad," http://penpaperpad.com
"This a young adult series set in 2045 told mostly in the form of journal entries of a freshman high school student. The exploits of he and his friends who realize life is not actually the way it is presented by the powers that be and set out to make a change in the world starting at their school... In part 3 we are introduced fully to the dominating commercial brand of religion TEMPLE that has been hinted at in the previous parts of the series and the children are hounded by their enemies with their own creation. Children and adults from any generation should be able to identify with the basic problems these characters face in their futuristic society."
-Michelle Bowser, author of "Don't Yell at the Damn Desk Clerk."
"I really enjoyed this series and recommend it to others. Webb, who writes the majority of the work from the first person perspective of high school freshmen Simon Laramie, nails the POV of a kid of that age. His thoughts, his actions, the way he words things. And I think because of this, with a combination of the themes, this series would be an excellent substitute or addition to the vampire, zombie, whatever series so many YA fans are reading. This is a series that makes you think about the way things are and where we are heading- a corrupt power elite, hellbent on walking all over the masses so that the very few at the top can have everything- control of said masses through religion, intimidation, and other forms of fear.
Many issues are addressed in this book that I believe few people (especially the average, middle class American) think about, at least before they are forty. Any younger person who reads this series, and takes its lessons and the philosophical views stated throughout to heart, just might avoid thirty years at the grind, working to make someone else rich, just to look back on it all in old age and say, "What the hell did I waste my life for."
-Kevin E. Lake, Iraq War vet and author of "Off Switch," "From the Graves of Babes," "Serial Street," and "Homeless Across America"