Parents' Guide to

Girl Gone Viral

By Mary Cosola, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Tech-based story has great messages but is light on thrills.

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Social media fame, data hacking, privacy, and high school drama collide in this thoughtful tale of tech in the near future. Opal, the girl in Girl Gone Viral, is a conflicted, realistic character. She makes some questionable decisions in her desire to succeed and get answers about her dad's disappearance, but she's sympathetic because many of us might do the same things in her shoes. Author Arvin Ahmadi addresses important issues of ethics and the treatment of women in high-tech industries. He also invites the reader to question the ways people use social media for fame and money, looking at how they manipulate the truth and their followers in the quest for a good story and lots of clicks and hits.

The story takes too long to get rolling and the stakes never seem as high as the author wants us to think they are. The mystery around Opal's dad just hangs there, with no new information or hints along the way until the very end of the book, which felt rushed and unsatisfying. Even thought the book could have been more exciting and executed more tightly, it offers good food for thought regarding privacy, personal data, relationships, and the consequences of living a life more online than in reality.

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