Virtual Life of Lexie Diamond

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Lexie Diamond loves her computer. She loves to surf the Web more than anything else--and to the exclusion of a social life. Beyond being just a computer geek, Lexie has developed a unique philosophy that the essential truth about life is found on the Internet, which she navigates with the expertise and finesse of a true believer.

Then a tragic accident rocks Lexie's cyber-driven world and forces her to navigate the real world after all. With the aid of an unexpected ally--her ...

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Overview

Lexie Diamond loves her computer. She loves to surf the Web more than anything else--and to the exclusion of a social life. Beyond being just a computer geek, Lexie has developed a unique philosophy that the essential truth about life is found on the Internet, which she navigates with the expertise and finesse of a true believer.

Then a tragic accident rocks Lexie's cyber-driven world and forces her to navigate the real world after all. With the aid of an unexpected ally--her first actual friend--not only is Lexie drawn into a mystery surrounding the accident, but she discovers more magic in the Web than she ever dreamed possible.

Along the way Lexie's beliefs are challenged, her family is turned upside down, and her future is threatened. In this visionary tour de force by a promising new novelist, Lexie must decide what is real and what is virtual: Her life depends on it.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Cindy L. Carolan
Hard to pigeonhole, this young adult novel is part mystery, part teenage angst/coming-of-age, part tragedy; in essence, it tries to be everything—and generally succeeds. The fourteen-year-old protagonist Lexie Diamond is obsessed with computers. She has an entire ritual she goes through each time she boots up her beloved Mac (named "Ajna-Mac"). Her best friend (who she only knows by his/her screen name) lives in cyberspace. She even thinks about reality in literal terms of virtual reality! When a horrific event claims the life of her mother, Lexie has to reach out of this protected environment while simultaneously delving deeper inside it searching for answers (to questions that include: was her mother's death accidental or not, is her father's new girlfriend evil, and will she ever determine the real identity of her best pal?). Lexie's character will appeal to tweens as well as older readers as she is insecure, fiercely loyal, quirky, committed, wry, fallible, and overall immensely likable. Unpredictable in many refreshing ways, this book is not only entertaining but thought provoking, and emphasizes that the basic language of life, virtual or otherwise, is belief in oneself. This is the author's first novel; she is also an actress. Highly recommended.
KLIATT - Janis Flint-Ferguson
Lexie Diamond is a computer geek. She spends her time on her computer and feels there is a special energy and relationship that she shares with it. Her mother wants her to get more involved in school and so Lexie tells her mother that she has been elected president of the Lincoln Middle School's Virtual Club. In fact, she is just trying to get her mother off her back. But then Lexie's mother is killed in a car crash and Lexie must deal with her father, who has now moved back in, her father's new girlfriend, and the guilt of having lied to her mother. As she sets out to ease her guilt, she strikes up a friendship with the real president of the Virtual Club, Zoe Lushing. The two are an unlikely pair, but Zoe shares an unusual computer program with Lexie, which ultimately lets her communicate with her mother. Through the flow of waves and energy, Lexie learns that the accident was no accident. With Zoe's help she tracks down the likely suspect and the motive for the crash. The style of the novel is a clever mix of e-mails, Lexie's vivid imagination, and the eerie sense that soul and spirit may be caught up in computer energy. Lexie is not always a likable character and she is particularly cruel in her relationship with her father—who had been divorced from her mother. But in the end, the unlikely Zoe proves to be a strong ally, helping Lexie learn to appreciate the father she thinks she hates and the life he is trying to rebuild.
VOYA - Leslie Carter
Fourteen-year-old Lexie's life is turned upside down when her mother's car is struck by a drunk driver and her mother is killed. Lexie has always felt more comfortable communicating with her computer than with the people around her, but her mother's death hits her hard. When her divorced father moves back into the house, Lexie thinks that she can learn to cope with her loss, but when he begins dating again, she finds herself unable to accept this new person. In a surrealistic twist, Lexie's mother visits her from cyberspace and tells Lexie that her death was not an accident. Slowly Lexie begins to gather clues, which culminate with the realization that her father's new girlfriend is a sociopathic killer. Young computer geeks will identify with Lexie and her close connection with her Mac. Children of divorce and those who have lost a parent will also empathize with her. The characters are mostly believable, especially Lexie, and the plot is well paced. Lexie's finding her dead mother in a computer program moves the novel into science fiction rather than fiction, but most readers will accept the twist with little problem. It would have been a better story if it had not been so predictable.
School Library Journal

