What makes Proxy so engaging - other than the powerful authentic teen-speak writing - is the plot and story structure. I would almost describe this as a cross between M T Anderson's Feed and Marie Lu's Legend. Interestingly, Marie Lu wrote one of the blurbs on the back cover so I guess I'm not the only one who thought of her when I read this book. London explores what happens to a society split between haves and have-nots where everything is a matter of bargain and debt. The proxies in the title are kids are punished in place of rich kids (patrons) who commit wrongs. Sure, the rich kids have to watch the punishment administered to their proxies - that's their punishment. But the proxies don't have much hope of ever truly getting their debt levels under control or of managing their own lives; they pay the debts of their patrons in pain and suffering and spend their lives trapped in run-down cities. There's lots of nice touches in the fine details, like targeted advertising out of control, and proxies having names of famous fictional characters because they're basically fungible commodities - Sydney Carton (one of the main characters), Tom Sawyer, and Atticus Finch to name a few. And the name Sydney Carton isn't the only nod to Dickens' Tale of Two Cities.
I read a lot of YA sci-fi dystopian stories, and I must say that although this word clearly derives from some earlier ideas, it's a very fresh and new take on the genre. The action and language are a perfect combination to keep the reader engaged from beginning to end. I don't regret adding it to my "must-read" pile, and others who do the same won't be disappointed. (And, yes there were a few inconsistencies and plot holes particularly in the last couple of chapters, but I was willing to suspend my disbelief to see the story through!)