A teen explores the trappings of anonymity through social media.
In her fiction debut, Enni crafts an intriguing tale of identity formation in which a social media app plays nearly as central a role as the characters themselves. Loner goth Ivy, a straight white girl, finds herself at a loss when her overachieving, certifiable-genius best friend, brown-skinned Harold, a fellow sophomore, heads to a Stanford academic camp, leaving her to her own devices for the summer. Luckily, Ivy discovers VEIL, an art-sharing app where users can anonymously share their creations in a feed that is erased every Sunday at midnight. Primarily drawn to the ephemeral art posted on the site, Ivy soon finds herself captivated by how intimately people will share their lives in an anonymous forum. Ivy, a burgeoning photographer, not only uses the VEIL postings to create her own art, but goes on a mission to discover the identities of those cryptically sharing painful experiences and then help them. Ivy’s altruistic quest to be an ally has a wrench thrown into it when homophobic hate speech is posted on VEIL, upsetting the apple cart of anonymous free artistic expression and forcing all in Ivy’s world, including Enni’s well-meaning protagonist, to re-examine their assumptions about strangers as well as intimates with powerful, sometimes hilarious, results.
Probing what’s on the other side of personal growth and risk-taking, this timely, engaging novel offers its own rewards. (Fiction. 12-18)