Eighteen-year-old Blanca has lived a sheltered life. Her entire childhood has been spent at Tabula Rasa School where she’s been protected from the Internet. Blanca has never been online and doesn’t even know how to text. Her lack of a virtual footprint has made her extremely valuable and upon graduation Blanca, and those like her, are sold to the highest bidders. Blanca is purchased by Cal McNeal, who uses her to achieve personal gain. But the McNeal’s are soon horrified by just how obedient and non-defiant Blanca is. All those mind-numbing years locked away from society have made her mind almost impenetrable. By the time Blanca is ready to think for herself, she is trapped. Her only chance of escape is to go online.
About the Author
Jennifer Bardsley is the creator of the blog Teaching My Baby to Read and the writer of the “I Brake for Moms” column for The Daily Herald. She lives in Edmonds, Washington.
Read an Excerpt
Blank Slate: Book 2
By Jennifer Bardsley
Month9BooksCopyright © 2017 Jennifer Bardsley
All rights reserved.
All I smell is leather. Seth's arms are around my back, his hands tangled in my long brown hair. My lips devour his, hungry for contact. Beyond us a seagull cries and soars above the waves of Santa Cruz beach.
If I kiss Seth hard enough, my scars fade into oblivion. Barbelo Nemo and his mind control tricks. My childhood spent in seclusion at Tabula Rasa, hidden from the Internet. I slide my fingers underneath Seth's jacket against the stickiness of his shirt. I begin to undo a button.
"Whoa, Blanca." Seth pulls my hands away. "We're not the only people in the parking lot."
I look to the left and right of the rest stop. Strangers are everywhere. "Since when did you care about what other people think?"
"Since I started dating a Vestal."
I pull back and look out at the cliffs. "I'm not a Vestal anymore. You know that." I feel the antique chip-watch on my wrist. Seth's dad, Cal, gave it to me as a present after my platinum cuff was removed. Once a Vestal is de-cuffed, they are expelled from the Brethren.
"So those tourists snapping our picture don't bother you?" Seth motions to a small crowd a few cars over.
I look to where he points, and the flash of thumb-cameras blinds me. Vestals must never have their pictures taken by random people. That privilege belongs to the companies that purchase them and market a Vestal's privacy one advertisement at a time. I reach by instinct, to protect my face from the public. "I'm fine with it," I lie, pulling my hands down. "But we better leave now or we'll be late to the restaurant."
"My dad can wait a few minutes." Seth scoops me into his arms.
"Blanca!" one of the spectators calls. "And Veritas Rex! Is that really you?"
Seth holds up his hand and wiggles his finger-chips. "The one and only!" Then he dips me back for a kiss.
I stiffen like cardboard. "Stop it," I mumble, trying not to squirm. All I can think about is the cameras, my face flashed worldwide, and weirdoes slobbering over my private moment with Seth. "We've got to go or we'll be late."
Seth kisses my nose. "I didn't know you were so punctual."
"Yes." I pull myself out of his grasp. "Cal's waiting." The sooner I put my helmet on and get back on my motorcycle, the better.
"Blanca," a man calls as we ride away. "I love you! I've watched you all year!"
Underneath my jacket, I shiver. The fame that surrounds me is chilling.
A few miles of pavement put me in a better mood. The day is radiant, perfect for riding our bikes from Silicon Valley over to the coast and back. It's our favorite weekend ritual. Seth cruises next to me on his motorcycle with the lion-headed cobra painted on the side, and I zoom along beside him in head-to-toe white.
The speed rushing over me tastes of freedom. When we shift into high gear, I can forget — for a moment — that three months ago I was a captive at the Plemora compound in Nevada. The memory of my mother's face exploding gets sucked away.
But not for long.
* * *
The restaurant Cal picked is smothered in shadows. Candles in glass jars at each table are the only source of a hazy glow. As I walk by, other patrons stare at me.
Their whispers don't surprise me. Seeing a Vestal in public is unheard of, and I'm the most famous Vestal in history, with the exception of Barbelo, my birth father.
