UNISON SPARK by Andy Marino


Age Range: 12 - 15
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What if the ultimate social network tried to take over the world?

In this debut novel with Matrix overtones, those who can afford it live a “BetterLife” in the alternate reality of the Unison social network. Chapters alternate perspectives between blue-pigtailed Anna (a.k.a. Mistletoe), who ekes out an existence in the dark subcanopy of Eastern Seaboard City, and Ambrose Truax, son of the Unison CEO and the youngest UniCorp Associate, who lavishly resides topside in an atmoscraper. The 15-year-olds cross paths after Ambrose flees his Level Seven hypothalamus modification to live without sleep and become more efficient. In an underground world of terrorists plotting to overthrow Unison, the teens discover that they are actually hybrid organisms built to become part of Unison. The plot becomes one chase after another as Mistletoe seeks out more information on their origin and Ambrose attempts to block the launch of Unison 3.0 from his maniacal father/creator. Together, they learn the real meaning of friending. The best parts of the uneven novel are the engaging and even satirical descriptions of the social network (“Too many Events to attend? Feeling overwhelmed? Fake your own Account deletion with Unigone!”). The rest of the adventures are disjointed and far less entertaining.

Readers will often find themselves vacillating between like and dislike. (Science fiction. 12-15)

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-8050-9293-6
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Henry Holt
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 2011


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