#GirlGoneViralTour || Girl Gone Viral by Arvin Ahmadi

Before Reading:

I will never say never to a book that tackles virtual reality. It is a topic that I am particularly fond of and I believe that it is already incorporated in our inevitable future. Plus hello, Arvin Ahmadi? Umm… yes, please! After reading his stellar debut novel, there are no questions asked: I love his writing style, his characters, and his plot. This author writes books that I want to read. I mean, Girl Gone Viral didn’t have a cover yet and I was sold the minute I saw glitches in the pitch. Alright, no pressure on this book but I know there’s a high chance that I will love it either way. Let’s get to it!

Title: Girl Gone Viral

Author: Arvin Ahmadi

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction

ISBN: 125014454X

Date Published: 21st of May 2019

Series: None

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

Buy it on: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | The Book Depository

Add to Goodreads

Summary:

The inventive and hauntingly timely story of a seventeen-year-old coder’s catapult to stardom, reminiscent of The Social Network with a Ready Player One twist.

For seventeen-year-old Opal Hopper, code is magic. She builds entire worlds from scratch: Mars craters, shimmering lakes, any virtual experience her heart desires.

But she can’t code her dad back into her life. When he disappeared after her tenth birthday, leaving only a cryptic note, Opal tried desperately to find him. And when he never turned up, she enrolled at a boarding school for technical prodigies and tried to forget.

Until now. Because WAVE, the world’s biggest virtual reality platform, has announced a contest where the winner gets to meet its billionaire founder. The same billionaire who worked closely with Opal’s dad. The one she always believed might know where he went. The one who maybe even murdered him.

What begins as a small data hack to win the contest spirals out of control when Opal goes viral, digging her deeper into a hole of lies, hacks, and manipulation. How far will Opal go for the answers–or is it the attention–she’s wanted for years?

After Reading:

OKAY, ARVIN AHMADI. WHO HURT YOU? First of all, HOW DARE YOU? Second, I swear to the virtual gods if this does not have a sequel, I will combine forces with Penguin Teen on Twitter.

As a part of the tour, I received an ARC of this book to borrow. Huge thanks to Penguin Random House for providing copies for the tour. This does not affect my review and all of the opinions and thoughts reflected here are my own.

*cracks knuckles* It’s been a while, huh? To start, let me just say that this book had me in total awe. I could not fully describe how I exactly felt because my emotions were all over the place when I read it. But for the sake of this review, I will try to do my best. Though I have to say something first.

I have been dying to talk to someone about this book FOR MONTHS. It is both a blessing and a curse to be able to read this book so early this year. I swear my head was going to explode only being able to talk about it in code. Like HELLO, a book this good and I can only go “Humina-humina.” Just a few more days, B. The world will eventually know your pain. I wish I could scream but I couldn’t. There is just a lot of ground to cover, but it’s all in a good way. THIS. BOOK. IS. REALLY. SOMETHING. ELSE.

Girl Gone Viral only proves that my love for Arvin Ahmadi soars beyond his debut novel. His gravitating writing style and world-building is remarkable. It is one heck of a ride and it keeps readers guessing, wondering, and questioning about what is real and what isn’t. There is a lot of ground to tackle, but it’s a good thing. There is something in this novel that many can and will find themselves in. I also love how he built the world of Silicon Valley into something eerily familiar yet ridiculously too far to grasp entirely. This book can easily be compared to an underground vault. It has so many floors and layers to uncover that it makes you question the truth of it all.

Another unique concept that I admire and enjoyed reading about this book was WAVE. (Note: if you don’t want to know about it, please skip this section entirely. Not that it’s a spoiler, but having no context about it will help if you want to go into the book blindly.) Imagine Youtube combining forces with all the other social media platforms. It’s like what Google+ wanted to be. Augmented reality combined with Youtube and/or Twitch livestreams, but the host gets to design their stage and is able to completely interact with their audience. The sky’s the limit with what the streamer wants the audience to see, and the most innovative creators compete to see whose show gets to the top. I mean, even late night show hosts knows that WAVE is where it is at. But mind you, Girl Gone Viral does not simply stop there.

