By Katie Kacvinsky
Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her. Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking. In this not so brave new world, two young people struggle to carve out their own space.
The message in this book is a good one, and I was anticipating it crossing the line of being preachy, but Katie Kacvinsky does an admirable job of keeping things professional and not getting on a soap box. Maddie is a girl who’s been shut in a cage, and meeting Justin allowed her to start to open the door and stretch wings she never knew she had. This is a story about how isolating technology can be if we allow it to control our lives, and the dangers of letting a computer become your life. Justin is the flip side in the story, he’s a man on a mission: he wants to find those who will fight against over-using technology and bring them to safety. He didn’t bet on meeting Maddie, one of the most important converts he could’ve made, and he never would’ve guessed she’d make him feel the way he feels when she’s around. Maddie loves Justin and his enthusiasm for life, and Justin loves watching Maddie become more and more of herself. This is a journey of discovery as well as a dangerous adventure.
Content warning: teen making out and intimacy.
I give it a 3.25 out of 5- a little above average.