by Michael F. Stewart
published by author
Why Read?: Review
Challenges: 100 Books in a Year
If you are looking for a unique YA mystery, Michael F. Stewart’s Assured Destruction definitely fits the bill.
High schooler Jan Rose is an expert at computers. Working long hours at Assured Destruction for her wheelchair-bound mom, Jan does not have much of a social life outside of school, so she creates her own friends based off of information she recovers off of hard-drives dropped off for shredding. While Jan knows it is not right to pry into personal files – much less not shred the drives, which is what the customers are paying for – she does not see the harm in creating her Shadownet of online profiles…until very personal files from those stolen hard drives end up leaking out and causing serious problems for the very real former owners. Determine to clear her name, Jan must delve even deeper into the world of hacking, risking her own life in the process.
While Jan is not the most upstanding protagonist for a YA novel, she is incredibly likeable, despite her numerous faults. She also has some very admirable spunk to her, which helps to make her story fast and engaging. While Jan herself is unique, what really makes Assured Destruction stand out is the multimedia aspect Stewart has woven in. Various words are hotlinked to the characters’ online accounts adding another dimension to the story that can only be found with an ebook. The story itself, though, is just as enticing without these Easter eggs.
Assured Destruction is a wonderful start to what promises to be a fun and fast-paced YA mystery series. Michael F. Stewart has definitely found a way to stand out in the genre.