Virtual Life of Lexie Diamondby Victoria Foyt
Then a tragic accident rocks
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.
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, COCopyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Read an Excerpt
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.
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.
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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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.
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.
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.
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.