"Smart, timely and riveting."--The New York Times Book Review
Perfect for fans of Warcross and Black Mirror, Girl Gone Viral is the inventive and timely story of a seventeen-year-old coder's catapult to stardom.
For seventeen-year-old Opal Hopper, code is magic. She builds entire worlds from scratch: Mars craters, shimmering lakes, any virtual experience her heart desires.
But she can't code her dad back into her life. When he disappeared after her tenth birthday, leaving only a cryptic note, Opal tried desperately to find him. And when he never turned up, she enrolled at a boarding school for technical prodigies and tried to forget.
Until now. Because WAVE, the world's biggest virtual reality platform, has announced a contest where the winner gets to meet its billionaire founder. The same billionaire who worked closely with Opal's dad. The one she always believed might know where he went. The one who maybe even murdered him.
What begins as a small data hack to win the contest spirals out of control when Opal goes viral, digging her deeper into a hole of lies, hacks, and manipulation. How far will Opal go for the answers--or is it the attention--she's wanted for years?
In this near-future thriller, Ahmadi (Down and Across) questions the benefits of technology and its role in creating instant celebrity, shortening attention spans, and insidiously impacting democracy. When 17-year-old coder Opal Tal's father, Aaron, went missing seven years earlier, she attempted to track him down by reaching out to his business partner, Howie Mendelsohn. But Opal's requests were ignored. Now legally known as Opal Hopper and a senior at Palo Alto Academy of Science and Technology, she is given an opportunity to meet Howie by entering the Make-a-Splash competition on WAVE, a virtual reality social media site that Howie created. All Opal has to do is give up her privacy and become a viral media sensation, which she and her friends do using ill-gotten information about how people react to an infamous personality's very public emotional breakdowns. The narrative blends with texts, transcripts, and other technologies, sometimes affecting pacing, but Ahmadi's relatable characters keep the story engaging. Ages 12 up.