BIONIC by Suzanne Weyn

BIONIC

Age Range: 13 - 18
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A talented white athlete and musician, high school senior Mira has a shot at a lacrosse scholarship—until she and her band hit a fuel truck on the way to a gig.

The catastrophic accident damages her brain, disfigures her face, destroys her knee, and leaves her a double amputee, taking her right arm and left leg. Rehab is difficult, and with so many artificial parts, she feels even less like herself. Her adjustment is realistically rough without being bleak, and her ambivalent use of antidepressants is handled sympathetically. Mira's relationships with friends and family—including her refreshingly empathetic autistic brother, who inspires a recurrent butterfly metaphor—convey both trauma and resilience. When she receives experimental prostheses that she controls via a chip in her brain, her outlook improves dramatically. Suddenly she's winning swim meets, looking like a model, playing guitar, and singing like a virtuoso, and remembering everything as though reliving it…and losing friends and being kicked off teams for her unfair advantage. Weyn draws on current technological developments as well as athletic and ethical controversies surrounding sophisticated prosthetics to frame her tale, but Mira's over-the-top, superhero-esque transformation veers into vague science-fiction territory, making her dilemma markedly less nuanced than that of her real-life counterparts.

While experimental technology can spark wild "what ifs," even "what ifs" need explanations, and lacking some details, Mira's transformation is unfortunately too extreme to mainstain willing suspension of disbelief. (Fiction. 13-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 25th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-545-90677-7
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: Scholastic
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2016




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