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Book Review: Control by Lydia Kang

Control was written by Lydia Kang, a legit doctor of medicine. Her knowledge of the field and creativity of what could be are clearly shown in her debut novel.

Book Review: Control by Lydia Kang

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Control lydia kang book review

Title & Author: control by Lydia Kang

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy – Science Fiction, Futuristic

Release Date: December 26, 2013

Series: Control #1

Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers

How I Got the Book: Bought


“When a crash kills their father and leaves them orphaned, Zel knows she needs to protect her sister, Dyl. But before Zel has a plan, Dyl is taken by strangers using bizarre sensory weapons, and Zel finds herself in a safe house for teens who aren’t like any she’s ever seen before—teens who shouldn’t even exist. Using broken-down technology, her new friends’ peculiar gifts, and her own grit, Zel must find a way to get her sister back from the kidnappers who think a powerful secret is encoded in Dyl’s DNA.

A spiraling, intense, romantic story set in 2150—in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms—this is about the human genetic “mistakes” that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes.”

You’ve Got Nice Genes

With a sci-fi, high-tech setting in a futuristic America, I thought I was bound to love Control. And although I certainly enjoyed the crazy science and secret group of “mutants” Zel finds herself holed up with, I was left wanting more.

Let’s start with what I did like – Zel, for one. She’s gone through a lot – losing her dad, separated from her sister Dyl. Yet, Zel is smart and determined to figure out a way to get Dyl back. What she doesn’t expect is to make friends and fall in love along the way.

In the genetically-advanced future of 2150, there are still anomalies…anomalies like a large 4-armed teenage boy and a green-skinned girl. This was the true magic of Control. The camaraderie and friendship Zel experiences at Carus house was heart-warming, especially knowing where Zel has been and where her future is taking her.

The trouble for me came with Dyl and Zel and their dad. Their whole relationship is unexplained (why their dad was always so aloof and moved them around all the time) for the majority of the book then when little information is given, it still feels off and…odd. Maybe that was the point, but I was frustrated with the lack of explanation and motivation there. Like a huge piece is missing and will remain missing.

Also, I was frustrated with a major plot twist. I found it extremely predictable, and I was annoyed at being duped into thinking it would be bigger.

However, I definitely feel the good outweighs the annoyances in Control.


Although I’m unsure about whether I’ll sign on for a sequel, I found this debut story to be a good read. A future society that’s tampered with genetics and gadgets is a fascinating one, and I loved the emotional connections Zel makes while single-mindedly focused on rescuing her loved one. Control is a solid read for sci-fi lovers who don’t mind a fun if predictable storyline.

About Lisa Parkin

I'm a hardcore lover of young adult fiction and have been reviewing books since 2011. Other interests include Downton Abbey, heat lightning storms, Harry Potter land and (begrudingly) one orange tabby.