Featured Review: Girl Gone Viral (Arvin Ahmadi)
About This Book:
For seventeen-year-old Opal Hopper, code is magic. She builds entire worlds from scratch: Mars craters, shimmering lakes, any virtual experience her heart desires. But she can't code her dad back into her life. When he disappeared after her tenth birthday, leaving only a cryptic note, Opal tried desperately to find him. And when he never turned up, she enrolled at a boarding school for technical prodigies and tried to forget. Until now. Because WAVE, the world's biggest virtual reality platform, has announced a contest where the winner gets to meet its billionaire founder. The same billionaire who worked closely with Opal's dad. The one she always believed might know where he went. The one who maybe even murdered him. What begins as a small data hack to win the contest spirals out of control when Opal goes viral, digging her deeper into a hole of lies, hacks, and manipulation. How far will Opal go for the answers--or is it the attention--she's wanted for years?
*Review Contributed By Inah Peralta Staff Reviewer*
Captured the reality of modern social media craze
Girl Gone Viral was pitched for Warcross and Black Mirror fans. Now I haven’t read Warcross yet, but I’ve seen most of Black Mirror episodes, enough to draw me into this book. Arvin Ahmadi is more like a household name to bookworms now, especially with Penguin Teen’s antics to drag him online. Plus, we loved Arvin’s debut novel, Down and Across!
I haven’t read a YA sci-fi in a very very long time (two years), for some reason, I just fell out of love. So when I heard about this book, I figured why not try again? And I did, and it didn’t disappoint at all! I went into this book without really expecting anything, mostly hoping to spark my interest for sci-fi again.
Girl Gone Viral centers on Opal Hopper, a 17 year old whiz kid. With her father disappearing on her tenth birthday, Opal has a chance to find out the truth as she enters a contest through WAVE, the worlds biggest reality platform.
This book is set in the near-future, which is easier to digest because there were still pop culture references that are relevant today such as mentions of Jimmy Fallon and Dear Evan Hansen. Ahmadi’s world-building doesn’t really stray far from the present times, which I enjoyed as someone who’s sort of walking on eggshells with the genre.
I love how the main character, Opal, was written really well and fleshed out. Although, I didn’t really relate to her on a personal level. The supporting characters had a fair share of the craft as well, three-dimensional and with amazing dynamics.
The book also tackles grief, personal relationships, and even morality. These topics were totally the gamechanger for me as regards to this book. I can’t really go into detail because I’m afraid to spoil things, but this was truly a satisfying read.
Overall, Girl Gone Viral captured the reality of the social media craze and fast technological advancements that, if I may say so, we’re having right now. That really hit the Black Mirror spot for me.
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