The selfie-tastical virtual world decides to unplug from the physical one, stranding one girl from her family—and from the truth.
At a young age, Skye’s family plugged her into the App World, a fully digital existence for the consciousnesses of the fortunate while their physical bodies are tended to by the less-privileged Keepers. Skye’s been looking forward to her Service, the required time digital citizens spend in the Real World, when she’ll finally see her mother and sister again. But a mysterious situation involving disgruntled Keepers results in the cancellation of Service, the closure of the border between the worlds, and even more extreme actions to separate the digital from the physical. Skye, whose distress is apparent, is recruited by a sketchy figure for a mission to the Real World—giving her the opportunity to illegally unplug into the physical world. Skye finds that things are far more complicated than she could have imagined, and twist after twist leave her unsure whom to trust. Readers may become frustrated by her reluctance to probe characters who are clearly keeping information from her. Additionally, there is looseness to the worldbuilding, involving race—in App World, everybody is Caucasian 4.0—and economics, which may be addressed in the sequel. At heart, this is an action novel about capitalism taken too far.
Despite imperfections, one of the more ambitious and thought-provoking entries in a crowded genre. (Science fiction/dystopia. 12 & up)