If You, Then Me

Yvonne Woon. HarperCollins/Tegen, $17.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-06-300864-9

Sixteen-year-old Xia Chan, who is Taiwanese American, is bored with life in snowy Worcester, Mass., where she interacts primarily with her busy professor mother and her only IRL friend, neighbor Gina. The programmer combats loneliness by chatting with self-made intelligence app Wiser, which “pretends to be you in the future and gives you advice,” and messaging with online crush ObjectPermanence, also a programmer. Xia thrills at the idea of change when she is accepted into the Foundry, an elite Silicon Valley school/competition for tech prodigies in which 20 scholarship students compete for $1 million in seed funding. But she begins to doubt her prowess upon arrival, navigating difficult classwork and myriad aggressions that target her gender and race, until a Foundry alumna takes a keen interest in Wiser. As Xia dons a new image, and chases her dream of funding her app, her grip on what she really wants starts to slip. Even worse is having to choose between her mysterious online crush and a real-life connection she didn’t expect. Though pacing drags in the middle and rushes toward the end, Woon (the Dead Beautiful series) aptly explores real obstacles that women of color face in tech through Xia’s voice, detailing Silicon Valley as fast-paced, chaotic, and sometimes shallow. Ages 13–up. Agent: Ted Malawer, Upstart Crow Literary. (July)