Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Reviews | Young Adult -

Cayt­lyn Brooke, BHC Press (JULY) Soft­cover $15.95 (336pp), 978-1-947727-53-3

In Wired, a fright­en­ingly believ­able story set in the not-too-dis­tant fu­ture, tech­nol­ogy has achieved its dark­est prom­ise, re­plac­ing hu­man in­ter­ac­tions and gen­uine ex­pe­ri­ences with vir­tual re­al­ity.

In­de­pen­dent, hard­work­ing Mag­gie has just been pro­moted to her dream job as an edi­tor. She has a full life and ap­pre­ci­ates tech­nol­ogy but prefers the joys of the real world—un­til the new Ver­tix H2 is re­leased. The small de­vice con­nects di­rectly to the brain stem, cre­at­ing vir­tual ex­pe­ri­ences that are only limited by the col­lec­tive imag­i­na­tion of so­cial me­dia.

Mag­gie’s ad­dic­tion is nearly in­stan­ta­neous. De­spite two near-death ex­pe­ri­ences with the Ver­tix, she can­not re­sist the rush of dopamine and the in­stant grat­i­fi­ca­tion that it pro­vides. Soon she is get­ting sick when not wear­ing it; her work and re­la­tion­ships suf­fer.

Her brother Andy ex­pe­ri­ences sim­i­lar ef­fects; re­search re­veals that Ver­tix ad­dic­tion is hap­pen­ing to a lot of peo­ple. But no mat­ter how dark her life gets, Mag­gie can­not ac­cept that she is an ad­dict.

Au­thor Cayt­lyn Brooke has cap­tured the dev­as­tat­ing ef­fects of ad­dic­tion in a fast-paced, imaginative, and com­pelling story. Mag­gie is like­able and re­lat­able; she does not fit any stereo­type of an ad­dic­tive per­son­al­ity, yet she is pow­er­less against the pull of the Ver­tix.

Most of the tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances that the story pos­tu­lates are not wild or im­plau­si­ble. This makes the Ver­tix, which does stretch the bound­aries of tech­no­log­i­cal pos­si­bil­i­ties, eas­ier to ac­cept. The world Mag­gie in­hab­its feels like it could ex­ist very soon; the hor­ror that her life de­scends into is easy to be­lieve.

Wired is a scary story about the dan­gers of ad­dic­tion, de­liv­er­ing a pow­er­ful les­son without feel­ing di­dac­tic. It is a great book for any teen or young adult.

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