Author: Romily Bernard
Publication Date: September 24, 2013 (HarperTeen – North America)
Genre: YA contemporary, crime, mystery, thriller
Source: Publisher-provided ARC
Summary: “Find Me.”
These are the words written on Tessa Waye’s diary. The diary that ends up with Wick Tate. But Tessa’s just been found . . . dead.
Wick has the right computer-hacking skills for the job, but little interest in this perverse game of hide-and-seek. Until her sister Lily is the next target.
Then Griff, trailer-park boy next door and fellow hacker, shows up, intent on helping Wick. Is a happy ending possible with the threat of Wick’s deadbeat dad returning, the detective hunting him sniffing around Wick instead, and a killer taunting her at every step?
Foster child. Daughter of a felon. Loner hacker girl. Wick has a bad attitude and sarcasm to spare.
But she’s going to find this killer no matter what.
Because it just got personal.
☆: 4/5 stars – a nice cyberpunk-lite mystery for those just dipping their toes into the cyberpunk pool genre of YA.
Review: “Find Me” was a pleasant surprise. I wasn’t expecting the incredibly tight writing and quick pace, as well as the plot-driven elements to this book. While coming in at a short 288 pages (in ARC version, at least), this was a fun read to devour in more or less one sitting. However, I still had a few issues with it, but even so, “Find Me” is a fun cyberpunk-lite mystery that will definitely leave you wanting more.
What didn’t work for me: the forced, and somewhat awkward (and not in the cute, fun way) romance between Wick and Griff. Blackmailing someone into kissing them? Nope nope nope. Not my kinda thing. That, and there was a bit of the insta-love-due-to-reasons/circumstances there, tying up their romance into a nice, neat package that just felt a little too easy sanitary for me. Wick honestly did NOT need that romance. I’m still puzzled as to why Bernard threw that in there. Because it’s a YA audience? Because it helps advance the plot (and that’s important, since this is a mostly plot-driven book)? I liked Wick and Griff better as friends. Or frenemies. Take your pick.
What also didn’t work for me was the lack of character development. As I said before, this is mostly a plot-driven book, but there are some character-driven elements, too. I would have preferred more of a balance between the two, or Bernard choosing between which of those two elements she wanted to lead her book with. Nevertheless, the character development we do get in the character-driven elements are incredibly satisfying on the emotional payoff level, and that’s part of the reason why I enjoyed this book so much. (One word, guys: Lily. That’s it. She’s definitely one of my favorite characters in this book, possibly more than Wick.) The character development/transformation we did get with creepy cop (also one of my favorite characters) and others was enough for me to keep enjoying the book even though the main cast as a whole did suffer due to this book being mainly plot-driven.
HOWEVER. The rest of the book was brilliant. Though I do agree with my co-blogger in the sense that I do feel that most of the plot lines were tied up a bit too neatly, Bernard really knows how to write a good mystery. I read this book in one sitting, more or less, and I was pretty much riveted the whole time. I loved Wick as a main character, and felt that she was a good, strong female MC that, aside from the unfortunate romance with Griff, who kicked ass and took names. And also had one of my favorite maxims when it comes to any kind of ass-kicking female MC: never forgive, and never forget. She had a sense of wrath about her that was absolutely delightful, and I was sorry to be leaving her and the world behind on the last page.
Final verdict? While somewhat flawed, this is still a great debut for Bernard, and mystery and cyberpunk fans alike should definitely give it a try. “Find Me” is out now from HarperTeen, so be sure to check it out when you get the chance!