But "father" isn't a word I use to describe my tormentor. I don't think of Ms. Lydia as my mother either, not usually. The closest thing I have to a real parent is Cal McNeal, who paid thirty-two million dollars to purchase me from Tabula Rasa, the school Barbelo founded fifty-one years ago with the ostensible purpose of shielding students from the Internet. Barbelo's real objective was to create a network of Vestals in key positions. Spies all over the world who were devoted to him.
Cal waits for us at the table, a smile on his tan face. His hair is long around the ears. I need to remind him to trim it. Cal wears his usual tweed jacket with soft brown patches on the elbows. He stands up when we reach the table and hugs us both. "Enjoy your ride, you two?"
"From the mountains to the beach." Seth slides into the booth. He pulls off his jacket and exposes forearms covered with ink. Seth also has tattoos on his face, the most prominent of which is the lion-headed cobra. That snake was the first thing about Seth I noticed. A year ago, he snuck into Tabula Rasa, took my picture days before graduation, and posted it on Veritas Rex. Seth is a viral blogger who does anything to snag a story even if it involves breaking the law.
My own skin is pure white. I've been a consummate rule follower my entire life, with a few notable exceptions. Remaining unmarred by ink or technology tops the Vestal code. It's a hard habit to break.
Cal passes me the bread basket. "So, Blanca, I heard from my friend at Stanford today, and I've got good news."
"Yes?" I take a deep whiff of the yeasty aroma and push the basket over to Seth without taking a piece.
Cal spreads a thick slab of butter on his slice. "I told the dean about your special circumstance. That you've been out of school for a year but graduated top of your class."
Seth chokes on his water. "Top of her class? You mean she was auctioned off to the highest bidder at the Vestal Harvest."
"Exactly," Cal says. "Blanca, you're Tabula Rasa's version of a valedictorian. I told the dean that you had a classical education from a different era and that you were being tutored in science and technology so that you'd catch up in STEM by matriculation."
Eagerness glides over me. Six months ago, when Cal suggested college, I thought he was joking. I dismissed the idea without consideration. But since I returned from Nevada I've made attending college one of my primary goals.
It's not that I don't love being the face of McNeal Solar. Every time I see a billboard featuring me, I get tingles. But representing McNeal Solar and actually understanding how solar power works are two different things. I don't want to be a token bobblehead. I want to be a real engineer who designs power systems and imagines new inventions.
Cal wants to help me achieve that dream. Seth is so committed to Veritas Rex that there's no way he'll work for his dad's company. But maybe someday I'll join the McNeal Solar board of directors and people will respect my opinion. It'll be another way I can be Cal's daughter. I'll become his intellectual heir.
"What did the dean say?" My knees shake with excitement until I tense my muscles.
Cal puts down his butter knife. "He knows who you are, of course. He watched the news story unfold along with the rest of the world when you were kidnapped."
"And?" I toy with my napkin.
Cal smiles. "Given the special circumstances, he agreed to let you take a private entrance exam with a panel of professors ten weeks from now."
"Yay!" I lean across the booth and hug Cal tight, my face brushing the scratchy fabric of his blazer.
"Awesome, Dad," says Seth. "How the hell did you pull that off? I've never heard of Stanford admitting a student like that before."
"Well, that's because they've never had a Vestal apply. Plus, it helps that a dorm is named after your mother, Seth. Being a large donor has its perks."
Cal's wife, Sophia, was an anthropology professor at Stanford until she died of the Brain Cancer Epidemic when Seth was seventeen. It was decades before the world realized cell phones caused cancer. Sophia was one of many victims. Before she died, her life work had been researching Barbelo Nemo and the Vestal order he created.
"Mom would have been thrilled to have you as a student," Seth tells me. "She'd probably follow you around and take notes on your well-being."
"To your mother, then!" I lift up my water glass.
"To Mom," Seth answers.
Cal holds up his glass of wine. "To Sophia, a three-way toast."
"Smile, McNeals." A guy with greasy black hair and an ugly smirk holds up finger-chips in our faces. "What a touching moment." The flash pops.
