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Young Adult Indie 129
Real or Not Real?
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Virch by Laura Resau is a fast-paced, sci-fi adventure about a teen girl’s race to save her sister and then the world. Liv is starting a prestigious internship at the Virchuous Institute, a virtual reality science center that focuses on the latest tech that can help the world from virtual reality simulations to medical and military needs. But Liv has an ulterior motive. Her sister is sick and currently in stasis to prevent her disease from progressing. From a Null zone, they do not have access to the medications and treatment Shell needs. So Liv works hard at her studies and is granted the internship where the medicine her sister needs is made. However, Liv finds herself in the middle of two brothers, one who wants to save the world and the other who wants to end it. Too bad she doesn’t know which one to trust.

This book moves at such a fast pace. I found myself completely engrossed from page one to the end. Liv is easy to relate to. Her hopes and dreams are being put on hold to save her sister. She doesn’t care about anything else until she is forced to by her dream self who warns her of impending disaster and tells her which brother to trust…that is if she believes herself.

The world in this book is similar to our world now, but also not. Technology has advanced to the point that virtual reality is how most people live their lives. Virchlenses, like contact lenses, allow the wearer to experience the virtual world alongside the real, blending the two seamlessly. Everyone has virchips that record their consciousnesses and allow medical professionals to scan, treat, and diagnosis people. Yet most of this technology is only available to the elite. Those in the lower zones, like Liv, do not have access to the techonology or to care even though a virchip was required at birth. It was an interesting look at different societal classes and how quickly the disparity between them can widen.

Overall, Virch is an exciting read. I found myself riveted as the book takes place over about 4-5 days. Liv is a great character as the narrator. I enjoyed living the book through her. The story brings up questions about reality, what to trust, and what not to trust that I find relevant in today’s world of AI. There is a touch of romance, but mostly the book focuses on the mystery of what is happening and how to stop it. I highly recommend it for fans of YA dystopia and sci-fi.
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