Book Review: Want
book cover Book title Want
Series/standalone Want #1
Author Cindy Pon
Pages 336
Year published 2017
Category | Genre Young Adult | Sci-Fi | Dystopia

Official Summary

Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits that protect them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother, who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.

With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.

Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is or destroying his own heart?


In A Nutshell

A group of teens trying to pull off dangerous mission in this futuristic dystopian YA sets in Taiwan.


  • An authentic Taiwan setting. Want is an #ownvoices book and as such, it’s to be expected that this book has a rich cultural background, including language, literature, and history. I was pleasantly surprised to find multiple references to “Dream of the Red Chamber”, one of the most famous Chinese literature from the 1800s. Despite it being sets in the future, you can still feel the vibes and the influence from the current Taipei in Want.
  • Diverse cast of characters. Even though it’s set in Taiwan, the author made sure to include other Asian characters in the main cast. While Zhou (the lead) is Taiwanese, Victor is Filipino, Arun is Indian, while Lingyi is Chinese. There are also bisexual and lesbian main characters in the book, and this made my heart so happy. The best thing about these characters was that they were not just best friends, they’re a family and I am a sucker for this kind of relationship (six of crows anyone?)
  • The action scenes. Want was my first Cindy Pon’s book and I was truly impressed by what I found. Cindy’s action scenes were well-written and exciting. The story climax was executed well although not as adrenaline pumping as I originally thought it would be.

Things I Wish Were Different

  • My only minor complaint about Want is the sometimes uneven pace. There were times when I felt the story skipped ahead too far, and some scenes were rushed. It’s only for a small part of the book, though, and the overall plot was still delivered nicely.

Final Score

4.5 stars (out of 5 stars)


Want is an exciting, well-executed dystopian novel. Moreover, it is an ownvoices with a diverse cast of characters and an authentic Taiwan setting. What else could I ask for?