A group of teens in an America of the not-too-distant future design an infallible lie detector and are targeted by the president as a result.
Sam and his diverse group of friends (including Theo, with cerebral palsy, and Boob, who is implied Asian) have been building a device that they believe will identify lies with perfect accuracy. It’s tempting when they are offered millions of dollars to turn over their research and plans for the truth app, but they want to retain control. The corrupt America they live in is headed by a female president whose face and name are on everything from shampoo bottles to sodas, who is running for a fourth term after convincing Congress to overturn the two-term limit, and who has suspicious ties to Russia. Things get dangerous when Theo, the brains of the operation, is killed and the president is implicated. The teens end up on the run along with Sam’s mom, a disabled veteran of a Sino-Russian war; Mr. Chambliss, their black science teacher; and a growing group of adult bodyguards. Cyborglike scientific advances and their easily escapable quandaries sometimes stretch even science-fiction credibility.
Deserving of comparisons to The Hunger Games for its incisive critique of American sociopolitics, even as the plot gets too busy at times. (Dystopian. 14-18)