The Glass Box

J. Michael Straczynski


From award-winning author J. Michael Straczynski, The Glass Box is a hard-hitting, fast paced sci-fi novel about the choices we make and the ramifications we face. Perfect for fans of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Dark Matter by Blake Crouch. Riley Diaz was born to fight back. When she’s incarcerated under the authority of a shadowy new defense act, Riley is sent to one of a growing number of American Renewal Centers (ARCs)–institutions modeled after psychiatric facilities–for mandatory reeducation. Forced therapy, involuntary medication, solitary confinement, restricted rations, and more are all in the ARC program’s bag of dirty tricks designed to break down dissidents. Give in, and you go free. Resist, and… Riley declares a one-woman war against the gaslighting and manipulation in a struggle to take down the ARC program and its white-coated collaborators. Despite being isolated and resented by her fellow inmates, Riley eventually wins their trust, and forms a heartfelt, life-and-death bond with a mysterious patient known only as Frankenstein, who is as enigmatic as his namesake. Sometimes breaking an unjust system starts with one person willing to stand up–when standing is the hardest thing in the world–and saying “no.” Riley Diaz is willing to stand behind that word, regardless of the cost, in order to put her fist through the Glass Box once and for all. Acclaimed creator J. Michael Straczynski takes the reader on a mesmerizing journey inspired by pressing contemporary issues, including our right to protest and the threats designed to undermine that right. Told with drama and heart, The Glass Box is a moving story that features a colorful and often eccentric cast of characters readers will fall in love with.

-Excerpt taken from Goodreads.

Check Goodreads to see the book’s ratings.

My Opinion

“The fear is always bigger than the actual threat.”

4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5) You know those books that grab you from page one and never let go? The ones that make you mad when you have to put it down to do regular things like make dinner? Well this was that for me! It was pure entertainment through and through.

I have this odd love for everything dystopia. I think it’s the psychology behind it all. What people do and why they do it are fascinating to me.

This book starts at a protest where Riley becomes arrested for speaking her mind. A new secret defense project makes it so she is immediately taken to a facility where she is forced to stay for at least 6 months. These facilities are molded around old psychiatric hospital plans. She is completely locked in and forced to have therapy, medications and more. The more she complies, the quicker she will get out.

“Your odds of survival absolutely depended on them seeing you as a human being.”

The idea behind it all was fascinating. There is so much hidden about this new defense project. People are even predicted to be criminals and therefore placed in the facilities. We meet loveable characters, hear heartwarming stories and learn about the people making this all happen. We also get multiple Terminator movie references which made me laugh each time.

It is fast-paced and entertaining from the first chapter. I didn’t want it to end and was looking for book two before I had even finished (nothing yet!) My only request is that I would have loved more backstories to get to know the characters better.

AUDIO REVIEW: There were multiple accents that Stacy Gonzalez performed perfectly. She had such great voices for each character. The condescension and patronization in the voices of the people who work at the facility were definitely my favorite as it was done so well.

General content summary: F words= 20+


Protest (tear gas, injuries, multiple)

Conviction to an inpatient mental health hospital 

Medications given without consent 

Parents killed (previous, car, few details)

Attempted suicide (self harm, previous)

Forced group therapy (many personal revelations)


Sexual harassment (sexual favors requested)

Sedation (unwillingly)

Physical and emotional child abuse (previous)

Suicide (blood, weapon)

Physical aggression (injuries, blood, weapons, explosion, few)

Fire (deaths, no details)

Thank you to Libro.FM for the copy!

**As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. 

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