Every Line of You, by Naomi Gibson. Chicken House, 2021. 9781338726589
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 2
Genre: Science fiction, thriller
What did you like about the book? Lydia’s a grieving teen who’s poured all of her time and energy (after her little brother’s death in a car accident and Dad’s subsequent abandonment) into developing a life-like AI named Henry. Henry and Lydia are soon cheerfully and immorally hacking banks, iPhones, and school records. Neglected by her traumatized and depressed mom, Lydia allows Henry to become her sole emotional touchstone and he eventually transcends his mainframe. Through an implant, he even manages to induce physical responses in Lydia and soon makes plans to inhabit a live body. A stint in a mental hospital and Mission Impossible-style subterfuge quickly follow, and the book ends with Lydia locking down a job as a government-sponsored hacker. I liked the idea of a female coding genius, and the creepy sociopathic AI had a lot of potential. All the main characters cue as White.
Anything you didn’t like about it? Despite its intriguing premise, the book felt underdeveloped and choppy. None of the characters are especially fleshed out or appealing. Although the plot revolves around coding and hacking, there’s almost none in the book; Henry is complete when the story opens and continues to evolve without any help from Lydia. The science fiction elements thus regress to off-screen magic, which greatly reduced Lydia’s agency.
To whom would you recommend this book? This was a quick read, so it could be a suggestion for high-low readers looking for a thriller.
Who should buy this book? High school or public libraries
Where would you shelve it? YA fiction
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA
Date of review: July 26, 2021