Reviewer Amy Lignor: Amy is the author of a historical fiction novel entitled The Heart of a Legend, and Mind Made, a work of science fiction. Presently, she is writing an adventure series set in the New York Public Library, as well as a teen fiction series, The Angel Chronicles. She is an avid traveler and has been fortunate to have journeyed across the USA, where she has met the most amazing people, who truly bring life and soul to her books. She lives in the Land of Enchantment (for now) with her gorgeous daughter, Shelby, her wonderful Mom, Mary, and the greatest friend and critic in the entire world - her dog, Reuben
Author: Rachel Cohn
Every once in a while a character comes along that is fun, invigorating and authentic – a complete and utter original. Veronica (or, Very, as her friends call her) is just that original creature who makes this book a wonderful coming-of-age story.
Very is a tech-addicted teenager who is a freshman at Columbia University. She has a roommate and best friend that she calls Lavinia (her real name is boring, old Jennifer). Now Jennifer/Lavinia is a good student; a sweet girl; part of the crew team; and, most importantly, the best friend that Very will ever have. Jennifer wants Very to do well and make something out of her life and is extremely worried that Very is becoming so hyper that she may just have a heart attack. Another of Very’s friends is Brian. Brian is a young man who Very thinks of as a great friend. Unfortunately, one night when she was overly hyper, she carried their relationship across the line, and Brian has never really been able to forgive her for that.
Now Very is a good girl underneath everything, just like her Aunt Esther always says. Unfortunately, Very’s mother died when she was very young. (Her mother was a party girl who went from man to man and drug to drug, mostly ignoring her little girl as she grew up.) Very ended up living with and being raised by her strict Aunt who only wants to talk about needlepoint, and make sure that Very receives her Ivy League education.
Now, everyone really does love Very. She’s the perfect hostess who throws parties for everyone in the dorm, and sets up a website called 'The Grid,' which gives out all kinds of underground information to the students. She loves her music, her IPod, her laptop, her video games – pretty much everything in the world that’s electronic. She even has a mystery man who she met online that she refers to as El Virus. He’s not only the man of her dreams, but he’s also gone MIA. Very misses their online chats and practically has a meltdown when she doesn’t hear from him.
The techno-addiction gets worse, and soon Very is missing classes or failing them altogether. She’s completely cutting out real relationships and replacing them with the electronic kind – a world of faceless people with fake names. Finally, her friends, teachers, and everyone who cares about her, bring on an intervention and Very finds herself without the electronic appendages that she’s come to count on. Without this world, she has to re-enter the “live” one and discover the emotions that she’s buried deep down inside her soul on the grounds of ESCAPE – a rehabilitation center for people who are addicted to electronics.
This book is not only laugh-out-loud funny at times, but it also makes you think. Your heart will go out for Very as she focuses on her life and what matters - leaving the world of nameless, faceless icons behind. This book is right on the money when it comes to the powerful subject of the techno world. I don’t go one day – let alone minute – without seeing someone with a cell phone up to their ear, or their face buried in a computer screen. All young adults (not to mention adults) should delve into Very’s life. Perhaps if they did, they'd be able to see themselves in the pages, and put down the phone before it’s too late.