I drop my glass, and water drowns the tablecloth.
"Veritas Rex and his Vestal girlfriend. Gotcha!" Another loser creeps up too. The fact that they're both frantically typing into the air makes me assume they're viral paparazzi, uploading us straight to the net.
"Get out of here," Seth growls, chucking bread at their faces.
A rounded man with a balding head rushes over. "Is there a problem?" He turns to the paparazzi. "I am the maître d' of this establishment, and I will notify the police unless you leave this instant."
Seth pelts them with more bread. The one with greasy hair catches a piece and crams some in his mouth. "Thanks, Rex," he mumbles through crumbs. "See you around."
Several waiters rush over to pick up bread and clear off our wet tablecloth. "I sincerely apologize, Ms. Blanca. I don't know how those Viruses got in." The maître d' uses the derogatory term for viral bloggers, the one that Headmaster Russell taught me at Tabula Rasa.
"It's not your fault. Viruses are hard to shake." I slide my foot underneath the table and brush my leg against Seth's.
"They must have seen your white outfit." The maître d' tugs his collar.
"It's okay." I nod. "I'm used to it." I wave off his offer of a meal on the house, but he insists.
Later, over cheeseburgers, Cal brings up my wardrobe again. "You know, you don't need to wear white anymore, unless you enjoy the attention."
"Of course I don't want the attention!"
"Then why not change things up a bit?" Cal asks. "Shop for new clothes. Try to blend in."
I look at Seth for support, but he nods in agreement with his father. "Fatima wears colors now," Seth adds, "and she's still a Vestal."
I picture my best friend, Fatima. The last time I saw her she wore a silky green dress from her fashion house and looked like a snake that had swallowed a watermelon. Six months pregnant, her figure still says "babe." Tomorrow night is Fatima and Beau's engagement party.
I, on the other hand, am the proverbial girl next door. Brown hair, green eyes, and clear skin. Back at Tabula Rasa, they said I had a face that could sell soap. "I don't want to be a Vestal. I'm a McNeal now. But wearing color seems wrong."
"It's not just the clothes." Seth's finger-chips buzz, and he flicks them off. "The only time you leave the house is with me or Dad."
"That's not true!" I insist. "I went to the soundstage last week to shoot a McNeal Solar ad."
"True," Cal admits. "But it's what a Vestal would do."
"What's that supposed to mean? Don't you want me as the face of McNeal Solar?" My stomach feels bubbly, like I ate too many French fries.
"Of course I do, sweetheart. I love your campaign for my company." Cal reaches out and pats my hand. "We're concerned about you though. We want you to get out there and make new friends."
I turn and glare at Seth. "This is about the other night, isn't it? You're still mad because I wouldn't go to that club with you, so you got your dad to take your side."
Seth stares at me hard. "It's not just the other night. It's all the time. Your world is so tiny that it's unhealthy."
"College is a big step," Cal says, "in terms of academics, forming new friendships, and learning to mingle."
"I meet lots of people! I've made a ton of friends online. Every time I write a new post for The Lighthouse, I get thousands of comments."
Seth looks at me with piercing brown eyes. "Blanca, you're new at this, but online friends are easier than people you meet face-to-face. It's a different type of interaction."
At that moment, a flash makes me jump. But it's not a Virus snatching my picture this time. It's a family in the corner taking a photograph of their kid. "Face-to-face can be scary," I say.
"Sometimes," Cal nods, "but not normally."
"Normal for me is different."
"Exactly our point," says Seth.
Cal leans forward in his seat. "We think it would be helpful if you could chat with someone to help you process all you've been through."
"You mean like a psychiatrist? You think I'm crazy?" I twist my chip-watch around and around my wrist where the cuff used to be.
Seth scoots closer and lowers his voice. "We don't think you're crazy. But some really shitty things have happened to you."
"You lost your mother," says Cal.
"Ms. Lydia wasn't my mother! I mean, she gave birth to me. That's it. What do I care what happened to her?"
"You must feel something," Cal says.
"I feel nothing."
"Then why are you talking so loud?" Seth asks.
