Here digital dystopia meets boarding school story. Jess, like every other child, receives her education online until the age of fourteen, when she sets off for boarding school and “live-learning”. The usual problems of settling in at a new school and finding who your friends are is complicated by the fact that Jess and her family have not been playing by society’s rules. Small breaches you might think: keeping a pet, having a friend to meet in person rather than virtually, and living a simple family life of self-sufficiency, rather than buying into the online consumerism which grips everyone else. But there is another secret that it would be even more dangerous to share. Jess is a budding computer hacker, with a mentor that she has never met, and this leads to some unforeseen consequences. When her family back home are finding it difficult to pay for the expensive medicine that her sister Chloe needs, Jess puts her skills to use in a way that puts them in even more danger. Ele Fountain has imagined a world, not too far removed from our own, where consumer preferences have been harnessed completely to the maximisation of profit with no regard to personal growth or social welfare. She does not over complicate the social criticism and marries it surprisingly successfully with the conventions of the boarding school story. The story moves swiftly and largely stays within spheres where a fourteen-year-old (with extraordinary computer skills) might realistically have influence. As Jess tells the reader at the conclusion, “I guess change doesn’t have to start big. Because small things grow.” A tale that encourages social awareness and personal integrity whether in the dormitory, the classroom or on the web.
http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png 0 0 Andrea Reece http://booksforkeeps.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/bfklogo.png Andrea Reece2022-07-20 21:27:202022-07-20 21:27:20Fake