by S.R. Johannes
August 27th 2017
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.
Ada Lovelace, aka Dark Angel, leads two lives. On one side, she's an extraordinary hacker and part of a well-known cyber hacking club. On the other, she's a Senator's daughter who once was at the top of the class but since her best friend's death, has fallen into a distant depression. Ada balances her lives as best as she can until one day, the FBI shows up at her door. The only way to avoid jail seems to be a 30-day rehab trip to a creep, historical building for some technological detox time. But there's more to this program than meets the eye.
Ada is an amazing character and drives this story forward from beginning to end. She has so many opposing personalities traits that it's hard not to feel for her and, after learning her past, completely understand her situation. She's tough, snarky, clever and yet healing and kind. But one of her best attributes is her fighting spirit and her drive not to be pushed around. She's a character easy to root for the entire way through, but she's not the only one. The entire cast of characters holds distinct personalities--each with their own problems and pains. Ada describes the group as a cyber form of 'The Breakfast Club' and this description fits well.
The writing itself starts out choppy. The phrases are short and to the point, and the chapters aren't exactly long. While this jeered at first, a couple chapters into the book and the plot takes over, making this a read not easy to be put down. The action and intrigue thickens with clues and a growing mystery until danger and tension fills the last part of the story. The story starts out with a look at Ada's hacking life, and then slowly feeds over into the special rehab program. After allowing the other characters time to develop (and each one has a very heart-breaking history of their own), the suspense and action kicks in. Some of the reasoning behind the 'evil plot' met holes, but the action kept the tale interesting.
There's a few nice historical twists built in these pages as well. Ada Lovelace was a gifted mathematician and writer during the 1800's. She is also sometimes considered to be one of the first 'computer programmers' since some of her works laid the base for later programmers.
Fans of YA adventure, programming, hacking, and a bit of teenagers finding themselves are sure to enjoy this fast-paced read.
And here she is. . .
S.R. Johannes is the award-winning author of the Amazon bestselling Nature of Grace thriller series (Untraceable, Uncontrollable, and Unstoppable). She is a winner of the IndieReader Discovery Award in YA, an IPPY a Silver Medalist for YA Fiction, a Finalist in The Kindle Book Review’s Best Young Adult Fiction, and a Finalist in US Book News Best YA Book.
Since leaving Corporate America, she has followed her passion for writing and conservation by working with The Dolphin Project, the Atlanta Zoo, other animal rescue organizations, and by weaving conservation themes into her books.
Currently, she lives in Atlanta, GA with hEnglish-accented husband and the huge imaginations of their prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world.
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