As technology takes hold in the world of today, imagine a world of tomorrow where virtual mode is used in every school system in the land. Leaving skin behind and entering into the internet, taking on a sim as a body, being who or whatever you want. But certain areas are approved through the schools and yet as with any rule, these are made to be broken, and other areas are hacked into, and small private wars are fought with other schools. Socket Greeny’s best friends are Chute, and Streeter. Streeter is the one with the computer savvy, and also the hacker extraordinaire. Chute is kind of like Socket’s friend, but also like his girlfriend as well.
On a day like any other, as they find themselves in their hacked universe, a small war ensues with the rival school. Socket’s sim is damaged beyond repair, and as his team covers him, protecting his simulated body from further damage, he makes an amazing discovery. He can feel, and touch, which should be impossible in virtual mode. This is only simulation and not real and yet, it feels real. No pain but definitely real. He sees a shadow of someone familiar, and yet his friends have no idea, they cannot see or hear anything unusual. But they do know that Socket is acting odd, talking to no one that is there. As they are attacked once more, Socket pulls from deep inside and causes time to stand still; giving his team time to get together, but with the stand still, the earth begins to split, right up the middle, enclosing everything in its path. He blacks out and when he awakes he is back in his chair at school, the virtual mode is down and all hell has broken loose.
And he feels wrong somehow. Everything is different, as he and his friends Chute and Streeter are escorted to the office for creating problems, he finds that his mom has called and will be picking him up. Now he knows that trouble has found him, and yet, when she picks him up she does not comment on his day. She takes him to her place of work. Here she introduces him to some of the people that she works for, and he finds that he will be tested and probed for his experiences and his thoughts.
His life as he knows it has just taken a huge curve, and he will be tested beyond endurance, and learn things about his parents that he never knew. He is in danger at every turn, and he continues to outpace his guides, in a game of life and death. Will he be able to help save the human race, or is it too late. Has it all been left too long? Will he ever be able to see Streeter and Chute again?
In The Discovery of Socket Greeny, Tony Bertauski takes us deep into the virtual mode, to a world of imagination. Everything you want to do and whoever you want to be is possible. He sets up a group of heroes, shining knights if you will, a group of those with extraordinary powers who have chosen to save the human race. Time is of the essence and Socket has become a part of a larger picture, one he is not ready for. The time has come for him to fulfill his destiny, and to step into his father’s shoes.
But who is he to trust when it is known that there is a traitor in their midst. He is pulled away from everything he knows and from his friends from home. His mom is acting like she does not know him most of the time, and he is never on his own. Everything he does is poked and prodded, and he is not ready to be what they want. An yet, he knows deep down that it is exactly what he wants, but will it be too late?
His friends stand by him even when he disappears for a length of time, and forgive him for much. They love him and will do whatever it takes to bring him back to who he was. Little do they know that they too are being sucked into a war that is soon to happen.
The characters are interesting, and at times quite brazen. I have problems understanding his mother, but she does have some redeeming qualities. When Socket needs her, he finds that he cannot always rely on her. The bad guys are deep from within the virtual mode itself and are ready to use it to take over the earth. There are some fun creative animals which show themselves to be quite useful, but are also very serious and yet frolicsome.
This is a great novel for the Young Adult, or even those that are just young at heart. It is fast paced with incredible insight. The friendships are close and the interplay among Sprocket, Streeter and Chute is just plain fun. This is just what I remember about being young, but Sprocket has to grow up fast, and I believe that there is just the right amount of adventure to keep you reading. I recommend this book for your young reader, and believe that they will enjoy the adventure.