Author: S. R. Johannes
Blurb (taken from Goodreads):
YA cyber thriller, ReWired, by Shelli Johannes-Wells (writing as S.R. Johannes), which offers a fresh and exciting new take on the genre, and could be described as Ally Carter’s HEIST SOCIETY meets THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO for teens.
Sixteen-year-old Ada Lovelace is never more alive and sure of herself than when she’s hacking into a “secure” network as her alter ego, the Dark Angel. In the real world, Ada is broken, reeling from her best friend Simone’s recent suicide. But online, the reclusive daughter of Senator Lovelace (champion of the new Online Privacy Bill) is a daring white hat hacker and the only female member of the Orwellians, an elite group responsible for a string of high-profile hacks against major corporations, with a mission to protect the little guy. Ada is swiftly proving she’s a force to be reckoned with, when a fellow Orwellian betrays her to the FBI. To protect her father’s career, Ada is sent to ReBoot, a technology rehab facility for teens…the same rehab Simone attended right before killing herself.
It’s bad enough that the ReBoot facility is creepy in an Overlook-Hotel-meets-Winchester-Mansion way, but when Ada realizes Simone’s suicide is just one in an increasingly suspicious string of “accidental” deaths and “suicides” occurring just after kids leave ReBoot, Ada knows she can’t leave without figuring out what really happened to her best friend. The massive cyber conspiracy she uncovers will threaten everything she cares about–her dad’s career, her new relationship with a wry, handsome, reformed hacker who gets under her skin, and most of all–the version of herself Ada likes best–the Dark Angel.
With a deliciously twisty plot, the topical bite of Cory Doctorow’s LITTLE BROTHER, ReWired delves into technology addiction, internet privacy, and corporate/government collection of data, as it vividly illuminates the universally human questions about ethics, privacy, and self-definition that both underpin these socio-political issues and dovetail with classic coming-of-age themes. Ultimately, ReWired is about the daily choices we all make about who we want to be, how much of ourselves we choose to share with others, and the terrifying risks and exhilarating rewards of being ourselves, online and off.
This is a strange book to review, because there’s so much contained between those few hundred pages. Where to start? The characters? The intrigue? The clash between the cyber world and the natural world? The romance or the friendship? There is just so much crammed in there that it’s hard to focus my review on a particular aspect, so I will simply resume what I liked and didn’t like.
What I enjoyed: this book reads like a Nancy Drew novel aimed at an older (see: teenager) audience. You know the tropes: witty young girl becomes involved in a mystery that she has to solve, gets herself in these terribly dangerous situations, always comes back relatively unscathed, etc. One moment, she is safe, and then the next she’s falling through the floor or being shot with strange objects… All to solve the mystery along with her sidekicks, but definitely always working better on her own. Luckily, I absolutely adored the Nancy Drew books as a tween, and therefore, I did really enjoy the intrigue behind ReWired.
I also loved how funny this book was; I genuinely laughed out loud a few times! There is a really good balance between serious topics and light-hearted intercessions, and the book never felt overwhelming in a specific kind of tropes.
Which brings me to what I liked a little less: the pacing – that was overwhelming. I love past-paced books as much as any other reader, but I honestly think this novel could have been a trilogy. It goes from everyone hating themselves to being super close all at once, which left me feeling rather indifferent about anyone but the protagonist.
Also, I think I received an ARC; I hope the cut-off sentences and missing words and grammatical errors were fixed before the release, because it sucks when you get to the end of the paragraph and your sentence doesn’t end.
Still, it wasn’t a bad book; I’d be curious to see what the final version looks like. I’d like to thank Coleman and Stott for the free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.