I take a quick glance of the room and notice stares.
Our waiter rushes over. "Are you ready for dessert now?" he asks.
"Yes," Cal answers. "Please bring the menu."
"No, thank you." I squeeze my fists together, stress coursing through my body like lightening.
When the waiter leaves, Seth touches my elbow. "We've made an appointment for you."
"With Dr. Meredith," Cal says. "A therapist."
"You want me to tell my private secrets to a total stranger?" I speak with a steadied calm while a storm builds inside me.
"She's not a stranger, Blanca. Seth and I started seeing Dr. Meredith when you were kidnapped."
My heartbeat is ragged. "You told her about me? You shared my private life with an outsider?"
"Of course not." Seth's dark hair sticks up in wild tufts on his head. "Dad and I had our own stuff to work out. You know I spent five years mistakenly thinking Dad cheated on my mom."
Cal flinches. "And you have your issues too, Blanca."
I swallow hard. I reach over and stroke my white leather jacket. Maybe I should get up and go. Ride back to McNeal Manor on my motorcycle. But that would mean going someplace by myself. The last time I rode off into the night, my good friend Ethan was killed and Ms. Lydia kidnapped me.
"Sometimes being an adult means doing things you don't want to do," says Cal.
"I'll drive you to your appointment next week, if that helps," Seth offers.
"No way," I say. "I don't need that type of care."
I can do this if I try hard enough.
I stand up and pick up my jacket. "Thank you for dinner," I snarl.
But as I turn to go, I walk smack into dark suits. The man is six feet three, every inch of him as sharp as his buzz-cut hair. The woman is my height, about five feet five, with silver stud earrings.
"Blanca Nemo?" The woman has a steady voice. Both of them hold up their palms to flash electronic badges. "Agents Plunkett and Marlow with the FBI. We need to bring you in for questioning."
"What the hell?" Seth leaps to his feet.
"Blanca?" Cal springs up. "What's this about?"
"I don't know." I shoot him a frightened look the agents can't see.
"Don't say anything without a lawyer. Okay, sweetheart?" Cal types at his chip-watch. "Hold tight until Nancy gets there."
"Come on, Ms. Nemo." The male agent grabs my arm. "Our car is outside."
"Ouch! Not so tight!"
"Her name's not Nemo," Seth shouts. "It's Blanca McNeal." He and Cal hurry after us into the night where a black sedan is waiting.
I turn to look at the McNeals one more time. Seth towers over Cal whose face is twisted with worry.
I smile wanly as the agents shove me into the backseat of the car.
The irony kills. I'm going someplace without them after all.CHAPTER 2
I force a full breath into my lungs. After my imprisonment in Nevada, small spaces grate on my nerves. The two large mirrors make the room seem bigger. But I've read enough of Cal's detective novels to assume these are actually one-way windows.
I feel like a butterfly, pinned down for display.
Agent Marlow sits in front of me, his gigantic frame overwhelming a plastic chair. His biceps look like they could crack walnuts. Agent Plunkett, by contrast, is petite. She has ladybugs tattooed on her left hand that walk across her knuckles. Her boyish hairstyle looks youthful, but she has wrinkles around her eyes.
"Let the record show," Agent Plunkett says as she clicks her finger-chips to record the interrogation, "that the subject refused to speak until her lawyer was present."
"You know," says Agent Marlow in a kind tone. "You're not in any trouble. You can answer a few of our questions. There's no need for a lawyer."
I look down at my wrist and don't respond. The first thing they did when they brought me into the brick FBI building was take away my chip-watch for "safekeeping."
"We won't access your accounts," said the agent who sealed off my watch in a special box. "This is standard protocol for being escorted into a federal building. Most people hauled in get the lead-lined mitts. We can't let their finger-chips make trouble."
Naked skin taunts me. First my cuff and now my watch.