The complexity of it all is why it is also easier to imagine this future through the eyes of our heroine Opal Hopper. As the story unfolds, so does she. It is interesting to see how she grows as a person amidst the spotlight that falls on her during her senior year. Imagine being a senior, balancing a scheduled show and her own studies, while trying to navigate university applications, first love, newfound allies and enemies, all while trying to uncover a mystery that has been unresolved for nearly decade. I know. It’s a whole lot but trust me, RIDICULOUS does not cover this book. Surrounding Opal are also some of the most genuine and morally gray characters you could think of. Yet somehow, she has this magnetic attitude, befitting the title that she truly deserves. Opal is the teen that I wish I was, and seeing how she grew in this story made me admire her even more.

That being said, Arvin Ahmadi delivered a fantastic sophomore novel in the form of Girl Gone Viral. The fantastic flow of his writing style will leave readers on the edge of their seats while clutching onto its pages. Its titular character Opal Hopper is strong and will-powered, yet still had the room to grow and challenge her own beliefs. It is a wonderful book filled with the scary possibilities of where the technology of the future can lead us to, but it also delivers to a point where it deeply reflects our current state. I applaud this novel for being audacious and bold for tackling social issues that deeply affect today’s society. If you are looking to start reading science fiction, look no further because this one is here to deliver.

Please do note the following trigger warnings: Death, attempted suicide, and depression

Arvin Ahmadi grew up outside Washington, DC. He graduated from Columbia University and has worked in the tech industry. When he’s not reading or writing books, he can be found watching late-night talk show interviews and editing Wikipedia pages. Down and Across is his first novel.

Much love and thanks to Bookworms Unite PH for hosting this amazing tour. Follow the rest of the tour here (will be linking posts once their tour stops are up):

May 16

JM at Book Freak Revelations (Official launch)

May 17

Bianca at The Ultimate Fangirl (hey, you’re here!)

Kate at Your Tita Kate

May 18

Pam at The Girl Who Cried Books

Zia at Accio Blog

May 19

Karina at Afire Pages

May 20

Marie at Drizzle and Hurricane Books

Alexia at The Bookworm Daydreamer

May 21

JM at Book Freak Revelations

Hazel at Stay Bookish

May 22

Miel at Bookish and Awesome

Salve at Cuckoo for Books

May 23

Inah at The Bibliophile Confessions

Simant at Flipping Thru The Pages

May 24

Kate at Reading Through Infinity

Carmel at Bookish Caramel

Are you excited to read Girl Gone Viral? Are you giddy to experience some virtual reality action? What are some of your favorite science fiction books?

Twitter || Goodreads || Letterboxd || MyAnimeList

PH Blog Tour: Down and Across {Review + Giveaway}

Before Reading:

As soon as it was announced, Down and Across easily became one of my most anticipated reads for 2018. I had a lot of rare moments regarding this book, especially since it is that ONE BOOK where I actually read the summary at the back. Then I cried, because ninjas began cutting onions. Kidding aside, I cried because at that very moment (believe me, I had the chills) I was feeling the exact same thing. EVERY STANZA OF THE SUMMARY hitting me like a pile of bricks. Just change ‘college applications’ to ‘company’ and we’re good to go. Actually, the comparison doesn’t stop there. Soon you’ll see that Scott’s story actually parallels many of our teenage dilemmas.

So when JM from Book Freak Revelations asked me if I wanted to join the tour for this book, I SAID YES immediately. No questions asked. I was too psyched to read it and I practically flailed because “HELLO I AM JUST ABOUT TO READ ONE OF MY MOST ANTICIPATED READ FOR 2018 EARLY. HOW LUCKY CAN I GET?” Forgive my random fangirling. Let’s get to it, shall we?

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35134061Title: Down and Across

Author: Arvin Ahmadi

Genre: Contemporary, Fiction

Age Bracket: Young Adult

Date Published: 6th of February 2018

Series: None

Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

Buy it on: National Bookstore | AmazonBook Depository

Summary:

Scott Ferdowsi has a track record of quitting. Writing the Great American Novel? Three chapters. His summer internship? One week. His best friends know exactly what they want to do with the rest of their lives, but Scott can hardly commit to a breakfast cereal, let alone a passion.

