The Panopticon

  • by Jenni Fagan
  • Narrated by Gayle Madine
  • 9 hrs and 22 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Anais Hendricks, 15, is in the back of a police car, headed for the Panopticon, a home for chronic young offenders. She can't remember the events that led her here, but across town a policewoman lies in a coma and there is blood on Anais' school uniform. Smart, funny, and fierce, Anais is a counter-culture outlaw, a bohemian philosopher in sailor shorts and a pillbox hat. She is also a child, who has been let down, or worse, by just about every adult she has ever met.
The residents of the Panopticon form intense bonds, heightened by their place on the periphery, and Anais finds herself part of an ad hoc family there. Much more suspicious are the social workers, especially Helen, who is about to leave her job for an elephant sanctuary in India but is determined to force Anais to confront the circumstances of her birth before she goes. Looking up at the watchtower that looms over the residents, Anais knows her fate: She is part of an experiment, she always was, it's a given, a liberty - a fact. And the experiment is closing in.
In language dazzling, energetic, and pure, The Panopticon introduces us to a heart-breaking young heroine and an incredibly assured and outstanding new voice in fiction.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful


This is a book that I think I may not have read in book form, but enjoyed so much as an audio book. Wonderful narration. It is a disturbing story about a teenager who has had a lousy life and is constantly in trouble with the law. The sort of person who may repel most of us. As the story unfolds, her 'good' side and humanity starts to unfold and all the characters we meet in the Panopticon are well-rounded and beautifully drawn. Eventually, to my amazement, I found myself gunning for her to get away with her crimes, and even laughing sometimes at things she did! I also found it intensely sad and worrying that life treats people in this way, with no seeming hope for them for the future. My four star, rather than five star rating for the story is because I felt that the end was somewhat unsatisfactory, but this is a small quibble. In no way did it spoil the overall story for me, which will live with me for a long time.
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- Linden

wow, superb but unsettling

Anais, walks the walk, talks the talk and tries to convince both us and herself that she is incontrol of both her surroundings and destiny. Tough ,capable of harsh words and actions she also has a strong moral compass and a soft underbelly. She simply is a victim and I felt I was on her side the whole time and I was left astonished and saddened nevermind sickened when she relents to see the mysterious Jay, looking for a semblance of love, looking for what we all take for granted, to be wanted, cared for. Made me think about mind made up prejudices that we all carry. How can someone be so vile and offensive but blameless at the same time.Not for faint hearted folk!
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- MaryDoll

Book Details

  • Release Date: 14-11-2012
  • Publisher: Audible Studios