Jinxed, by Amy McCulloch
My Review: ★★★★★
In this near-future world, cell phones have been made obsolete by robotic pets called baku who are part companion, part communication device. The main character, Lacey Chu, is a robotics whiz who’s finally about to go to her dream school, Profectus Academy, where she’ll learn all the skills she’ll need to design baku herself someday. Her best friend Zora is a master at coding. A chance mistake leads Lacey to discover the burned-out hull of a cat baku on a forested hillside. She spends the rest of the summer fixing up the cat, her new companion Jinx. At school, Lacey joins a baku battle team. Her captain Tobias quickly recognizes that her robotics skills have a good chance at taking them to the championship. But Lacey soon gets into trouble since Jinx has a mind of his own, and as time goes on she finds he isn’t just a normal baku either…
This book is exactly what I’ve been searching for — a fun, exciting children’s story featuring diverse characters participating in STEM. Robotics and coding are part of the excitement in this adventure. All of the students dream of having careers in these fields. The characters are diverse in both gender and race. And it’s all part of a story you’re not going to want to put down. I started reading this book with my 10-year-old at bed time (a chapter or two is a pretty good amount for bedtime reading), and by the next evening she had already picked it up and read the whole book.
My only complaint is it ends in a cliff-hanger – you can bet I’m going to read book 2 next! If you have kids in your life, I encourage you to share this book with them. It instills a perfect sense of wonder and excitement for robotics and coding! The content is wholesome enough for kids of any age, but the perfect audience is about 8-13. There is one kiss but not the complexity of drama that an older reader would look for.