The Golden Compass meets the digital age! When a coding star enters an elite technology academy, she discovers a world of competition, intrigue, and family secrets—plus a robotic companion that isn't what it seems.
Lacey Chu is a girl who codes. She has always dreamed of working as an engineer for MONCHA, the biggest tech firm in the world and the company behind the "baku"—a customizable "pet" with all the capabilities of a smartphone. But when Lacey is rejected by the elite academy that promises that future, she's crushed.
One night, Lacey comes across the broken form of a highly advanced baku. After she repairs it, the cat-shaped baku she calls Jinx opens its eyes and somehow gets her into her dream school. But Jinx is different than any other baku she's ever seen…He seems real.
As Lacey settles into life at school, competing with the best students in a battle of the bakus that tests her abilities, she learns that Jinx is part of a dangerous secret. Can Lacey hold on to Jinx and her dreams for the future?
Jinxed is the perfect…
middle grade book for girls who are passionate about coding
summer reading chapter book for kids 9-12
science fiction book for kids 9-12
engineer academy book
robot book for kids
"With a sharp eye toward the rising awareness of device addiction and a keen sense of wonder, McCulloch's tale is a feast for the imagination that celebrates women in STEM fields."—Publisher's Weekly, STARRED review
"I raced through this book…a little bit Golden Compass and all adventure."—Amie Kaufman, New York Times bestselling author
McCulloch's (The Oathbreaker's Shadow) vividly imagined Toronto-set middle grade series opener intertwines smartphone technology with the hallmarks of classic science fiction via a fun, insightful narrative and bright voice. Lacey Chu, 12, lives with her mother in a "corporate mini city" that's grown up around the campus of Moncha Corp., developer of baku robotic companions that blend companionship with smartphone utility. Her dream is to begin seventh grade at the highly competitive, corporate-run Profectus Academy with an eye toward becoming a baku creator like her father, who disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Lacey is rejected despite excellent mechanical and coding skills, but when she rescues a nonfunctioning, battered baku a cat that she names Jinx she's suddenly admitted. After spending the summer repairing Jinx, she joins Profectus's hypercompetitive world, navigating friendships, social changes, academic excellence, and her decidedly and uncharacteristically headstrong baku. With a sharp eye toward the rising awareness of device addiction and a keen sense of wonder, McCulloch's tale is a feast for the imagination that celebrates women in STEM fields. Ages 8 12.)