How do you feel about cyberpunk? Me, I love it. Technology, hackers, large scale conspiracies — be they government or corporate (is there really any difference these days?) — I am here for all of that. I don't know how many times I've watched Hackers (cheesy though it seems now), and Mr. Robot is pretty much the best damn thing on TV today. Combined with my love of YA lit, a YA cyber-thriller like ReWired is right up my alley.
All the winking little nods in the synopsis, from the main character's alias being "Dark Angel" (shades of the early aughties Jessica Alba show?) to the hacker group being called the Orwellians, only makes me want to read it more. If you're a YA fan and have similar feels about cyberpunk themes, you might want to check this one out too. It's available now, and there's a giveaway obviously. Take a look:
S.R. Johannes | YA ● Cyberpunk ● Thriller
YA cyber thriller, ReWIRED, by Shelli Johannes-Wells (writing as S.R. Johannes), which offers a fresh and exciting new take on the genre, and could be described as Ally Carter’s HEIST SOCIETY meets THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO for teens.
Sixteen-year-old Ada Lovelace is never more alive and sure of herself than when she’s hacking into a “secure” network as her alter ego, the Dark Angel. In the real world, Ada is broken, reeling from her best friend Simone’s recent suicide. But online, the reclusive daughter of Senator Lovelace (champion of the new Online Privacy Bill) is a daring white hat hacker and the only female member of the Orwellians, an elite group responsible for a string of high-profile hacks against major corporations, with a mission to protect the little guy. Ada is swiftly proving she’s a force to be reckoned with, when a fellow Orwellian betrays her to the FBI. To protect her father’s career, Ada is sent to ReBoot, a technology rehab facility for teens…the same rehab Simone attended right before killing herself.
It’s bad enough that the ReBoot facility is creepy in an Overlook-Hotel-meets-Winchester-Mansion way, but when Ada realizes Simone’s suicide is just one in an increasingly suspicious string of “accidental” deaths and “suicides” occurring just after kids leave ReBoot, Ada knows she can’t leave without figuring out what really happened to her best friend. The massive cyber conspiracy she uncovers will threaten everything she cares about–her dad’s career, her new relationship with a wry, handsome, reformed hacker who gets under her skin, and most of all–the version of herself Ada likes best–the Dark Angel.
With a deliciously twisty plot, the topical bite of Cory Doctorow’s LITTLE BROTHER, ReWIRED delves into technology addiction, internet privacy, and corporate/government collection of data, as it vividly illuminates the universally human questions about ethics, privacy, and self-definition that both underpin these socio-political issues and dovetail with classic coming-of-age themes. Ultimately, ReWIRED is about the daily choices we all make about who we want to be, how much of ourselves we choose to share with others, and the terrifying risks and exhilarating rewards of being ourselves, online and off.
READ AN EXCERPT FROM REWIRED
The Dark Angel
Some say technology kills. But these days, a computer is my only lifeline. I move through the warehouse and flip on the space heater before checking the outside security cameras, but the streets are deserted as usual. This is my safe space. A place to hide. Here, there’s no IP address to track. No connection to trace. Here, I can sneak on and off the grid without anyone knowing.
Undetected and untraceable.
Hacker Commandment #1: One can never be too paranoid.
I turn on the desk lamp and sweep my hand across the ugly DIY desk made of a few cracked two-by-fours and a slab of plywood. Yesterday’s pizza box and empty Dr Pepper cans jump off the edge, clanging to the floor.
I unzip my messenger bag. A tattered copy of George Orwell’s 1984 snuggles up to my cell phone, and my laptop peeks through the opposite mesh sleeve. Its permanent resting place. In case I need to bolt unexpectedly.
Punching the ON button, I boot up my computer. “Rise and shine, Zed. It’s show time.”
I sit back as the laptop runs through its morning routine without any complaint. The perfect companion. Someone who never talks back. Follows my every command.
Once Zed is up and running, I blaze through my ritual. Perform a few carpal tunnel stretches. Secure both wrist braces. And crack all ten knuckles... twice. Then I slip in my earbuds and jack up some Daft Punk. The louder, the better. My legs bounce to the beat, and adrenaline buzzes through my veins like data on a live wire. My nerves hum with anticipation.
As soon as the desktop pops up, I sign on to the satellite network with an encrypted password and return to my latest target: SocialNet. My fingers skip across my keyboard, adding a clicking beat to the music drumming in my ears. After editing my script for the umpteenth time, I hit and watch my creation. The program floats up my screen, disappearing into the cybersphere. Hopefully this will open the back door I need.
I started the SocialNet hack with another hacker a few months ago after suspecting the company was lying about their privacy terms. Rumor has it the company stores teen data and makes a ton of money selling it. This means a teen’s personal pictures, posts, and confidential profile information is up for grabs. Without teens knowing. All for a buck.
I would die if my information got it, so I wanna see if it’s true. And if it is, I need to shut it down. But after months of coding, I still can’t crack the stupid system. SocialNet is well protected, guarded by steel firewalls and an army of Geeks-on-Call.
Busting into the largest teen networking site in the world with a little laptop is like busting into Fort Knox with a wet firecracker. Nearly impossible.
Waiting, I tap my fingers on the table, hoping this program can find something interesting to make my day exciting.
Zed beeps two dirty words every hacker hates to see:
“Hmmm.” I bite my lip. “We’ll see about that.”
An alarm sounds off in the warehouse.
I race over to check the cameras.
A security guard strolls by camera three and stops in front of my door.
I freeze and hold my breath, waiting for his next move. Last thing I need is to get busted hacking.
About the Author
S.R. Johannes is the award-winning author of the Amazon bestselling Nature of Grace thriller series (Untraceable, Uncontrollable, and Unstoppable). She is a winner of the IndieReader Discovery Award in YA, an IPPY a Silver Medalist for YA Fiction, a Finalist in The Kindle Book Review’s Best Young Adult Fiction, and a Finalist in US Book News Best YA Book.
Since leaving Corporate America, she has followed her passion for writing and conservation by working with The Dolphin Project, the Atlanta Zoo, other animal rescue organizations, and by weaving conservation themes into her books.
Currently, she lives in Atlanta, GA with her English-accented husband and the huge imaginations of their prince and princess, which she hopes- someday- will change the world.