cover image Retro


Sofía Lapuente and Jarrod Shusterman. Simon & Schuster, $19.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-66590-275-5

Structuring their unevenly told high-concept thriller around a playlist, Lapuente, a debut author, and Shusterman (Roxy) take on social media usage and Big Tech. To get revenge on blond, popular friend Samantha for shoplifting and scapegoating her, 17-year-old Luna María Valero Iglesias, who’s Spanish and Mexican, anonymously posts a video of Samantha drunkenly trashing classmates at their small-town Northern California school. Regret sets in, but not before the video goes viral on high-profile social media site Limbo, after which Samantha attempts suicide. Limbo, facing bad press for the algorithm that promoted the post, holds a contest at the youths’ high school: the teen who goes without any technology made after 2000 for an entire school year wins a full-ride scholarship to the college of their choice. The contest, which makes Luna’s life feel like something out of one of the glamorous retro movies playing at her mother’s indie theater, brings Luna new friends and internet fame. But as contestants begin to vanish, Luna realizes that Limbo’s plan may involve more menacing motives. Indistinct dialogue across the quirky cast undercuts thoughtful meditations on capitalism and technology, making for a thinly fleshed out novel with a charmingly vintage vibe. Ages 14–up. Agent: (for Lapuente and Shusterman) Andrea Brown, Andrea Brown Literary. (Jan.)