Monday, December 1, 2008

Skinned by Robin Wasserman

“Lia Kahn is dead”
“I am Lia Kahn.
Therefore – because this is a logic problem even a dim-witted child could solve – I am dead.
Except here’s the thing: I’m not.”

Lia has it all…beauty, a boyfriend, the most popular friends, a wealthy family, and a ViM (virtual machine) full of networked friends and a lifetime of vids. But in a blink of an eye, all is lost when an accident nearly kills her. Lia’s last memory as a human is the smell of burning flesh…
When she wakes up in a hospital, Lia is relieved to find out she survived that freak accident, but her nightmare only starts to begin when she realizes the truth. She is no longer human, but a mech-head, a skinner….her brain sliced and diced to program a computer instead. Not breath, no heartbeat, no hunger, no emotions – the only thing left of her is the essence of who she was. Even her body and face have been completely altered. And she’ll remain like this forever, uploading her memories every night before shutting down and hoping that her life can return to normal.

But can it? What exactly is Lia Kahn now? Does she still have human rights, or are those rights reserved? Her friends, her boyfriend…even her family don’t know how to treat her. Lia is caught between being a futuristic monster with the memories of a once real person and trying her hardest to be the only person she knows how to be. Even the Faithers are after her, believing that she is not a creature created by God, but an indecent machine created by man.

And during this time, she meets two very special people who will forever change her. One is human….the other a mech-head…and the decision she will ultimately make for herself and them will alter her “life” in so many ways….

Intense, thought-provoking and realistically written, this book takes the reader into the future and how changes of the power of technology in our daily lives alter us. Wasserman’s book will transport the reader to the future of America, where everything from the presidency to school life is dramatically different as we travel in Lia’s shoes. One can’t help comparing this to Pearson’s Adoration of Jenna Fox, but this is far more intense, with helplessness the only alternative in this disturbing tale of “utopia”. A must-read for any young adult who’s never read science fiction to those that devour it.

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