Everything About You, by Heather Child

artsymusings's review

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'Is there some overarching power of the smartface that gives everyone what they want, by hook or by crook?'

So Everything About You is definitely quite similar to an episode of Black Mirror in the way that it's about the dangers of living inside an echo chamber and how virtual assistants are basically nightmare fuel for someone who's already emotionally vulnerable. Yet it's somehow lacking.

The world-building of Everything About You is quite well-executed as the world has advanced to the point that there are scarves with internal heat, drone takeaways and the extreme prevalence of personalization tech. Unfortunately, that also means that every technology that's introduced in the book comes with deep reflections attached to it that it becomes almost boring to read about how nothing is safe in a world that relies this much on technology.

Yet for all the world-building, the main character seems to be as clueless as the reader as to how her own world works so every discovery or a plot twist comes with the question of how come Freya didn't have a clue which kind of became annoying at some points because of its repetitiveness. Nevertheless, reading about Freya's relationship with her missing foster sister and then with her personal assistant with the same personality was eerie, thought-provoking and lead to some great discoveries about Freya herself.

In the end, though everything that happens in Everything About You makes technology looks like the big bad from every angle and I can't imagine that there's not even a single positive thing to be said about it here. So despite not being wholly impressed with the big, predictable reveal and being slightly put off by where the book itself ended, I think it tackles an interesting concept that might be more enjoyable for readers going in with lower expectations.

Favorite quote: 'Everyone gets what they want. But a little too much. It's always interesting to see what someone does when they get too much'


Another Black Mirror-sounding book! KEEP 'EM COMING

Tragedy siblings? Tragedy siblings.

loudgls89's review

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adventurous dark mysterious sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


I loved the idea of this book and it started off very intriguing, but mid-way through it got a bit weird and hard to follow and the ending was unexpected. 

The premise was great but it just didn’t turn out as well as I had expected from the blurb. 

andrewspink's review

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Excellent. A page-turner that makes you think, address contemporary issues and shows great imagination.

lewis999's review

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  • Strong character development? Yes


Loved all the future tech aspects but there were quite a few predictable twists. Also, some aspects/storylines were not explored as throughly as they could have been - e.g. Chris, Otto..

zoereadsx's review

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This book wasn't for me, unfortunately.

I really wanted to like this book and I was really interested because the concept sounded so cool!
But I found that the 'voice' in which the story was told was really confusing, maybe the first-person would have been better for me.
After a while I couldn't focus anymore on the story when I was reading it, I don't really know why, I can't place it. Maybe I should try reading this again another time.

I do think that it will be a good book to read if you like the writing style, and this sort of book.

crowcaller's review

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Really not what I was expecting,
I loved, LOVED, the concepts of the future, the tech, the ideas, the world... especially Ruby, and the connection between her and Freya (especially in flashbacks). However, the plot itself felt weak. Great concepts and ideas though, even the ideas that drive the plot... but it's not really a thriller, and there's not much that strictly 'happens'. It's much more an exploration of isolation and lonliness, which I was so into, but was overall a bit lacking.

musa_style's review

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“Discover this year’s most cutting-edge thriller—before it discovers you...”

The detective episodes of My Little Pony are more fitting of that phrase than this book.

This was my first thriller and I was expecting to be surprised? Bewildered? Heck, I was expecting to throw the book when I found out whatever there was to “discover”. Instead, I found myself being unable to read.

However, he idea and the world? Everything technology-related? Brilliant. The author has a good writing style, but it’s SO FLOWERY. Unnecessary details, slow moving plot, strange additions... (I’m talking about YOU, Otto)

Thalis being the baron surprised me more than him being behind Ruby’s disappearance, honestly. This book put me in a reading slump, and I’m definitely not reading it again.

fionayule's review

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This book promised a lot. A mystery about a missing woman, in the not to distant future where your world is dominated Virtual Reality, Virtual assistants, and very little face to face interaction. Think Black Mirror.

.Freya had to take a terrifying journey into a Virtual Reality domain, and get back from it. But apart from that there was very little went into the book. The Sci-Fi aspect was well researched and probably not in the all too distant future, but the book seemed to run out of steam. I found myself not really caring what happened to any of them.

This book is three stars, as I got the end of it and thought is that it? Is that what happened?

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an advance ARC in return for an honest review.

whatischellereading's review

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The book surrounds Freya and her foster-sister, Ruby.  Years earlier, Freya loved video games and didn’t want to leave a friend’s house as she was having too much fun.  Ruby, being the responsible older sister, started walking to the friend’s house to pick up her rebellious little sister and bring her home.  On her way there, she went missing and was never heard from again…
Flash forward 7 years, Freya is living with her now ex-boyfriend, Julian, after discovering his “cyber-cheating” via virtual reality.  She is in a dead end job, with a boss she despises, with a fear of Virtual Reality games after being so engrossed in one 7 years earlier while her sister was potentially abducted.   Julian’s father, Thalius, gifts his son the new Beta Smartface, a sort of computerised personal assistant, to potentially get his son out of his “sick cyber habits”.  Julian isn’t interested and passes the Smartface to Freya to use.  At first, everything is as you would expect, the Smartface is ensuring Freya gets to work on time and keeps to a schedule but then it starts to give Freya some déjà vu.  The Smartface declares it’s Ruby.  Using an algorithm of social media and personal history, the Smartface is able to imitate Ruby at 24 years old, rather than 17 when she went missing.  Freya begins to get sucked in as it’s her big sister, whom she misses and feels responsible for in her vanishing.
The story surrounds Freya’s inability to let go of her sister, being so used to hearing her sisters voice, having her sisters support she seems to forget that it’s a computer simulation, it’s not Ruby.  Determined that her sister is still alive somewhere, Freya sets out on a journey to conquer her fears of virtual reality in order to find her sister, somehow.
As our society is already so addicted to gadgets which can do so many things for us, it’s not a far fetched idea that “smartfaces” will be in the market in the future.  It gave me a bit of a fear, almost a wake up call, on how much I rely on my phone, my social media accounts and the internet – just how much does the internet know about me?  How much time with gadgets is too much?  If more gadgets come out in the future, will I become addicted?  Will I be able to differentiate between reality and online? I did enjoy this book but was a bit confusing when it came to the virtual reality portion – it gave me a bit of an Assasin’s Creed/Skyrim vibe.  Overall, I’d give this a solid 3.5 out of 5.

ecstatic_yet_chaotic's review

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|3.5 stars|

I am not a huge fan of technology, but the whole virtual assistant thing made me ask for this book. When you think about it, it can really be a wonderful thriller, with a hidden person feeding information etc.
Freya is thrilled about her new virtual assistant, a bot who knows everything about her, the information being fed via a cloud. Freya has one weakness- her dead sister. As the virtual assistant slowly turns herself into Freya’s dead sister, Freya starts to believe that her sister exists, especially because the assistant knows things more than it should know.
While Freya is the protagonist, the plot is driven mainly by the virtual assistant, who FYI, is super creepy. But then as the story progresses, Freya takes the center stage as it is her who has an unbearable loss and is looking for a closure.
Everything About You has a promising writing. There’s a plot with twists, characters who are engaging and there’s a visible development. I, however, felt that something was always missing. The ending was quite predictable and I read it only because of the world building and the sci-fi aspect, which was pretty decent.
Everything About You is a techno-thriller that has a chilling premise, complex relationships, and a downright creepy virtual assistant.