Published July 7, 2020
About Hard Wired
Quinn thinks he’s a normal boy with an average life. That is, until he finds a trail of clues the father he barely knew left behind.
After Quinn unravels his father’s puzzles, he “wakes up” … and realizes his world was nothing more than a virtual construct. In reality, he’s the first fully-aware A.I. in the world, part of an experiment run by a team of scientists—including the man he thought was his father.
As the scientists continue to study him, Quinn’s new existence becomes a waking nightmare. Determined to control his own destiny, he finds allies in other teens—including crush Shea—and plots his escape. But what does true freedom look like when you’re not human?
From Morris finalist Len Vlahos comes a contemporary sci-fi story about a boy who might not be human—for fans of Westworld and Black Mirror.
Okay, so… there are not very many cases where I’ve read every book an author has published, but Len Vlahos is one of those. I had the chance to do a Q&A with him around the time LIFE IN A FISHBOWL came out, so be sure to check that out for details on what inspired his earlier books.
One of the things I love about Vlahos’s books is that even though they tackle serious topics, there are really playful moments and characters. For instance, in HARD WIRED, Quinn has this rambly, somewhat self-deprecating, funny internal monologue. There’s also a reference to LIFE IN A FISHBOWL in the book, too. I loved that– it totally feels like a nod to readers who’ve followed his books, like it creates sort of a joke we’re all in on together in an unassuming way that doesn’t hurt the story if you didn’t catch it.
This is definitely one of those books where every time you feel like you know what’s going on, another layer gets peeled back. I felt like I couldn’t stop reading because I wanted to know how far the rabbit hole went and whether Quinn would find an exit to his freedom.
All in all, I felt like it was a charming, fun, thought-provoking book, definitely a must-read for this weird, wacky summer we’re in.
Recommended for Ages 14 up.
Quinn is an AI.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used infrequently.
Some attraction between Quinn and a girl.
Some references to religious groups’ opposition to the creation of AI.
A woman dies in a bloody accident.
Note: I received a free copy of HARD WIRED in exchange for my honest review. This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support the costs of running this blog.