Teens want to escape into virtual worlds, where they can remake themselves into gorgeous and heroic avatars; parents want their kids to pay more attention to homework and chores. This book is for both camps.
Nixy Bauer is focused on earning enough money to get into a good college. She’s a bounty hunter, hired by frustrated parents to pull their kids out of MeaParadisus—the kids call it MEEP—a virtual world where kids can go on spending sprees in virtual malls, remake themselves into the most popular kids at school, and experience danger and adventure, all while vegging out in their rooms. Her motto is “Nixy Bauer, Home in an Hour,” and she delivers. So it’s no surprise that she gets the call to rescue Wyn Salvador…except Wyn’s dad created MEEP and should have been able to extract him without Nixy’s help. It isn’t until Nixy finds her way into Wyn’s re-creation of pre-revolutionary Cuba and finds him stranded that she realizes Wyn’s been kidnapped and can’t get back…and now, neither can she. Durango writes her fast-paced techno-thriller in Nixy’s voice, her sassy turn of phrase helping to distinguish the present-tense narration. She and her friends on the chess team swear to one another in Norwegian—an appealing quirk.
Smooth entertainment equally likely to appeal to both gamers and nongamers. (Science fiction. 13-17)