In 2050, when the Internet is connected directly to the brain, malware and viruses can be deadly.
Seventeen-year-old Marisa and her virtual-reality-gaming friends call themselves the Cherry Dogs and aspire to play “Overworld” professionally. Like Marisa, Sahara and Anja live in Los Angeles, but Fang and Jaya live halfway across the physical world. When wealthy Anja tries a new type of plug-in called Bluescreen, the supposedly safe digital drug knocks her out. Its effects—while in a trance she tries to force the drug on her industrialist father—are terrifying, and tech-savvy Marisa and her friends investigate. However, their investigations draw the attention of Bluescreen’s creators, and that could result in the death of the Cherry Dogs. Meanwhile, the Maldonado family, paid to protect Marisa’s family restaurant from gangs that deal drugs in her mostly Latino neighborhood of Mirador, have stopped actively protecting businesses. Can Marisa and her friends apply their VR-gaming skills to the real world and discover the mystery of Bluescreen while surviving a gang war? Wells’ first in a new science-fiction series is an action-packed, twisty thriller mystery set in an all-too-believable future. Complex, ethnically diverse characters and witty dialogue balance out the (slight) overabundance of tech-blather. Though it has obvious affinities to Feed, its focus is on action rather than concept.
Fans of futuristic dystopias will be clamoring for more adventures in Mirador. (Science fiction/thriller. 14 & up)