Assured Destruction by Michael F. Stewart

Assured Destruction

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The real-world consequences of a teenage hacker’s online exploits threaten to bring down her family business in the first book of Stewart’s (Ruination, 2012, etc.) projected teen thriller series.

You can learn a lot about someone by looking through their hard drive. Sixteen-year-old Janus Rose and her divorced mother run Assured Destruction, a business that protects personal information by destroying computer hard drives in an industrial shredder in Ottawa. But no one knows that Janus, a talented hacker, has built an entire network she calls Shadownet from some of the identities she has illicitly collected. In a social network of sorts, each of the hard drives in Shadownet has become something of an alter ego of hers, and she’s come to see Shadownet as her own group of family and friends. When Janus begins to develop a crush on the newest addition to Shadownet and questions whether what she’s doing is right, bad things start happening to the real people whose hard drives Janus stole. It seems like too much of a coincidence not to suspect the unthinkable—Shadownet has been hacked. But by whom? If it gets out that Janus has been stealing hard drives, Assured Destruction will be ruined. She can’t go to the police or even tell her mother, but as things go downhill, it becomes clear that Janus is in over her head. Stewart seamlessly incorporates the fast-paced world of social media into a unique writing style that perfectly captures the world of a modern teen. Janus’ complicated web of computer networks is intricate enough to leave readers thoroughly engrossed by her hacking acumen while remaining accessible to even the least tech-savvy readers. Many teenage girl readers will find unconventional, strong Janus to be an intriguing role model, but as a clever, talented and often slightly dark hacker, she transcends gender stereotypes and will find fans among teen boy readers as well.

A fun, fast-paced thriller guaranteed to distract teens from Facebook for at least a little while.

Pub Date: March 22nd, 2013
Page count: 174pp
Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2013


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