Rose, a quiet, shy girl living in New York City in 2029, suddenly comes out of her shell.
The white 15-year-old seeks out new, popular friends, although she tries to include her longtime best friend in their activities as well. Once so averse to human contact that she ate her school lunch facing a wall, now Rose is gregarious to a fault. She throws parties for her new friends, gets a radical new haircut, and searches for an elusive jean jacket, one that she feels she must have. Readers learn that this is a radical change in Rose’s personality from the reactions of those around her; her presentation in the third-person narrative is blandly unquestioning. However, the scene changes with the second half of the book, and readers learn why Rose has been acting in this new way. Something she experienced in this brave new world has changed her personality. Now she wants to return to her true self and to her real name. But can she? The exposition is simple and declarative, with no lyricism getting in the way of readers’ growing immersion in Rose’s character, which gains depth and interest as the book progresses. The near-future setting is likewise unadorned, with just a few science-fiction tweaks to create a world that plausibly might also contain new scientific advances.
An interesting, experimental near-future character study. (Science fiction. 12-18)