Excerpted from Damaged Goods by Jennifer Bardsley. Copyright © 2017 Jennifer Bardsley. Excerpted by permission of Month9Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Alright let me just say...This book was awesome! I've really been into dystopian and futuristic novels lately and this one is the icing on the cake! I can totally relate to social media and leaving your digital footprint. It's something I've been learning in class for a while. So this story was very interesting, getting to see someone who hasn't left anything! I also did not expect to find romance, but so glad I did. What's good book without romance? I found myself connecting with the characters and I got really involved in the thrilling and mysterious plot! Good read, and great author!
I was immediately intrigued by the idea of GENESIS GIRL at first glance. I, for one, am attached to my iphone pretty much every waking hour, so the idea of someone having absolutely no virtual footprint, never having been online at all, was, to say the least, pretty interesting to me. You see, after the iphone cancer-causing epidemic that occurred, families decided to start a safe school where children would be raised away from the internet. There, they grew up to be Vestals, a person with no virtual footprint, and were considered to be very valuable. At a certain age they would be auctioned off to the highest bidder, where they would leave the school and go to live with that person for the remainder of their days. What was even more intriguing to me was the way these characters were raised. Blanca, a Vestal raised in this fashion, had no idea what she wanted on a daily basis, never mind for her future, or even how to make her own decisions. She looked to her purchaser to make every decision in her life, down to the way she acts and responds to situations, and even what she could or could not say to others in a simple conversation. I have to admit GENESIS GIRL started off a bit slow for me, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about this world of Blanca’s. I, for the most part, am not a sci-fi reader though, so I continued on with the hopes of my getting more invested… and that I did! I really enjoyed the way the story progressed, how Blanca’s life changed so much, and even the relationships that were formed between the other characters. Blanca also achieved a great level of personal growth throughout this time, which was quite fulfilling to witness. Blanca’s purchaser, Cal, paid millions for Blanca and planned to use her for a very different reason than she expected. Rather than helping to sell soap as expected, Cal wanted Blanca to try to get his son, Seth, to come back home and talk to him. Seth, you see, was the complete opposite of Blanca. He was internet-addicted and ran a blog that focused on outing Vestals. He went so far as to post a picture of Blanca on the internet without her permission. Blanca had a tough time relating to Seth and his internet-obsessed ways, but soon she found herself becoming more and more interested in him in a romantic sense. She refused, however, to admit this… unless, of course, Cal told her to. Even when it came to her feelings for others, she couldn’t act on them or even speak them without Cal telling her to. Can you image living like that?? I think I’d go all crazy-pants!! GENESIS GIRL was such an entertaining and unique story. I loved Jennifer Bardsley imaginative take on this futuristic world Blanca lived in. An imaginative, thought-provoking and fast-paced read that will leave you eagerly awaiting book two! * Thank you to LovingDemBooks Bookstagram Tours & Jennifer Bardsley for including me in the bookstagram tour that’s scheduled for later this month, as well as for sending me a finished copy of Genesis Girl. *
Genesis Girl is a roller coaster from start to finish. It has been a long time since I have been kept awake by a book. If you are looking for something new and exciting to read in YA- then Genesis girl will not dissappoint.
Main character Blanca is considered highly valuable because of her lack of a digital footprint, thus making her the perfect Vestal for corporate advertising. But as she nears graduation and a viral blogger snaps her photograph, Blanca’s post-graduation life suddenly takes a turn into a direction she wasn’t expecting. As Blanca calls into question her own identity and searches for answers to her own truth, she also connects with a love interest for just the right amount of swoon. I loved the message about the dangers of technology in this clever sci-fi and I look forward to the next book in this series.
A fascinating premise where a sect (cult?) of youth are raised entirely without technology in future world where many in the population have been wiped out from various cancers, and the rest have finger chip access to the online world. This reminded me quite a bit of the Joss Whedon-created TV series Dollhouse (that sadly lasted only 2 short seasons back in 2009-2010) where people are engineered commodities to serve as some sort of fetish for those who can afford it. The pacing in Genesis Girl is fast with dark but age-appropriate undertones. This is definitely gateway sci-fi for younger readers. I can see this book as being of interest to fans of The 100, Divergent, or the MILA 2.0 book series.
