Saturday, 9 June 2018

Everything About You by Heather Child: Review

For Freya, a young woman in her early twenties living in a near-future London, life isn’t going that well - her flatmate/ex-boyfriend has all but disappeared into an alarming world of virtual porn, and her job at a furniture store has been largely replaced by a hologram. And she’s still haunted by the disappearance - and presumed death - eight years earlier of her foster sister, Ruby.

When Freya acquires a smartface - a virtual assistant which can take on the personality of a real person, using their freely available data - she is shocked to find it “becoming” her lost sister. But as the smartface seems to know things about Ruby which it really shouldn’t, Freya becomes convinced her sister is still alive somewhere.

Freya’s search for Ruby - or at least some answers about what has happened to her - takes her deep into a frightening virtual world, then off grid entirely...

Where Everything About You really triumphs is in its careful depiction of a fully realised near-future world where smart tech pervades every aspect of life and everyone’s data is constantly mined - often by those with their own agendas. It really doesn’t seem far away at all,  does it? It’s impressively detailed, down to the small things (haptic suits, digital wallpaper and pizza delivery drones).

The date isn’t given, though there are clues (Prince George is apparently at Cambridge - so it’s likely about fifteen years in our future).

I loved this book, which is inventive, exciting and alarmingly plausible. Highly recommended!

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