cover image Version Zero

Version Zero

David Yoon. Putnam, $27 (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-19035-7

YA author Yoon (Super Fake Love Song) makes his adult debut with a clever if uneven near-future thriller. Max Portillo, a 26-year-old tech genius at Wren, “the world’s largest social network,” has a crisis of conscience after discovering that a new company project is designed to extract even more data from its billions of users that will be sold not just to advertisers but to intelligence agencies around the world. When Max starts writing a “vision statement” to bring Wren back on course, he’s promptly fired and blackballed. He then joins forces with his best friend and former coworker, Akiko Hosokawa, to hack Wren. Max and Akiko’s efforts attract the attention of a reclusive billionaire who has his own reasons for taking down Wren and the internet culture it personifies. The novel is at its best when satirizing the high-tech business world and internet culture, but loses steam when it shifts into high-octane thriller mode. And the insights into the Faustian bargain between social media users and data harvesters aren’t particularly surprising. Still, fans of dystopian fiction will want to check this one out. Agent: Josh Getzler, HG Literary. (May)