Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Girl Gone Viral by Arvin Ahmadi Review

Title: Girl Gone Viral
Author: Arvin Ahmadi
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Genre: Science Fiction
Series: Standalone
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

                I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.

                Arvin Ahmadi won my heart completely last year, when one of the book clubs I go to chose his debut novel, Down and Across. I loved it so much; it was one of my favorite books of 2018. So, when I found out that he was writing a sophomore novel, I was so excited that I ordered it from my local library. It’s been sitting on the top of my stack for a while, so as soon as I was finished with Love a la Mode, I got started. Arvin Ahmadi leads the reader through a fantastic, twisted world where technology rules all, and the darkest secrets hide behind a glossy, shiny fa├žade. But even more than that, he brings up important questions: When will technology and innovation take over our society and, essentially, replace the experiences that form our reality? It’s quite possible that I love this book even more than Down and Across. Thought-provoking, dark, and more than a bit terrifying, I loved every tense, mysterious moment of it, and I will never forget Opal Hopper and her friends!

                Opal Hopper is a girl who is broken into pieces. Devastated by her father’s disappearance five years ago, she has retreated into the immersive world of VR, becoming a tech-savvy hacker to capture Howie Mendelsohn’s attention, the owner and CEO of Wave, who, she is convinced, has the answers to why her father left their family. Desperate for the truth, Opal throws all caution to the wind and begins a channel that forces viewers to face the real truth. But her desire for the truth leads her to follow a dark, twisting path that exposes the dark underbelly of her world, and she and her friends may not be able to weather the fallout…

                This book was wonderful! Told with Ahmadi’s signature wry tone, I was immediately captivated by Opal’s voice, and her desperate need to discover why her father left her and her mother. The pacing was breakneck; I devoured this book in a little over a day. It was dark, thoughtful, and more than a little terrifying. It got me really thinking about the dark side of social media and technology. In our desire to be seen, to be heard, how much of our true selves are we sacrificing? I love, love, love books that make me think, and Ahmadi has absolutely outdone himself with his second novel. Though Opal was the main star, I also loved the other characters, and the world they lived in. I also adored the journey that Opal took to the dark underbelly of her world, and the way that she was undaunted and dogged in her quest for the truth. I really felt like I couldn’t trust anyone in this book, perhaps not even Opal herself. And that ending! Oh, my goodness, it knocked my socks off and felt like the most brutal, awful punch to the stomach, in the best way! Arvin Ahmadi has cemented his place as one of my favorite authors with Girl Gone Viral, and I can’t wait for more from him! The bottom line: Dark, visceral, truly frightening and thought-provoking, I loved Girl Gone Viral! Next on deck: Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir by Ruth Reichl!

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