Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Bar Code Prophecy

The Bar Code Prophecy

Suzanne Weyn
Fiction  Series
For ages 14 and up
Scholastic Press, 2012   ISBN: 978-0545425292

Not long ago the U.S. government made it mandatory for all seventeen-year-old teenagers to get a bar code tattoo on their arm. The tattoos contain the person’s personal information and it is supposed to make life “so much easier.” Any seventeen-year-old without a tattoo can get arrested. A fair number of people did not like having the tattoos forced on them. As a result two organizations formed, Decode and the Drakians, to discredit the program and in particular the company, Global-1, which developed the bar code tattoo technology.

Then word got out that the bar code tattoos contained a lot more private information. This included genetic information that employers and insurance companies were using to spy on their employees. People were losing their health care and their jobs because of their genetic makeup. The situation got even worse when it was discovered that the bar code tattoos also contained nanobots that invaded the bodies of people who were inked. The nanobots could control their ‘hosts’ and even kill them if they were commanded to do so.

Six months have passed since Global-1’s nefarious activities were exposed. People have been told that the new bar code tattoos no longer contain genetic information, and that they cannot be used for illegal purposes. Grace, whose father works for Global-1, is ready to accept what she is told. She is ready to get her bar code tattoo when she turns seventeen and does not consider that perhaps it might be a bad idea to get the tattoo done.

Then she becomes friends with Eric, a very charismatic and charming boy who goes to her school. She meets Eric at the rock climbing center that she does to, and just a few days before her seventeen birthday they talk about the bar code tattoos. Eric does not seem to be a fan and he gives Grace a chip that contains information, released by Decode, that talks about the potential dangers of having anything to do with Global-1 technology. Grace is torn between “living within the lines” and listening to what Eric has to say. Global-1 is her father’s employer and therefore she cannot possibly refuse to get the tattoo. They have even given her a job as a receptionist and she needs her earnings to help pay for college.

At the first opportunity after her seventeenth birthday Grace gets her tattoo done at the tattoo office in the Global-1 building. She is shocked with Dr. Harriman, the man who developed the bar code tattoo, seems upset to see that she has the tattoo on her arm. He tells her to go home immediately and that he will call her. He also tells her that he wishes that he’d “Never begun this cursed thing.”

Grace does what Dr. Harriman tells her to do. She goes home only to discover that the house is empty, the doors are open, and her family is gone. Worse still, Global-1 security police are at the house. Did they take her family away?

Eric arrives on the scene just as the security men see Grace. Grace and Eric make a run for it and luckily they are able to get away in a truck that was waiting for them. Soon Grace is introduced to some of the leaders of Decode. Apparently Global-1 is “up to something again,” and they want to get their hands on Grace and her family. Grace tells them about Dr. Harriman’s warning and finds out that for some reason they have been waiting for Grace to turn seventeen. As soon as she got her bar code tattoo they came after her, and now they are looking for her. Then one of the Decode members mentions a prophecy, and it would seem that Grace is tied to this prophecy in some way.

This third Bar Code Tattoo book brings the story begun in the first two books to a perfect close. It is shocking at times to see how dangerous and powerful Global-1 has become, and perhaps the author is offering up a word of caution; we should not always believe all be are told. We need to question and think for ourselves at all times because having blind faith in anything and anybody can be a risky thing to do.