3 out of 5 stars.
I received an ARC of this work.
This is a slice of life, growing up and facing the world book that is confusingly being marketed as a science fiction novel.
Aaron is plugged into FUN, a combination internet browser, social media platform and gaming platform. It follows him everywhere, giving advice, recommending products and connecting him to the digital. When Aaron decides it is no longer the thing for him, he has to put in a formal request to turn off the service, so the novel itself is his application to discontinue FUN and his reasons for doing so.
The problem with this book is that framing it around FUN makes no contribution to the plot. The book is about a young man learning about life and growing up and finding love. The side-plot of the FUN system is a neat plot device, but completely unnecessary. It really feels like they added it in at the last minute to appeal to the science fiction readers, but it does not fit well. The book would have been just as good without it, and it disrupts the main story quite a bit.
Aaron is a fairly realistic protagonist, a young man with no great prospects for the future, who is trying to get his life back on track. He has tricked his family out of some money and inherited a cabin that may contain a hidden treasure. He has a crush on a girl who may have made out with his dad and his best friend is a bit of a troublemaker. I really liked reading about his adventures since he is someone I can see meeting on the street. His mistakes are very understandable and he comes across as such a weird, quirky guy.
This would have been a great book if they hadn’t confusingly added an unnecessary plot element. As it is, it is a somewhat confusing read.