Ages 14 and up
William Mackler is about to go on the road trip of a lifetime. After winning a contest-and nearly dying in the process-he becomes the proud owner of Autonomous, a driverless car that knows where you want to go before you do. #Worthit! To sweeten the deal he gets to pick three friends to go with him on a cross-country trip. For William, a reckless adrenaline junkie, this is the perfect last hurrah before he and his friends go their separate ways after graduation. But Autonomous is more than just a car without a steering wheel. It’s capable of downloading all of the passengers’ digital history-from the good, to the bad, to the humiliating. The information is customized into an itinerary that will expose a few well-kept secrets, but it will also force William to face some inner demons of his own. Think you know Autonomous? The real question is, how much does Autonomous know about you?
This funny, tense, action-packed thriller combines topical social-media-privacy stakes with jaw-dropping high-tech action for a road trip saga like no other.
This is being marketed as “funny” and to 14+
First up – there is NOTHING “funny” in this book and it’s BEYOND inappropriate for a 14 yr old. Note to Marketing Team: you need to rethink that.
Up front I’ll tell you I went in with the idea that this being a book from the Disney Group it was going to be a certain kind of book; the kind I could safely recommend to the parents I know for their teens and to my local library to consider adding.
At this point it has become more of one I wouldn’t let my teen read until he was older and I would tell any other adult to check it out for themselves to decide if they think their son/daughter is capable of handling the material.
To say I was surprised this came from Disney is a HUGE understatement. Honestly if it wasn’t being promoted by them and didn’t have a cover that made you think of the outline of the Magic Kingdom that goes before all their movies I might not have such a huge problem with it. I just think that the combo is going to make people, like I did, think the material is suitable for a wider range of audience than it actually is.
- There’s TONS of cussing that starts off right away so you could get drunk making a drinking game out of it before you’re even 1/3 of the way through the book.
- Speaking of drinking: LOTS of underage drinking, as in these kids aren’t even in college yet and they’re playing drinking games like Never have I ever.
- Sex between ‘consenting’ teenagers and mutual agreement to “take each other’s virginity”.
- Cocaine being used like it’s no big deal because Sherlock Holmes & Freud used it per this book. Pills and Shrooms galore.
- A trip into a drug den AKA Meth Lab run by near dead brainless druggies who have a gun and are the poster boys for the Anti-Gun movement – way to go to give those people more ammunition in their cause to rid the world of weapons.
- Cutting and suicide issues are brought up but never addressed in a healthy way.
It felt like the author was using these 4 teenagers and a driverless car to work out some deep seated issues as it’s just one long therapy inducing journey.
There is the fun of what a driverless car could be like, lots of social media interaction and the consequences of having such a dependent society on it. Pseudo warnings of the overreach of technology into our lives.
I can see teenagers getting into this but that may not be a good thing.
Thank you to Netgalley and Disney Book Group for allowing me to review this book.
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*synopsis and pic from netgalley.com