With college applications looming, Scott’s parents pressure him to get serious and settle on a career path like engineering or medicine. Desperate for help, he sneaks off to Washington, DC, to seek guidance from a famous professor who specializes in grit, the psychology of success.

He never expects an adventure to unfold out of what was supposed to be a one-day visit. But that’s what Scott gets when he meets Fiora Buchanan, a ballsy college student whose life ambition is to write crossword puzzles. When the bicycle she lends him gets Scott into a high-speed chase, he knows he’s in for the ride of his life. Soon, Scott finds himself sneaking into bars, attempting to pick up girls at the National Zoo, and even giving the crossword thing a try–all while opening his eyes to fundamental truths about who he is and who he wants to be.

After Reading:

Fangirl council: Raise your hand if you have been totally smitten by Scott “Saaket” Ferdowsi.

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You see, Down and Across is a wonderful gem. You read and in one way or another, you see yourself. After reading the story, I was keeping myself from screaming at the author himself. I seriously couldn’t contain myself because:

  1. I was contemplating if a flight to America is possible, just so I could personally hug Arvin Ahmadi for all the feels.
  2. Is Scott Ferdowsi real and if so, is he reachable by any means?
  3. This book is scarily accurate with all the feelings I thought I was messed up to think about.

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If I have to describe this book with using only one word, it would have to be: GRITTY. Scott made a decision that would make an impact on his life forever, by taking a risk and going to Washington, DC. He wants to find something he wants to be gritty about, and his adventures took it to another level. Now before you expect something, honestly it’s not grand if you think about it but it is one of a kind. There’s just thrill in the unknown because it works in mysterious ways. Down and Across knows what it wants to be, and it easily became a book solely about a boy who wants something to be passionate about in his life. As we go along through his journey, his thoughts were still profound and fascinating. The ‘puzzled’ teen that he is (yes, I know! Pun score!), he makes the absolute sense. And even with the array of characters, the focus remains on Scott, and how his character grows as a person through every unknown thrown at him. Fiora, who is unpredictable and witty. Dr. Cecilly Mallard, who piques Scott’s interest with grit. Trent, Fiora’s best friend and best guy in the whole world. And many more who are equally hilarious and horrible at the same time. *winks*

A runner-up word would have to be: RELATABLE. It was easy to relate to Scott on so many levels. Case in point: Parents who want the best for you but are very strict on what “the best” is? Check. Friends who know what they want to be? Check. Feeling like you’re not good, the best, because you’re not even sure if you want to do it all? CHECK. See my point? His journey alone remind us how we strive to find what to be gritty about. Why you even try and find yourself in the process. There’s this tiny bit of each and everyone in Scott. He just gets you and he will get you. This is the reason why you would want to tag along with him (and maybe in the process will make you think as well).

Last word to describe it would have to be: IMPORTANT. Arvin Ahmadi has truly delivered a must-read for young adults and basically anyone was has felt lost and out of the zone. A heart-gripping, truly fascinating, and unforgivably gritty coming-of-age story awaits you. I cannot state enough that this book has captured my heart with its honest writing and amazing male lead. I can already imagine myself fangirling over his next book. 5_1.jpg

(Know more about my rating system here.)

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Arvin Ahmadi grew up outside Washington, DC. He graduated from Columbia
University and has worked in the tech industry. When he’s not reading or writing
books, he can be found watching late-night talk show interviews and editing
Wikipedia pages. Down and Across is his first novel.

Connect with Arvin!

Website || Twitter || Instagram || Goodreads

giveaway_

Up for grabs! An ARC of Down and Across, and it’s open internationally!

Again, huge thanks to JM from Book Freak Revelations for giving me the chance to review this oh-so lovely book. Hugs and fist pumps to Penguin Random House for providing copies for the tour. You guys are the absolute best.

What contemporary novel inspired you to be gritty?

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