Reviews for If you, then me [electronic resource].

Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Sixteen-year-old Xia Chan’s latest creation, Wiser, is an innovative AI program that earns her a spot at the Foundry, an elite school in Silicon Valley that develops the next generation of technology leaders. Although Xia is thrilled at the thought of being among teens who share her passion, she quickly discovers that racism and sexism among the Foundry students, called fellows, and in the tech industry at large put her at an unfair disadvantage. Some of the fellows are especially vexing—for example, Benjamin “Mast” Matsuo, a cute AI programmer who’s interested in getting to know Xia better but gets under her skin. Xia can’t help feeling something for Mast but isn’t sure if he’s the right guy for her since she’s also grown close to an anonymous boy she met on a forum for teen programmers who goes by the username ObjectPermanence. Romance is the least of Xia’s worries, though. Between demanding course work and social sabotage by entitled fellows, she’s nearly ready to go home. Then a serendipitous encounter with her idol, Foundry alum Mitzy Erst, changes everything. This page-turner offers a peek into the dark side of Silicon Valley through the eyes of an earnest newcomer and sheds light on issues hidden beneath the glitz of startup culture, including old-boy networks, unsustainable lifestyles, and the lure of promises that are too good to be true. Xia is Chinese American; Mast is half Japanese (the rest of his heritage is not specified). A riveting cautionary tale. (Fiction. 13-18) Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Publishers Weekly
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Sixteen-year-old Xia Chan, who is Taiwanese American, is bored with life in snowy Worcester, Mass., where she interacts primarily with her busy professor mother and her only IRL friend, neighbor Gina. The programmer combats loneliness by chatting with self-made intelligence app Wiser, which “pretends to be you in the future and gives you advice,” and messaging with online crush ObjectPermanence, also a programmer. Xia thrills at the idea of change when she is accepted into the Foundry, an elite Silicon Valley school/competition for tech prodigies in which 20 scholarship students compete for $1 million in seed funding. But she begins to doubt her prowess upon arrival, navigating difficult classwork and myriad aggressions that target her gender and race, until a Foundry alumna takes a keen interest in Wiser. As Xia dons a new image, and chases her dream of funding her app, her grip on what she really wants starts to slip. Even worse is having to choose between her mysterious online crush and a real-life connection she didn’t expect. Though pacing drags in the middle and rushes toward the end, Woon (the Dead Beautiful series) aptly explores real obstacles that women of color face in tech through Xia’s voice, detailing Silicon Valley as fast-paced, chaotic, and sometimes shallow. Ages 13–up. Agent: Ted Malawer, Upstart Crow Literary. (July)


School Library Journal
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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.—Carol Youssif, Taipei American Sch., Taiwan

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