Hana Hsu and the Ghost Crab Nation

Hana Hsu and the Ghost Crab Nation
Age Range
Release Date
June 21, 2022
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Hana Hsu can’t wait to be meshed.
If she can beat out half her classmates at Start-Up, a tech school for the city’s most talented twelve-year-olds, she’ll be meshed to the multiweb through a neural implant like her mom and sister. But the competition is fierce, and when her passion for tinkering with bots gets her mixed up with dangerous junkyard rebels, she knows her future in the program is at risk.
Even scarier, she starts to notice that something’s not right at Start-Up—some of her friends are getting sick, and no matter what she does, her tech never seems to work right. With an ominous warning from her grandmother about being meshed, Hana begins to wonder if getting the implant early is really a good idea.
Desperate to figure out what’s going on, Hana and her friends find themselves spying on one of the most powerful corporations in the country—and the answers about the mystery at Start-Up could be closer to home than Hana’s willing to accept. Will she be able to save her friends—and herself— from a conspiracy that threatens everything she knows?

Editor review

1 review
People should be free to think.
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What worked:
The template for the story is familiar so it will be easy to follow the plot. Hana dreams of attending Start-Up like her older sister but she soon learns that something nefarious is going on at the school. Large corporations are presented as the antagonists while their motives remain secret. Why would they care about different fungi and parasites and what does that have to do with the school? Hana tiptoes into the center of the drama as she reluctantly gets drawn in and she’s assisted by two classmates. The new friends have differing opinions throughout the book which offers a twist to a familiar story. Tomas is withholding a secret that will eventually be revealed to his friends.
Some moral issues concerning technology are at the forefront of the plot. The right to privacy is in doubt as all citizens are meshed, their brains becoming connected to the multiweb. It allows instant contact with friends, games, and news, but the corporations are also able to track everything people do. In addition, a point is made that the control of knowledge is power. People feel informed due to electronic connections to information but who’s controlling the news? Brainwashing is highly possible when corporations can decide what information and “truth” to share with the public. Hana’s own family finds itself on both sides of the issue of anti-tech and becoming enmeshed.
Hana’s character bridges the conflict between corporations and the rebellion against technology. The corporations are starting to control her school as traditions and procedures are changed. Hana discovers things feel wrong and some of her technology doesn’t work properly. She likes to build small, mechanical bots and frequently visits the Junkyard looking for parts she can use and recycle. She meets a tough girl named Ink and becomes drawn into the untold world of technology. Ghost Crab Nation refers to the name of a major anti-tech group. Hana is forced to face the conflicting stories of being meshed and must rethink her future. To complicate matters, Hana’s mother works at the largest corporation in the world and her research places her at the center of a covert plot.
What didn’t work as well:
The early chapters of the book share the common story framework of secret, evil things going on behind the scenes at a character’s dream school. However, the rest of the plot morphs into an engaging conspiracy with many unexpected twists and turns. More surprises await even after Hana figures out what’s actually happening.
The Final Verdict:
People should be free to think. The plot considers issues related to technology as it continues to become more invasive in our lives. Hana’s friends and family provide different perspectives on the issues but struggles with both groups add additional problems for her character. I recommend you give this book a shot!
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