ONES AND ZEROES

From the Mirador series , Vol. 2

A high-tech, futuristic Ocean’s Eleven with teens.

Do you matter? Are you a one or a zero?

In 2050 in the LA neighborhood of Mirador, 17-year-old Latina Marisa Carneseca’s family is about to lose their restaurant. In series opener Bluescreen (2016), Mari and her multiethnic VR team Cherry Dogs saved the city from the titular mind-controlling e-drug virus, but there was no money or public glory in that. Mari is hunting for the hacker Grendel, who knows something she doesn’t about her past and her family, when she happens upon a black French freedom fighter, Alain, and joins his cause: taking down the nefarious Korean mega-corporation KT Sigan, which is squeezing every last penny out of Mirador’s residents by upping the cost of internet connectivity. Anja, Mari’s rich, German-immigrant Cherry Dogs teammate, buys the team’s way into a charity Overworld tournament hosted by KT Sigan, and that may offer Mira and Alain a chance to succeed…if their tech-skills are up to the task. Wells’ continuing series of futuristic thrillers ramps up the cinematic action and humor in his multicultural, multiethnic, dystopian near future. Realistic characters, whip-smart dialogue, and carefully controlled and believable technobabble (with sprinklings of Spanish, Chinese, and more) will have thriller, SF, and video-game fans rooting for the Cherry Dogs.

A high-tech, futuristic Ocean’s Eleven with teens. (Science fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: Feb. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-06-234790-9

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 1, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2016

IF HE HAD BEEN WITH ME

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.

The finely drawn characters capture readers’ attention in this debut.

Autumn and Phineas, nicknamed Finny, were born a week apart; their mothers are still best friends. Growing up, Autumn and Finny were like peas in a pod despite their differences: Autumn is “quirky and odd,” while Finny is “sweet and shy and everyone like[s] him.” But in eighth grade, Autumn and Finny stop being friends due to an unexpected kiss. They drift apart and find new friends, but their friendship keeps asserting itself at parties, shared holiday gatherings and random encounters. In the summer after graduation, Autumn and Finny reconnect and are finally ready to be more than friends. But on August 8, everything changes, and Autumn has to rely on all her strength to move on. Autumn’s coming-of-age is sensitively chronicled, with a wide range of experiences and events shaping her character. Even secondary characters are well-rounded, with their own histories and motivations.

There’s not much plot here, but readers will relish the opportunity to climb inside Autumn’s head.   (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: April 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4022-7782-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

GIRLS LIKE GIRLS

A searing romance.

Two girls wounded by their past relationships grapple with the undeniable intensity of their feelings for one another in this novel based on the pop-star author’s popular song and music video.

Seventeen-year-old Coley, who is White and Japanese, braces for impact as a minivan hurtles toward her in a parking lot. The crash never comes, but in that moment, she and fierce Sonya, beautiful with her tan skin and dark hair and eyes, collide. Horrible circumstances brought Coley to small-town Oregon; after her mom’s suicide, she’s raw with grief and stuck living with the dad who abandoned her when she was 3. Wealthy, competitive dancer Sonya feels no less trapped. Afraid of rejection and loneliness, she buries her true self to appease her perfectionist mother and the demanding ex-boyfriend who refuses to let her go. Unspoken attraction pulls Coley and Sonya together, but the masks they wear to protect themselves from their pain create a barrier that may keep them apart. Set in the summer of 2006, the novel alternates Sonya’s public and private LiveJournal posts that reveal her side of the story with Coley’s first-person narration. Sharp, poetic prose heightens the emotional and romantic drama. References to early 2000s pop and alternative music in Sonya’s posts create a playlist that sheds more light on her feelings. Coley demonstrates satisfying character growth as she opens up to herself and others. Apart from Coley, most characters are presumed White.

A searing romance. (content note) (Romance. 14-18)

Pub Date: May 30, 2023

ISBN: 9781250817631

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

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