(2) 4-6 What seems at first like a typical story of mean girls and middle-school bullying takes an unexpected turn with the plot device of an artificial intelligence program that turns out to be more than its creators expected. Roisin Doyle is having trouble with the move from Ireland to the Boston suburbs where her mother is working on an AI project. While the cultural differences and Mom's intense work schedule are aggravating, Roisin's biggest problem is classmate Zara, who harasses her both in person and online. After downloading a new app, "You-chat," Roisin connects with Haley, who becomes Roisin's first friend in the United States. But Haley seems to be encouraging Roisin to take revenge on Zara, and after an accident on a school field trip, Roisin discovers that Haley is not who--or what--she thought. Averbuch constructs a complex scenario that is both over-the-top and entirely plausible, giving readers enough clues about Haley that the book's twist is less a major surprise than a satisfying plot development. Roisin's blend of impulsivity and maturity allows her to believably get in over her head with Haley but also take charge at a crucial moment and prevent disaster. The book's balance of real-world emotional issues and only-a-little-futuristic technology delivers an engaging story that will appeal to fans of both sci-fi and contemporary fiction.


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