Eight months ago, when I was live tweeting during Veronica Roth's visit to Writers Week, I received a lovely message from her editor informing me of a new book YA book coming out over the summer, a debut by a local author, the first in a trilogy. She said she wanted to send me a copy of the book to read and share with my students (I know...so cool, right?). That book is Insignia, by S.J. Kincaid. While nothing is set in stone at this point, we would love to have Kincaid as a guest at this year's Writers Week.
On Saturday, September 29th, I had the pleasure of meeting S.J. Kincaid at Anderson's Bookshop's 9th Annual Young Adult Literature Conference. This was my first time at this fabulous event. I will be a regular in years to come! From 8:15 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., I had the privilege of attending panels and listening to keynote speakers, all of whom were noted young adult authors, S.J. Kincaid among them.
My fourth hour class was excited when I told them about Insignia, meeting S.J. Kincaid, and the prospect of having her as a Writers Week guest. I wanted to drum up excitement about the book that only I had read at that point, so I gave it to one of my students who has been pretty much devouring books from my classroom library at an exponential rate. I knew he'd get through it quickly and give me an honest opinion. I gave the book to him on Monday, October 1st. He gave it back to me the next day, having read the entire book in one night. I think it's safe to say he liked it...a lot. That's all it took. From there, another student suggested we do a Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants with the book, which is how we coined the phrase, Classhood of the Traveling Book.
It hasn't quite been two weeks yet, and already the book has made its way into the hands of a third student who today told me she is loving it! As each student finishes, he/she jots down a few review notes about the book on a post-it and places it inside the cover before passing it on to the next person. I would love to make it through the whole class with this little project. We shall see. But the point is, this all came about from some live tweeting during last year's Writers Week. So for those of you new to this whole writing for a web audience gig, look where it can take you!
Speaking of going places, how about heading out to your library or book store and checking Insignia out for yourself?
Here's a little sneak peak!
Tom Raines is an expert gamer and a con artist. He has to be. Traveling from casino to casino with his dad, a perennial drunk and gambler, Tom is often his and Neil’s only chance for a warm place to sleep, a meal on the table. In this near future world, wars are fought virtually, in space, WWIII to be precise. Because of Tom’s prowess in the VR (virtual reality) parlors, he is recruited to join the Intrasolar Forces at the Pentagonal Spire in Washington D.C. If he is successful in his training, he may get to be a major player in the war fought virtually in space.
Training consists first of the implantation of a neural processor, a computer in the brain. From there, Tom and his fellow plebes can plug into a port and experience a virtual reality so close to the actual thing that when you are injured in a training simulation, you’d swear the injury was real, the pain was real, until you unplug to find that you are intact. Trainees can upload required information to give them the necessary skills and intelligence for intrasolar battle, but they can also be manipulated with viruses and firewall leaks.
When Tom finds his ultimate adversary in an enemy combatant, he also finds that he may possess an ability with his neural processor that no one else has, something that could make him more powerful than he imagined. The question is, how far will Tom go to use his abilities to get what he wants?
Insignia is pure adrenaline, tech geek heaven, and serious fun. While Kincaid hits on the important aspects of the morality of war and the consequences when loyalty and trust are broken, she also brings on the humor. The laugh-out-loud scenes are brilliantly done, and they punctuate the tension extremely well. You do not have to know anything about computers to enjoy this book, by the way. Tom, Vik, Wyatt, and Yuri will make sure you enjoy the ride no matter what your technological abilities may be. While the tech plays a role, the story is in the characters as well.