by Alma Alexander
Review by Gayle Surrette
HarperTeen Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780060839604
Date: 01 February 2009 List Price $8.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
[NOTE: We're re-running our review from the March 2008 issue.]
Thea saved the word from Nothing in Worldweavers: Gift of the Unmage and she has to save it again -- this time from spam. Someone has figured out how to send spells as spam and it's set off by just reading the email. Computers aren't supposed to be able to do magic in her universe -- so how can it be stopped?
The first spellspam promised clear skin. Unfortunately, the student who read the spam immediately looked like the Visible Woman toy or those "muscles of the human body" posters in biology class. On the surface, the spam looked innocent enough, but once read the results were not so benign. And, it was spreading and becoming more dangerous.
Thea and her friends convince the headmaster that indeed they do know what's going on and they can help. But can they identify the sender? Thea insists it isn't her and we, the readers, know it can't be; but only Thea can do magic with computers.
Once again, Alexander gives us a story that is engaging, complex, and filled with young people who must face decisions and actions that will impact them for the rest of their lives. Once teens only had to worry about graduating from high school, but in this rapidly changing world, they are daily faced with some pretty tough choices. At Thea's age I found reading books a way to see how other people behaved in difficult situations -- a sort of nonthreatening way to see actions and consequences.
While the story is fraught with the problems of teens taking those first steps into adulthood, it's also well-written, sometimes humorous, and yet deals with the serious issues that arise when your choices can and do affect the lives of others -- and making no choice is still a choice.