Issa Torres is a youthful computer hacker, and she goes by
Pr1m4 D0nn4 on the forums. The CIA know that. Agent Shane
Donovan has invited her to an LA building to carry out some
work, and if she and the other five teenagers get the tests
right, there's an offer of university and a good job.
PHANTOM WHEEL throws a wrench in the works right away as
one of the six, distrustful of authority, leaves before the
tests even start, declaring that if something seems too
good to be true, it probably is. Could he be right? Issa
needs this for her impoverished family. She takes the test.
Owen Heath, who lives in Boston and plays football, is the
guy who left early. He's now back at home, digging through
online lease agreements and corporation names to see who
is actually renting that LA building. He's also running a
facial recognition program through every high school
yearbook in the country for the last twenty years, hoping
to come up with some of the building staff. His hacking
doesn't come with scruples, unlike most of the others, and
therefore he doesn't trust anyone.
This is when Shane Donovan turns out to be working for
global communications conglomerate Jacento, the corporation
with access to everyone's cell phones. Not just the
airwaves; they make phones and tablets, code the OS.
Phantom Wheel is a virus which is now set to infect every
computer around the world, and the hackers have a race
against time to undo their handiwork before New Year's Day.
By breaking and entering, getting shot, chased, hacking
cars and trains.
As usual in modern YA books the kids are a real mixture.
Alika Izumi has, through her well-placed family, been able
to expose corruption in the Treasury Department.
Dreadlocked Owen Heath hangs out with footballers to escape
his home life and drunken dad. Ezra Hernandez is the son of
hoteliers, hacking for entertainment mostly. Harper
slightly confuses the issue by referring to the others by
stereotypes like Snow White, Mad Max, Buffy, and Lone
Ranger. As these are youthful hackers, they are not
cynical criminals like some older guys would be, so we do
get to feel sympathy for them. Be prepared though, for
pages filled with lines about soda, minor insults and
bragging, in the computer forum and real world, even at a
high-security expensive party. I think the most powerful
section is when the youngsters realize that they were set
up and used by the firm, mainly because we see how badly
Issa needs the scholarship. I have no idea why nobody
suggested informing the real CIA, even to have the idea
shot down by the others. Tracy Deebs has previously written
YA novels and PHANTOM WHEEL is the first in a series
which looks like a must-read series to
me. If you like action, smarts, and dread in your conspiracy
theory YA, get to know the team. Expect some strong
language and violence.
The digital apocalypse has arrived and the future is here
in this addictive technological thriller full of twists and
turns. Perfect for fans of Nerve!
recruited by the CIA to join a top-secret intelligence
program should be the opportunity of a lifetime. For Issa,
it's a shot at creating a new and better life for herself
and her siblings. For clever con artist Harper, it's a
chance to bury the secrets of her troubled past and make
sure that those secrets stay buried. But for
Owen--honor student, star quarterback, and computer-hacking
genius--it sounds like a trap.
Owen discovers that instead of auditioning for
the CIA, they've all been tricked by a multibillion-dollar
tech company into creating the ultimate computer virus.
It's called Phantom Wheel, and it's capable of hacking
anyone on Earth, anywhere, at any time. And thanks to six
teenagers, it's virtually unstoppable.
what they've done, the hackers must team up to stop the
virus before the world descends into chaos. But working
together is easier said than done, especially as the lines
start to blur between teammate, friend, and more than
friend. Because how do you learn to trust someone when
you've spent your entire life exploiting that same trust in