cover image Take Me with You

Take Me with You

Tara Altebrando. Bloomsbury, $17.99 (384p) ISBN 978-1-68119-748-7

Summoned to an empty classroom after school, four teens with little in common are linked by a bizarre technological mystery: a small black cube, Aizel, that issues enigmatic rules (“DO NOT TELL ANYONE ABOUT THE DEVICE”) enforced by vague threats (“OR ELSE”). If Eden, Eli, Ilanka, and Marwan don’t placate the cube by obeying its increasingly capricious whims—don’t get it wet, pass it from one handler to the next every 14 hours—Aizel punishes them by manipulating and deleting their personal information and restricting phone access. Even as the quartet attempts to discern Aizel’s origins and purpose, they must cope with their own concerns in a time of social media: true crime podcast aficionado Marwan faces Islamophobia, Ilanka seeks belonging through selfies, Eden mourns her deceased father by listening to playlists, and Eli avoids family stress by gaming. In this thriller, Altebrando (The Leaving) explores the impact of technology and the influence of social media on teens. Though the ultimate threat and resolution don’t quite live up to the story’s promise, Altebrando delves into the tensions of digital technology: its dangers, including data privacy, and its comforts. Ages 13–up. [em]Agent: David Dunton, Harvey Klinger Literary. (June) [/em]