Gr 7 & Up - Tales of technology opening gateways to different realms of existence are nothing new, but Foyt's debut novel finds a distinct voice. For Lexie, the connections she makes online are more meaningful than anything in real life, which she refers to as "The Bubble." The sudden death of her mother in a hit-and-run and her father's subsequent relationship with a mysterious woman cause the teen to retreat deeper into cyberspace, where she discovers what appears to be a bridge to the afterlife. She creates a Web page for her mother and struggles to maintain contact with her, and her mother convinces her that her death was not an accident. Lexie's internal dialogue and unique spiritual perspective make her a fascinating central character, but her habit of using computer metaphors to describe everything may turn off less techno-savvy readers, e.g., " . . . her father had already wiped her mother's icon off the Family Desktop and replaced it with Jane's."-Christi Voth, Parker Library, CO

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
Following a fairly familiar course until its sudden closing twist, this debut from actor/screenwriter Foyt tracks a teenager's grief after her mother's sudden death, and her stubborn resistance to the new woman with whom her father has quickly taken up. Lexie may be a true computer geek, as well as a classic outsider whose only confidante (at the outset, at least) is an online buddy whose real identity will quickly become obvious to readers, but she also has an uncommon ability to read people. That ability tells her that there's something not quite right about the perky, capable and seemingly friendly Jane. Foyt writes in a third-person, not-quite-stream-of-consciousness style that drags rather than propels the story, but in Lexie she creates an appealingly sullen adolescent to whom cyberspace is the key to a realer Reality than the "Bubble" in which everyone else is trapped, and she keeps readers guessing about Lexie's suspicions until the very end. Readers will also wonder until the climax whether Lexie's online conversations with her mother and other souls are real or imaginary-real, as it turns out, and a setup for possible sequels. Lexie is no Holden Caulfield, but mildly alienated teens may find her a kindred spirit. (Fantasy. YA)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060825638
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/13/2007
  • Pages: 320
  • Age range: 13 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 850L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

Victoria Foyt is an accomplished screenwriter and actress. In collaboration with independent filmmaker Henry Jaglom, she has cowritten and starred in the critically acclaimed feature films Babyfever, Last Summer in the Hamptons, DÉjÀ Vu, and Going Shopping. She graduated from the University of Miami in her hometown of Coral Gables, Florida, and now lives in Santa Monica, California, with her two children and a golden Labrador puppy. This is her first book.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Lexie began her Access Ritual in anticipation of entering realms of unimaginable freedom. With a light touch, she placed her index finger on the power button on her old Macintosh desktop computer, which she called "Ajna-Mac." Then she touched the spot in between her eyebrows—the ajna chakra point, or psychic opening, which was her computer's namesake. Three times, gently back and forth, Lexie touched the button and her forehead until she experienced the familiar, gradual detachment from the external world. She was entering the domain of pure thought, and her body seemed to float underneath her.

At last she turned the computer on, and as the green button on Ajna-Mac's hard drive shone as bright as a magic emerald crystal, she felt the addictive surge of energy run through her. Lexie was Ajna-Mac's devoted disciple, and her worship began with the electronic sound of a simple prayer that invoked her master's presence—"Go ahead. Make my day!"

She went online, and as her modem rang out, she glanced at the three purple-haired Iggy dolls that were glued to the top of her computer and imagined them singing: beep, la, bee-beep, la, la. It was a sound that never failed to please Lexie—a chant to the e-gods: Let me in, let me in, I belong on the Web!

Only one thing distracted her: the gift sitting on her desk. The note on top read:

Congratulations, Madame President!
I'm so proud of you.
Love, Mom

It had been a justifiable lie, Lexie reassured herself. For God's sake, her mother had threatened to restrict her computer time if she didn't improve her "social profile atschool." At first Lexie had only told her she'd joined the computer club (in fact, she'd attended one meeting, during which she'd played video games by herself). But that had failed to please her mom—"Do they have virtual meetings?" Finally Lexie had had to amp up the lie: "Well, I'm president of the club—is that good enough?" Apparently it was. Beaming with pride, her mother had repeated Lexie's new title several times: President of the Virtual Club. Since the elections were still a few weeks away, however, Lexie feared her mother might see the campaign posters at school and bust her.

