The Word Exchange Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of The Word Exchange

The 'death of print' threatens to become reality when a word flu makes it impossible for most people to communicate. Anana Johnson has what she considers to be her dream job: working with her father Doug at the North American Dictionary of the English Language. In an era when nearly everyone communicates via a digital device called a meme, producing a dictionary is the ultimate old-school occupation.
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When her father mysteriously disappears, Anana begins to uncover a plot that might threaten to change society forever. Synchronic, the company who makes the meme, is unveiling Nautilus, a wearable communication device. One of the ways they make money is by charging for information and they're be been buying reference companies. Banana will soon be out of a job, but that's not the biggest problem. Her ex-boyfriend Max now works for Synchronic and he seems to be at the heart of something serious.

Max and Synchronic had developed a virus that make users dependent on Nautilus. But now the virus is out of control. It's rendering many users mute or leaving them just talking gibberish.

Anana escapes to the U.K., where a band of writers is trying to reverse the effects of the virus. It is now possible to catch the virus simply by talking with an affected person. So not only is digital communication impossible, so are most other forms of writing and speech.

Doug resurfaces and he helps develop a therapy that helps reverse some of the impact of the virus. But with thousands dead and limits on how and where people can communicate, it's going to be a long time before anything returns to normal.
Best part of story, including ending: This is just an incredibly unique and unexpected story. It's an idea that makes a lot of sense in today's technology driven world, but it's not a story I've seen anywhere else.

Best scene in story: Towards the end of the book, Banana discovers Max has died from the side effects of the word flu. She's both sad about his death but also conflicted because she blames him for the spread of the word flu.

Opinion about the main character: Anana Johnson is a complex character. She loves her father, but also thinks he's a bit of a crank until the discovery of the word flu. She's smart, but she's also well aware that there is.much she doesn't know. All of that makes her a very likeable character.

The review of this Book prepared by Randy Anderson a Level 3 Eurasian Jay scholar

Chapter Analysis of The Word Exchange

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 40%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 20%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 20% Tone of book    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   science fiction story Tech./$$$/Info hunt    -   Yes Stealing/recovering/destroying    -   computer/database Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Identity:    -   Female Profession/status:    -   journalist Age:    -   20's-30's


Earth setting:    -   near future (later in 21st century) Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment scientific jargon? (SF only)    -   none/very little science jargon needed How much dialogue?    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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Alena Graedon Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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