- File Size: 3697 KB
- Print Length: 300 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Celtic Moon Press; 1 edition (March 20, 2018)
- Publication Date: March 20, 2018
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B079ZX2JHX
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #333,933 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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HOOKED, A YA Sci Fi Adventure (Hard Wired Trilogy Book 1) Kindle Edition
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The book was fairly clean. There was a little bit of teen romance, but it didn’t get explicit. Mostly just kissing. There were a few bad words in the book. Not very many though. I would recommend it to anyone 14 years old and up.
I like it when books have a racially diverse cast, and when the whole book doesn't focus on race. Ari - the protagonist - is Hispanic and is downtrodden due to her family circumstances (her dad is in a VR coma and her mom is working two jobs). Her advisor at school is a total jerk to her but his bias is because of her poverty rather than race. There are no racial slurs in the book. Another big plus.
Reed, Marco, Garrett, and Tess are equally interesting characters with loads of flaws and multiple motivations. Reed is the nearly squeaky clean boy from the old neighborhood. He doesn't like school and wishes he could pursue art. Marco is the angsty older brother, haunted by his addiction to VR and his shady operations. Garrett is in on the illegal business along with Reed and Marco, but he's completely lost his moral compass. Even so, he takes the moral high-ground with Ari when he doesn't like her behavior. Tess is the spoiled rich girl but she also is at peace with herself in her slightly chubby body and her mad game skills.
The setting is believable, and not that far off if you've ever watched teens today. Even in the same room, they are on their media so the jump to VR bars and VR comas seem logical. The school with armed gunmen, religious fanatics, unreasonable teachers, and bullies also seems reasonable. Dave, the man from the corporation could be seen as a stretch except we have head-hunters come to schools to find talent, so I even found his role believable.
There are characters virtually drinking - meaning that the drinking and drugs (and implied sex) are in the VR. Garrett even points out how if it happens in the VR it doesn't count because it's not real, but he also argues everything is as real as you want to believe it is while in the program. Characters also go 'tab' which is the equivalent of drugs and drinking but the government has controlled the substances so it's not as harmful to teens. I think all of these themes provide a great opportunity for a dialogue about drugs and how actions always have consequences. There are other themes like forgiveness and sacrifice that could be explored.
Hooked has a grit, making it feel current and alive for readers. It doesn't ever push things too far to be inappropriate for upper teens because they deal with the issues presented in this story, well, except for government conspiracies and such.
Ms. Browne also creates compelling characters. They’re easy to connect with, and I found myself rooting for them early in the story. The main character, Ari, and her brother, Marco, are faced with challenging decisions without easy answers. In addition, Ari’s love interests are complex but still likable, as are the secondary characters. This book manages to be fast-paced and suspenseful, while at the same time forging a strong emotional connection. I'm looking forward to reading more by this author!
Ari isn't a fan of virtual reality, something which makes her more than an odd egg. So when she receives a rare scholarship to become a VR programmer/designer, it doesn't make complete sense, but it's the chance for her to secure a better future for her poor family. As she hits the academy and tries to deal with classes and people, her rare talent surfaces, and she finds that the fears of VR which have haunted her are nothing in comparison to the nightmare she now faces.
This book takes an intriguing look at a society addicted to virtual reality and some possible results such a wide-spread addiction could bring. The pages bring lots of food for thought, while hitting a thematic teens and even adults can easily understand. This is wrapped up into a fast-paced, engaging plot, which keeps the pages turning until the very end. And what a ride it is!
Ari is an endearing character. She doesn't fit in, has a good heart, and harbors determination. She has flaws and is a bit naive at times, but it's exactly this which makes her easy to connect to and believable as a character. But it's not only Ari which is easy to cheer for. The other characters have their own original personalities and problems giving each one a character arc to follow. All together, this weaves a gripping tale with VR and computer flare. Of course, there are numerous unexpected twists as things unfold, creating a true conspiracy which lays the foundations for a sure to be intriguing series. Simply said, it's a good read.
I received a complimentary copy and enjoyed the read so much that I wanted to leave my honest thoughts.