In this sequel to The Flinkwater Factor (2015), Hautman returns to quirky Flinkwater for more technology-driven mysteries with spunky carrot-topped Ginger.
Kicking off an e-book–vs.–print storyline, the white girl’s homework assignment—finding how Flinkwater got its name—leads her to the computer-free library, where a controlling pair of white, evangelical caricatures (the preachy kind with a life-size, blue-eyed Jesus statue in their front yard) wishes to ban Charlotte’s Web for its ungodly talking animals. Sassy Ginger gets involved and decides to read the book—but to the librarian’s dismay, she opts for the electronic version. Later that night, Ginger discovers that every electronic version of the book has been hacked. To recover the book, she seeks help from her brainy best friend and boyfriend (and fiance, though he doesn’t know it yet), but he doesn’t remember her: it seems that a plague of memory lapses is following the use of a new memory and learning technology. But is it a side effect…or something sinister? Investigating the man behind the memory machine, Ginger gets into wacky animal adventures and peril. The storyline’s climactic moment comes a bit too easily, but the surrounding story is good fun. Most characters (barring animal rescuer Myke, adopted from Africa) seem to be white. A lengthy denouement answers all remaining plot questions, tying the subplots together. A final section indicates the present-vs.-future status of the featured technology.
Tightly plotted mysteries lightened with wacky, ludicrous humor. (Science fiction. 8-14)