Rayen wakes up in the middle of a desert in New Mexico with some beast-like monster chasing her. Eventually, though, she gets away from the monster, is found by local authorities, and is taken to a special boarding school for extremely intelligent children. Because she doesn't know who her family is or where she came from, the school commences to do a blood test, and while she waits for the results, she is sent to a computer class.
In this class, she is paired with the misogynistic and slightly racist, Tony, who detests having her as a partner. They go to an old computer room to begin looking for computer parts to use for the completion of their project. Once there, they run into Gabby, the girl with the colorful ponytails who seems to have janitorial duties for some reason (it's alluded to, but we don't know exactly why she's receiving this punishment). Suddenly, the three of them get sucked into a computer that catapults them into the future. But, will they be able to make it home, and will Rayen ever find out who she really is?
What I liked most about this novel is that it was different - completely different from pretty much any book I've read this year. There's a mix of science fiction, dystopian, and fantasy concepts, so there are great technological advancements, a society in ruins because of something (they didn't fully explain how the world got to what it's like now, but they hinted that a man-made virus could have caused the turmoil), and there is also some innate, spiritual, magical elements as well. The author(s) use this first installment of the series to build their futuristic world, and I must admit that some things were confusing (I re-read various parts multiple times to come up with a visual of the plants, the animals, the people, etc.), but using descriptors to create the picture was a fun endeavor.
- I find it problematic that two white women took on a more "ethnic" sounding name for this text. According to YALSA "Micah Caida is a pseudonym for two authors who chose a Native American protagonist to add a new dimension to the protagonist. One of the authors has Blackfoot Indian in her ancestry; the other’s father was an honorary Kwakiutl tribal member. Their research included visits to Southwest area pueblos, and traveling through Arizona, New Mexico, Southern Colorado and Utah." - when I go to their individual websites, however, I see nothing mentioned of this heritage which makes me wonder why it isn't included on their websites.