Miriam and Stuart, both 14, are thrilled and honored to be chosen to test the top secret, ultimate new virtual reality game, New World. But the game's reality proves to be not all virtual; they realize that something is terribly wrong. Someone, somehow, has broken into the game and has incorporated the pair's deepest, most secret fears -- Stuart's arachnopbobia and Miriam's recurring, nearly incapacitating childhood nightmaren -- into the structure of the ""trials."" Their tormentor seems to be trying to drive them to madness -- or beyond. Who is it? How does the hacker know their special weaknesses? Cross (The Great American Elephant Chase, 1993, etc.) rarely fails to write effective, involving novels using topics that are current and controversial, and this book is no exception. Many questions have been raised by the explosion of cyber-technology and its possible effects on the young; Cross delivers a fast-paced message that techies and Luddites alike will love.