New YA SciFi: Hooked by DeAnna Browne

 In Science Fiction

Calling all scifi fans! This is only the second book I’ve featured on my blog so listen up! DeAnna Browne’s new YA novel, Hooked, will be released on Tuesday, March 20, 2018. I was lucky enough to review a pre-publication copy a few months ago. What a great read!

What really drew me into this urban fantasy was the addiction angle. In Ms. Browne’s futuristic fantasy, virtual reality gamers are literally plugged into the games of their choosing through a port placed in their necks. Even though I know people who have become addicted to traditional video games, I’d never considered the possibility of someone becoming so attached to the virtual reality world that he/she might never want to leave it.

At some point in this scenario, any desire to return to normal life slips away, and these people become prisoners of their addiction. It’s a freaky concept and all too realistic. It begs the question: Why would someone want to exist in the real world when a virtual world seems to be trouble free and much more entertaining? This is thought-provoking stuff!

Ms. Browne also creates compelling characters. They’re easy to connect with, and I found myself rooting for them early in the story. The main character, Ari, and her brother, Marco, are faced with challenging decisions without easy answers. In addition, Ari’s love interests are complex but still likable, as are the secondary characters. This book manages to be fast-paced and suspenseful, while at the same time forging a strong emotional connection.

Here’s the blurb from the back cover:

“When virtual reality surpasses people’s wildest dreams, many struggle to remain in the real world. Sixteen-year-old Ari has watched the financial and emotional cost of virtual reality addiction for years as her father continues barely existing in a VR coma. Unfortunately, her only option to help her family escape poverty is if she studies the one subject she hates and fears: virtual reality programming.

Despite her misgivings, Ari soon develops a rare talent that makes her question everything. Now she must hide her ability or risk becoming a priceless commodity that governments and corporations will fight, steal, or even kill to possess. As officials tighten the shackles surrounding Ari, she rebels against her imposed future and searches for a way to save those she loves. Yet running proves impossible, when the government is always one click away.”

Read this book!

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