This book has a unique concept that stands out in a sea of young adult dystopia. A terrifying world where most of society is addicted to being online and cell phones cause cancer. In a way the premise reminded me (and terrified me) as much as The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Blanca is a virgin vestal – pure from all online evil, making her very attractive to the highest bidder to use her for advertising. Yet Blanca finds herself in a very different plan, for a father to buy her for the purpose of reuniting him with his son. While this was somewhat hard to buy in the beginning considering the millions it cost him to buy her, the story ties into the end with much more behind her buyer’s plan (and I wish more seeds had been dropped along the way to anticipate all the tie ins that came suddenly). As Blanca navigates so many lies the truths about her come to life, helping her make choices she would never have considered. I enjoyed Blanca’s unique voice and to see her grow into her own person, not dictated by others and their voice. I really love when she finally finds her own voice and creates her own powerful mantra to push herself and become a true heroine, especially once after she struggled and flip-flopped with her desires and goals. I would have liked to see the buildup of the love interest have a stronger thread and wound through the story more to add to its powerful message as I didn’t get a sense there was a strong, consistent connection there. And there was so much to mine in this world visually and sensory-wise that could have enriched it but wasn’t fully explored. I yearned for more world building to intensify the story – perhaps in book 2! Overall, this story will pull you in and amaze and terrify you with possibilities that our world is not so far removed from. And I rooted for Blanca – felt her sorrow, her loss, her struggle, her blind faith – and will follow her into her next adventure! This story would make a great blockbuster teen dystopian movie with its unlikely romance, power struggles, villains to fear, oppression, and champions to cheer for.
GENESIS GIRL hooked me from the first page. I could not put this book down! I was intrigued by the premise of the story, by characters who were cloistered away from technology in order to help preserve society. The main character, Blanca, is a blank slate, kept pure of technology, and a “normal” understanding of the world. This makes for such an interesting character arc, and I loved following her journey of self-discovery as she learns to redefine ideas of independence, security, family, love, and purpose—all while the plot unfolds in exciting, fast-paced ways. Bardsley has created a compelling world that is unique but with elements (like tech-obsessed society) that bring some of its themes close to home. This was such an enjoyable read. I dog-eared so many pages where the writing or dialogue just grabbed hold of me. If I could give this book more than five stars I would. GENESIS GIRL is an intriguing and engaging debut. I look forward to the sequel . . .
This story takes our modern-day obsession and monetization of social media and flips it on its head. In Blanca's world, the most valuable commodity is privacy and the lack of an internet footprint. As a Vestal, she's remained "pure" and sold to the highest bidder. She's also been brainwashed into accepting such a fate. When she starts falling for a technophile paparazzi (AKA a Virus), things get complicated. To live a life where she's free to choose who to love and what to believe, she must find her own voice and claim her own power.
2.5 Stars I received this book from BookTube Tours in exchanged for an honest review. My video review will be up June 17 https://m.youtube.com/user/vizuetem I love the premise of Genesis Girl. The idea of a girl that has never been outside her school, has never been on the Internet, that doesn't even know how to text needs to use technology to help her escape some complicated situations is amazing. I went into this book with really high hopes but was a bit disappointed. When I read books I get into the characters head and I'm fully invested in the book but for this book I wasn't. I didn't connect to any of the characters except one and even then I still didn't care too much about him. There were times when the main character, Blanca, was going through some tough times and I know I'm supposed to feel bad for her but I just didn't care. This story had a lot of potential with the love interest and the villain but it felt like those plot points were just be chopped off. There's also a plot twist at the end of the book that for me was pretty easy to guess. That being said, it was an easy read and I am planning to continue with this series.
Aside from the intriguing premise, this book was just plain fun to read. The pacing was extraordinary. Blanca’s voice was fascinating. She started out as someone who’d been brainwashed. But, out in the non-Vestal world, she needed to learn to rely on her own instincts in order to survive. I’m also a huge fan of Jennifer Bardsley’s s writing style – her books are addictively readable. It was hard to put this book down and I found myself staying up late into the night to finish. Genesis Girl is a must read for 2016!
