Assured Destruction: Book Summary
Sixteen-year-old Jan Rose knows that nothing is ever truly deleted. At least, not from the hard drives she scours to create the online identities she calls the Shadownet.
Hobby? Art form? Sad, pathetic plea to garner friendship, even virtually? Sure, Jan is guilty on all counts. Maybe she’s even addicted to it. It’s an exploration. Everyone has something to hide. The Shadownet’s hard drives are Jan’s secrets. They're stolen from her family’s computer recycling business Assured Destruction. If the police found out, Jan’s family would lose their livelihood.
When the real people behind Shadownet’s hard drives endure vicious cyber attacks, Jan realizes she is responsible. She doesn’t know who is targeting these people or why but as her life collapses Jan must use all her tech savvy to bring the perpetrators to justice before she becomes the next victim.
Formats: paperback and ebook
Release: March 22, 2013
Amazon paperback ($8.99)
Michael F. Stewart: Biography
Our Review of Assured Destruction
Michael F. Stewart's Assured Destruction is a YA novel that is well-written, interesting, and enjoyable to read. It follows the exploits of the young protagonist as she builds her Shadownet of virtual friends and then must face the consequences as real life intrudes on her private domain, and bad things begin to happen in real time. But Jan Rose is up to the challenge as she tries to dig her way out of the mess, save her mom's company, and find the real culprits.
The protagonist is both likeable and humorous, and the references to Ottawa throughout the novel (the city "that fun forgot”) will spark instant recognition by anyone who has lived or worked there. At the same time, the protagonist faces numerous challenges in her own life, and Stewart has done a very good job of weaving serious themes into the novel: Jan's perceived abandonment by her father, her mother's daily struggles with MS, and the daunting task of surviving school life and online bullying. A central thread in the novel is Jan's attempt to write an essay on Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. Plath's depression and subsequent suicide serve as a counterpoint to Jan's conscious efforts to take control of her life and resolve her problems. It's good to see a strong female protagonist in YA novels.
As Stewart's website indicates, Assured Destruction is planned as a transmedia experience, with four books serving as an anchor for an Internet connection that will bring Shadownet to life. We wish him the best with this endeavour and look forward to following Jan Rose in her future adventures!
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