The Recalcitrant Project by Lauren Lynne sets the bar high when it comes to technological horror in young adult fiction. Elise Andrek is a brilliant student programmer living in a dystopian 2034. After the Third World War, a universal way of living was established that took away civil liberties. The citizenry is convulsing with civil unrest, and those who do not conform to the established system undergo reconditioning and a system of eradication for uncooperative citizens. This is how Elise gets involved in the Recalcitrant Project, where she designs a game that the government uses to kill 3,787 students. She joins a resistance group, the Recalcitrants to shut the game down permanently and to put everything behind her. As a fugitive from an oppressive government, her goal to stop the game will put her and the people she cares about in harm’s way.
Lauren Lynne is a keen observer of the dynamics of what makes a good thriller. A heavy burden is placed upon Elise, who is too young and innocent to be placed in a difficult situation when all she wants is to live a peaceful life. The Recalcitrant Project immediately triggers your expectations of a gripping dark thriller, as it establishes a clear setting and background story from the first chapter. What makes this tech thriller even more spine-tingling is the feasibility of its premise. In a world that is beginning to embrace virtual reality in gaming, how can we dismiss the idea that such technology will not be used by future technocrats as a weapon of mass destruction? This is not your average YA dystopian theme. It is a bold prediction of what the future might become. If Hollywood is into adapting YA books for the big screen, this one should be on the top of their list.