Wow! What a thrill ride! This novel was non-stop action from beginning to end! I loved this book so much! This book had a lot of truth to it in the virtual world that we live in today. So many people are plugged in to the internet today and live in a virtual reality world. Sometimes we forget to unplug ourselves and make time for the people and things that really matter in life. This novel makes you think about what''s really important. Our advanced technology and social media these days can be very useful if we use it correctly and as a tool for work and don't depend on it as the only means and form of communication. This fictional novel explores the way technology can effect us positively and negatively in our day to day in a way that feels very real in a lot of ways. It explores a world between the Vestals ( the unplugged) and the Virals (those plugged in). It is a story of personal freedom, and personal choice. One girl's story of fitting in, finding the truth, doing what is right. She has to figure out what is right in this futuristic world. Her choices will effect her one way or the other. She just needs to find the answers and figure out what is the truth. The chapters were paced out very well and the novel was easy to follow. The writing was fast-paced and left me on the edge of my seat the entire time. There were twists and turns. Some shocking moments that I didn't see coming. I loved the characters. They were each well thought out and all had their own unique personalities. This story pulled me in from the very beginning and I didn't want to put it down. This is easily one of those books I could have read in one sitting if I would have had the time. It was highly interesting and fun! It was unlike anything else I have ever read. A fantastic read! I would read this all over again. There was some romance in the story with a bit of a love triangle. Lots of twists and turns. So much fun! I would highly recommend this book to those who love a book that is fast-paced, has twists and turns, and romance thrown in.
The concept that was presented by Jennifer Bardsley in Genesis Girl was fairly interesting and caught my attention right away. I enjoyed the world she created in where a small group of people never use technology and therefore have no virtual footprint. Upon Blanca and her classmates of Tabula Rasa School's graduation they are sold off to bidders. The lack of a virtual footprint is appealing to companies because they get say over what gets shared of the Vestals and because of this they don't have to worry about any bad publicity attached to the people representing them and their products. When Blanca is purchased by an individual instead of a company she doesn't know what to think. But when Cal McNeal, her purchaser, realizes just how horrifyingly obedient Blanca is he is worried for her. Bardsley created a wonderful world and well developed characters. I was hooked very quickly and loved learning more about Blanca and the other characters but as I reached the 70% mark the storyline started to fall a little flat for me. I know that is probably the point that it got action packed for some readers but I felt as it was a little too predictable and drawn out and that is why I had to go with a 3 star rating instead of something higher. Overall Bardsley did a wonderful job with this book but parts of the ending just didn't work for me. I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Blanca’s been kept digitally pure her whole life – away from the internet, with no virtual identity. Her future depends on it, because she is days away from graduation, when her digital identity will be harvested by a corporation who will make her the face of its advertising. Vestals like Blanca are considered trustworthy by the public because they have no nasty real identity to detract from the products they pitch. But Blanca’s fate changes when a virus – a viral blogger – takes her picture and posts it online. Purchased by the blogger’s father in attempt to reunite with his son, Blanca is soon drawn into a world she never imagined – one where actual feelings, relationships, and choices matter. Her purchaser, Cal, turns out to be a decent guy who wants to give Blanca a real life, and when she falls in love with his son, she begins to question everything she has been taught. When Blanca tries to help her Vestal friends, she is drawn into secrets and lies that go back to the very founder of the Vestal order. But Blanca’s greatest struggle is internal, as she fights against years of conditioning to become her own person and save the people she loves. A fast-paced cautionary tale about the dangers of technology and the even more insidious dangers of extremism.
Genesis Girl grabbed my attention from the first time I'd heard about its unique premise: The main character holds the highest value in a technology-obsessed society because of her lack of an online footprint. I'm happy to say that the book did not disappoint. Bianca is a Vestal, a person who is raised to bear no digital footprint and keeps a clear distance from the media—until she is unexpectedly forced into the media spotlight. Without giving too much away, this book was full of suspense and kept me guessing about who the real villains were. When Bianca begins to see the truth of her society, the reader follows her in this discovery. I’m not typically a reader of speculative fiction, but I am so glad I bought this book!