The Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn
The bar code tattoo. Everybody’s getting it. It will make your life easier, they say. It will hook you in. It will become your identity.
But what if you say no? What if you don’t want to become a code? For Kayla, this one choice changes everything. She becomes an outcast in her high school. Dangerous things start happening to her family. There’s no option but to run . . . for her life.
Kayla’s about to turn seventeen, the age everyone is allowed to get the now extremely popular bar code tattoo. But her father regrets getting his, and it sends him into a spiraling depression. Kayla obviously has reservations about getting the tattoo for herself, and after seeing what it does to her family and friends, she jumps at the chance to join a small group of bar code resistors in her school campus.
What happens to Kayla’s family and her friends is horrifying and suspenseful. Though, I would have liked to see more character development, especially with the young men in her life. The resistance is easy to root for, though the fight seems all but hopeless. Surprisingly, it’s not the tattoo itself that is the danger, but the information stored in the code.
The evolution (mental super powers that seemed to want to mimic X-Men) of several of the young characters that weren’t tattooed didn’t really make sense. The evolution was sped up too fast for the genetic engineering explanation that is just now happening (in the story). But past the suspension of disbelief, this was a fast-paced, suspense-filled thriller. This short, easy read is exciting with plenty of mystery and drama for middle readers. First in the new Bar Code series, it peaked my attention enough to that I’ll definitely be picking up the sequel.