”Goonies Never Say Die!”
I really liked this book. It was original, fun and extremely interesting. It was a young adult dystopian fantasy set in the not too distant future and with the way technology and social media have been booming some of the concepts don’t seem too far off. The main character is Ella, the daughter of a former actor and actress who are now huge social media influencers. Her favorite movie (and mine) is the Goonies.
We have social media influencers today but they are nothing compared to these people. They have a social stock exchange and everyone has investors, so the more popular you are, the higher your value. And influencers at the highest levels will do just about anything to stay there. This is why Ella’s parents had her and also is their families biggest secret.
Ella is actually adopted, but her mother used her pregnancy to gain more popularity and so nobody can find out. However everyone has secrets and once Ella makes her debut on the social exchange at sixteen, she finds that out. She becomes an influencer like her parents and they expect her to keep high numbers like they do. In order to do that she has to keep her lifestream online much of the time or investors will not be happy. She also as to hang out with other popular influencers.
Ella finds that not only does everyone have secrets, but the top girls know hers and they are not her friends. She also is forced to do things she doesn’t like in order to keep her social standing. Early on she falls for an Australian surfer named Adam, she is betrayed by someone she thought was her friend and she finds that her parents never really loved her.
Ella ends up finding a group of disconnects who help her escape her old life and start over at Keystone to be trained as a thief. They see where the world is going and how corporations are changing the digital record of history to their own advantage. So this group has disconnected so they can’t be tracked and they steal important items from history before they are changed. Like books, art, movies and other things.
Ella finds a home at Keystone where she is accepted and where she makes actual friends. She meets Garrett who is the son of the two people who run Keystone and who is also at the the best in the classes and is set to become a full fledged initiate after he runs a heist of his own. Ella feels a strange connection to Garrett whenever she is near him. Though he has a girlfriend Chloe.
The entire premise of this book is pretty ingenious as well as the whole thieving aspect. They are learning to become thieves almost like Harry Potter learned to become a wizard at Hogwarts. The world building is spectacular. The world at Keystone is in the Redwood forest and the entrances are all hidden. The characters are all fully developed, but also many are mysterious because it is a world where you can’t really trust others. All in all, I loved it and couldn’t put the book down until I finished.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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