Here's the book's description, from the book jacket:
At an exclusive school somewhere outside of Arlington, Virginia, students aren't taught history, geography, or mathematics--at least not in the usual ways. Instead, they are taught to persuade. Here the art of coercion has been raised to a science. Students harness the hidden power of language to manipulate the mind and learn to break down individuals by psychographic markers in order to take control of their thoughts. The very best will graduate as "poets", adept wielders of language who belong to a nameless organization that is as influential as it is secretive.
Whip-smart orphan Emily Ruff is making a living running a three-card Monte game on the streets of San Francisco when she attracts the attention of the organization's recruiters. She is flown across the country for the school's strange and rigorous entrance exams, where, once admitted, she will be taught the fundamentals of persuasion by Bronte, Eliot, and Lowell--who have adopted the names of famous poets to conceal their true identities. For in the organization, nothing is more dangerous than revealing who you are: Poets must never expose their feelings lest they be manipulated. Emily becomes the school's most talented prodigy until she makes a catastrophic mistake: She falls in love.
Meanwhile, a seemingly innocent man named Wil Jamieson is brutally ambushed by two strange men in an airport bathroom. Although he has no recollection of anything they claim he's done, it turns out Wil is the key to a secret war between rival factions of poets and is quickly caught in their increasingly deadly crossfire. Pursued relentlessly by people with powers he can barely comprehend and protected by the very man who first attacked him, Wil discovers that everything he thought he knew about his past was fiction. In order to survive, must journey to the toxically decimated town of Broken Hill, Australia, to discover who he is and why an entire town was blown off the map.
So Lexicon. What can I possibly say about this book that will do it justice?? It is by far one of the best and most unique books I've ever read in my life. From the moment I started reading, I was drawn in, and not just by the story. There's something special about it. And Barry's writing is simply perfect.
I read this book over the course of a few days. I desperately wanted to read it in one sitting, because from the beginning it hooks you in. But at the same time I wanted to relish it. I kept raving about it to my family and friends and pretty much anyone within earshot.
The plot is just so different from your typical book. The poets and their organization are a lot of fun to read about-how are they able to get people to do basically anything just with words?? And why is Wil immune to those words??
I promise you, you will end up loving this book. It really stuck with me, and I definitely see myself rereading it in the future (after I've lent it out to all my family and get it returned!).
I highly recommend Lexicon. You'll find yourself lost in a world where words really are all-powerful.
Have you read Lexicon?? Let me know what you thought!! Find me on Twitter, or post in the comments below :)
Author: Max Barry
Date of Publication: 2013
Number of Pages: 400
Source: Personal copy