Eden, Eli, Marwan, and Ilanka barely know each other beyond having a class or two together. But when they are all summoned via messaging app to an empty classroom after school, they find a small cube sitting on a desk. Its sides light up with rules for them:
Do not tell anyone about the device. Never leave the device unattended.
And then, Take me with you . . . or else.
At first they think it’s some kind of prank or a social experiment orchestrated by the school administration. Still, they follow its instructions until the newly-formed group starts to splinter. Nobody has time for these games–their lives are complicated enough. But the device seems increasingly invested in the private details of their lives. And disobeying its rules has scary–even life-threatening–consequences . . .
This is my third book by this author, and I’ve enjoyed every one of them.
Several reviewers mentioned they were under the impression this was more of a mystery/thriller, but it’s absolutely a sci-fi/thriller – totally my kind of book. I flew through it in two days. These four, very relatable teen characters have distinctive personalities, and each is coping with their own complicated problems. They come from diverse backgrounds and situations, so why they’re thrown together is a mystery to them. The way they learn in such a short time to depend on each other and offer support was a strong point for me.
And the device! It’s multi-faceted, and over the course of the story is mysterious, helpful, intrusive, and insidious. I can’t say much more without giving away spoilers, but my need to know what was going on made it a struggle to close this book. Although the reveal is satisfying and even jarring, I did feel as if the problems the characters faced in their personal lives were wrapped up with a pretty large bow at the end, but I seem to be in the minority on that opinion.
This is a completely engaging read with unnerving sci-fi aspects and one I recommend. I’ll be looking for more books by this author in the future.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.