A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Wildcard is the sequel to Warcross by Marie Lu (The Young Elites, Legend). A futuristic cyberthriller, it features real-world and online mayhem, including gunfights and hand-to-hand combat (although with little actual bloodshed). Sexual content includes a scene in which Emika and Hideo spend the night together and make love. Strong language includes frequent use of "hell" and "damn" and occasional use of "ass," "s--t," and "bulls--t."
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What's the story?
Having barely survived the Warcross Championships, Emika Chen must handle a new threat. The man she loves, Hideo Tanaka, unleashes a new NeuroLink algorithm that turns everyone's virtual reality glasses into mind-control machines. Determined to stop him, Emika enlists the help of her Phoenix Rider teammates, only to learn that someone has put a bounty on her head. On the streets of Tokyo and in the digital world, she seeks clues to the central mystery of Hideo's life: the unsolved kidnapping of his beloved younger brother.
Is it any good?
Cyberpunk thrillers sometimes suffer from "no-rules-apply" stories, but this exciting sci-fi novel gives readers characters to root for in deadly situations that at least attempt to make sense. Wildcard raises its stakes right from the beginning, and author Marie Lu orchestrates a couple of jaw-dropping plot turns. Emotionally and physically fearless, Emika is a complex protagonist, and Lu excels at revealing her interior life. Some of the fight scenes go on too long, but readers who enjoyed Warcross will be satisfied by the breakneck conclusion to the saga.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Wildcard depicts the future uses of virtual reality. What are the dangers and benefits of immersive digital environments?
What might happen if everyone's mind were programmed to obey the same laws and follow the same rules? Why is the concept of free will important to society?
Is it possible to love a person who does bad things?
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