A ghost-story wannabe for the digital age.
Jason Moreland likes alternative bands and ’80s movies, so perhaps it’s not surprising that the girls at his high school just aren’t into him. But when he gets a message back from Lacey Gray, a random Facebook friend, he discovers the girl of his dreams online. When a casual Internet search turns up memorial pages and obituaries, Jason worries Lacey might be too cool for him—literally. Jason decides to investigate Lacey’s life and death, using the messages Lacey is apparently sending from beyond the grave. Baron’s near-manic mentions of social media and technology quickly become tiresome and only serve to jar the narrative flow away from the breakneck action pace. Jason has very little personality—a bland protagonist indistinguishable from the generic Everyteen semihero. Given the numerous incidents of social media hacking in the real world, it stretches credulity that Jason accepts a paranormal explanation instead of suspecting a hijack attempt. The pages are populated by unsympathetic characters who feel as shallow as the promoted posts on a newsfeed.
Baron produces a novel that feels based on adult assumptions regarding teens’ use of Facebook; it will likely appeal only to the disconnected adult gift-giver with no sense of teen reading taste. (Horror. 12-16)