She understood that her mother, like all parents, hoped to control her by attacking the only thing that Lexie really cared about. It was a humiliating loop. In the beginning, parents would encourage you to get more and more involved in a hobby or sport, once they realized that you liked it or maybe even had some talent for it. They'd go out of their way to support this special interest (Lexie's mother had bought her tons of CD-ROMs). You thought these expressions of parental approval meant they truly understood that a sacred trust had been formed around the one thing that you could claim as your own in this unjust world into which you did not ask to be born. You were absolutely sure of this. And then one day—an unforgivable betrayal—your parents began to use it against you! Whenever that happened, you were entitled to lie, cheat, steal—whatever it took to protect it.

She slumped in her desk chair and opened the present. A power booster! She itched to load the high-capacity RAM chip into Ajna-Mac but held it in her hand for a moment, considering her options. If she kept it, she was obligated to make good on her lie. She would have no choice but to run for president of the Virtual Club. But Lexie would rather spend the rest of her miserable life locked in her room than run for public office. That would require dealing with people. The other choice was equally dismal: return the gift, confess, and suffer the disastrous consequences.

Before she could decide between two treacherous fates, her cell phone rang. Mom's cell. Lexie put the call on speakerphone. At least she could surf the Web while they talked. Who knew how much longer she'd be free?

Her mother's soft voice filled the room. "Hi, sweetheart. I'm driving home."

Lexie mumbled something that passed for hello.

"Did you make any official decisions today, Miss President?" Her mother laughed to herself, and Lexie cringed.

"Um, no, no decisions," she said.

"Perhaps you'd like to invite the club members over for a party."

Lexie broke out in a cold sweat. "I think that's against the rules."

"Oh, pity. I guess it's not an egalitarian approach; not everyone can afford to throw a party."

"Yeah, not egalitarian." Lexie fingered the new booster, her conscience teetering back and forth.

"Show me the club handbook, sweetie. Perhaps I can come up with an idea or two."

Ugh! Lexie didn't want to be in a stupid club or spend any more of her precious energy lying about it, either! This was just another one of Earth's Alien Masters' sick jokes. She resented being trapped just because her poor mother was impressed by the illusory icons that they dangled in front of people's screens in order to distract them from the truth: Earthlings lived in an unreal Bubble.

It was a clever trick. Fixated on the screen of their lives and the enticing programs that ran on it—hip clothes, report cards, money, cool friends, club presidencies—average humans never even thought about the mechanics behind the whole system. But Lexie suspected that Peeping Tom aliens, amused by their cute little fishbowl humans, had long ago constructed a blue globe around this virtual world in order to prevent people from freaking out over their unreal, petlike existence. In fact, this Bubble was designed to make you forget that you were just an insignificant speck on a big dust ball spinning in the Milky Way among billions of galaxies.

Only online, traveling within the oneness of it all, did Lexie feel at peace with being just another icon inside some Great Geek's cosmic Game Boy. Any day now she expected to see the news posted online by physicists: Life as we knew it was fake, totally fake.

Once again she was forced to lie. "Um, webrider is sending me some tips on how to run a club," she said.

The Virtual Life of Lexie Diamond. Copyright © by Victoria Foyt. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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  • Posted November 18, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Mark Frye, author and reviewer for TeensReadToo.com

    THE VIRTUAL LIFE OF LEXIE DIAMOND is a suspenseful "whodunit" from actress and screenwriter Victoria Foyt, a first novel that effectively covers a wide gamut of emotional ground. <BR/><BR/>Fourteen-year-old Lexie copes with alienation at school and her divorced parents' disappointment with her computer-driven life. When her mother is killed in a mysterious car crash, Lexie finds credible evidence of foul play and is forced to adapt, change, and grow as person in order to follow the clues. <BR/><BR/>Lexie's suspicions grow as her father's fiancé shows her dark side after a series of private confrontations, actions which drive Lexie to make contact with her mother in cyberspace. To further complicate her life, Lexie must learn to trust people in "real time;" both her hunky neighbor and a popular "diva" at school, both of whom wish to be her friend. <BR/><BR/>Foyt adroitly welds the ether world of cyberspace with many common teen issues in both of Lexie's worlds. Her teen protagonist must use her strengths and weaknesses to solve the mystery of her mother's death and to save her father. As a result, the author has created a compelling character and an electrifying story that will hold younger readers until the last page.

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