A teenage catfisher’s lies catch up to her.
High school sophomore Joss Wyatt lives through the carefully constructed lives of her many online personas; her virtual relationships with unwitting paramours save her from the monotony of her daily life. Joss is attracted to her targets’ vulnerability, to their willingness to believe she’s a damsel in distress only they can rescue. Then she starts receiving texts from “Believer.” Believer knows everything: the names and locations of Joss’ “victims.” This unknown antagonist has copies of all of Joss’ chat transcripts and the naughty videos she’s sent to her favorite online lover. Believer also knows Joss just had sex with a teacher. Meanwhile, her close friendships are crashing down around her, and she can’t separate reality from fantasy. The multitudinous characters—both in the novel’s reality and Joss’ online life—and narrative disruptions such as texts, emails, and Joss’ daydreaming throw the story into a confusing tailspin: the result is chaos on the page and in readers’ minds. Joss’ real-life potential love interest is a mixed-race boy (white and Japanese), but otherwise the book subscribes to the white default.
Too clever by half, this book isn’t worth the energy needed to keep everything straight. (Fiction. 15-18)