Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Retro by Sofia Lapuente and Jarrod Shusterman - ADVISABLE

Retro by Sofia Lapuente and Jarrod Shusterman, 400 pages. Simon & Schuster, 2023. $20.

Language: R (67 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: PG13; Violence: PG13



When cyberbullying goes too far, Luna contacts the social media app Limbo for help making the situation right. Limbo decides to come to Luna’s high school to issue the retro challenge: go a whole year without technology made since the turn of the century. Luna makes new friends, learns more about herself, and tries to figure out why students participating in the retro challenge start to go missing.

I feel like Lapuente and Shusterman make a lot of good points about the damage that can be done on social media and the connection we lose when they are exclusively online connections. Social media isn’t necessarily evil, but we can be better about being kind and responsible social media and technology users. Luna is the narrator, talking directly to readers. Her interruptions of the story were disorienting, but it also felt like they were intended to be that way. I didn’t really like those breaks, but it wasn’t good or bad, just a literary choice. 

Luna is Spanish and Mexican, Kilo is Hawaiian, and Mimi and Axel are depicted as white on the cover. The mature content rating is for underage drinking, mentions of drugs, illegal activity, innuendo, mentions of penis and vagina, implied sex, and sexual assault. The violence rating is for cyberbullying, attempted suicide, and descriptions of scary scenes.

Reviewer: Carolina Herdegen

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