When Ella Karman debuts on the Social Stock Exchange, she finds out life as a high-profile "Influencer" isn't what she expected. Everyone around her is consumed by their rankings, in creating the smoke and mirrors that make them the envy of the world. But then Ella’s best friend betrays her, her rankings tank, and she loses—everything. Leaving her old life behind, she joins Keystone, a secret school for thieves, where students are being trained to steal everything analog and original because something—or someone—is changing history to suit their needs. Partnered with the annoyingly hot—and utterly impossible—Garrett Alexander, who has plenty of his own secrets, Ella is forced to return to the Influencer world, while unraveling a conspiracy that began decades ago. One wrong move and she could lose everything—again.
Ella, however, wants out. She does not fit into this world, and she does not like the person she would have to be in order to fit in. Luckily, she is intuitive, and her skills are sought by Disconnects, people who live without technology. She is now attending the seemingly-mythical Keystone, an academy of thievery, where she will learn how to break into just about anything and steal whatever she needs/wants. As part of this education, there is an internal contest before a large heist that will determine their post-schooling careers in thievery.
The story here is intriguing, and at its heart, not unusual. It's lonely at the top, and the lives of those we see on social media or TV is not as glamorous as it seems. The world is unique, but I did not feel like we got enough explanations of what was going on. We get crumbs here and there, enough to have a vague picture of this future, but I would have liked to go deeper. This seems unique and complex, and it would be interesting to flesh it all out.
There's also some kind-of-romances that have some instalove feel, and they worked enough to advance the story, but I did not get super into the couples/love triangle. There's also some pretend-neuroscience that draws from myth in a way that sounds sciencey, but as a neuroscientist, I found this a little weird, but I bet most people won't bat an eye.
Regardless, I did really enjoy this read. There's a lot going on, and I liked Ella enough that I wanted to follow her story. There's quite a bit of fun and competition going on, and I would definitely like to continue reading about this world in the future. While others have mentioned a cliffhanger, there is one, but I did not find it too huge. I definitely want to know what will happen next though!
Overall, I would recommend for people looking for a futuristic/dystopian YA read. This is an intriguing book that I want to learn more about!