If You, Then Me

Katherine Tegen/HarperCollins/. Jul. 2021. 416p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780063008649.
Gr 8 Up–Silicon Valley meets high school romance in this original novel. Xia Chan is a coding wiz and she has developed an app called Wiser which mimics an older version of herself that gives her advice. The only child of a Taiwanese immigrant, Xia is lonely and confides often with a boy on a programmer’s chat page. When Xia earns a scholarship to go to a prestigious tech school in California, she thinks her dreams have come true and she’ll learn in the mecca for coders and developers. However, she quickly realizes that Silicon Valley is a male-dominated, cutthroat environment where all bets are off until tech visionary and mogul Mitzy Erst takes her under her wing. The fact that she is falling for classmate Mast but has feelings for her online friend complicates things even further. Can Xia stay true to herself or will she be swept away by a competitive world she barely understands? This novel starts slow but quickly picks up pace. Xia is a well-developed character whose arc is believable for a 16-year-old. This book explores friendships, love interests, and struggles in the world of tech prodigies. Readers will see what it takes to persevere.
VERDICT An inspiring story of grit and resilience, ideal for students thinking of what lies ahead right after high school.

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