The Word Exchange

Alena Graedon
Dec 13, 2014

What more could you ask for in a book about people who love words and communication and the preservation of that communication? When I started reading The Word Exchange I had no access to a dictionary and definitely needed one. I almost gave up right away but decided to pick my adult children's brains and see if I could continue.  Nope, they didn't know those words either, so I continued to read.  I was fascinated by how the book drew me in and made me want to learn the meaning behind the words, but I definitely felt lost a time or two. The book begins with the story of Ana and her father, Doug.  Doug is the editor for the NADEL (North American Dictionary of the English Language) and has disappeared, leaving Ana only a single clue. Set in a dystopian, but very realistic future, the NADEL is dying, as is people's ability to remember words without the use of their MEMES, or the newest wearable smartphone. As Ana searches for her father, entries in the dictionary start disappearing, and people begin to succumb to a disease that is dubbed "the word flu" which makes them talk in gibberish. If you liked Max Barry's Lexicon or are a fan of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan you should probably give this book a try!!

Reviewed by Library Staff