Talk about a birthday gone bad! On her seventeenth birthday, Pandora Walker receives an unexpected birthday greeting from her long estranged father. There are links to twelve childhood photos. She clicks the links and copies the photos so she can print them at Walgreens.
When Pandora gets home from school that afternoon she eagerly tries to log onto the linked sites, but they are gone. Soon the only thing ANYONE can get to on the web is Pandora’s Box, a virtual reality game that predicts the of the end of the world in 10 days.
Clicking on the links that morning was a BIG mistake, because it unleashes worldwide computer network crashes—not just the Internet, but anything even remotely connected to it, including landline phones, cell phones, electricity, water, nuclear power plants….
Pandora goes to her neighbors, Theo and Eli, hot new students at her high school, to see if they’re having trouble with their computers. Oh, yes, they are. Returning from a harrowing automobile crash, caused by malfunctioning stoplights with GREEN in all directions, Pandora and the guys discover that her house is swarming with cops. The boys quietly leave, and Pandora is seriously and roughly interrogated by Homeland Security, the FBI, and others. Pandora’s computer has been identified as the source for the worldwide computer worm.
When the boys rescue her, they begin a wild trek across country to figure out how to solve Pandora’s Box online, using clues from the photos Pandora printed, her memory, and clues in the game itself. This can’t-put-it-down adventure sees the trio stealing cars, escaping from motorcycle gangs, watching the breakdown of society, staying just ahead of the authorities, and trying to stay alive long enough to solve the game and STOP the end of the world.
Look for Doomed at your Virginia Beach Public Library. You may also enjoy these other novels featuring characters dealing with virtual reality and computer games. Each approaches virtual reality in a different way: Erebos: It’s a Game, It Watches You by Ursula Poznanski, Deadly Pink by Vivian Vande Velde, and the now classic Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.