Esther is aged sixteen, in Year 11 at a London secondary school. She lives with her mother and step-father. They own a Middle-Eastern café. Her biological father and her older sister Rosa live in New York. Rosa has a new baby named Zach. Esther has seen her sister with her child only on photographs posted to her mobile phone.
A wealthy woman named Irene Irvine makes a generous offer. Any pupil in Esther’s school year can win £1000 by refraining from using their smart phone for six weeks – and providing evidence to support the claim. For emergencies each contender may retain an old fashioned non-smart phone. Naturally the pupils in Year 11 are attracted to the prospect of the money but also terrified. How can anyone survive for six weeks without using a smart phone?
Esther decides to enter the competition, hoping to win enough money to take her to New York. Her two best friends are also competitors. David asks the question: can Esther succeed? David’s novel is a compelling read, since everyone must recognise how addicted we are to the technology that surrounds us. The book also reveals that when young people deny themselves the communication they make via social media, genuine person to person communication may become more influential and more highly valued. David also poses a less obvious but even more telling question. To what extent is our assessment of other people dependent on evidence and impressions garnered from social media? These are questions of significance for young people and relevant also to the wider community.