Sixteen years old and ripped away from all that was familiar into a new world where his whole identity needs to be re-discovered is pretty much what The Discovery of Socket Greeny was about for me.
My son is doing a paper on tourism, and in it he mentions the possibility of replacing our corporeal experiences with virtual reality ones. In the life of Socket Greeny and his friends technology has gotten to a point where this is possible. Teaching is done this way. Although the students come to a physical school and sit in classrooms with a teacher present, most of the teaching is done in VR rooms. Gaming takes on new meaning when you get to integrate yourself so fully into the experience.
But when Socket Greeny is taken from his friends he discovers that such immersion brings its own hazards, and that he is one of the tools needed to fight the dangers of the virtual world. The world he enters is brutal. His tests are intense. I suppose people who have gone through training as CIA spies would recognize the horrible invasiveness of it all. Yet Socket endures.
Much of that endurance is due to his friend Spindle. Spindle is always there for Socket. His patience and kindness is limitless. One might almost be tempted to think that he was programmed to be that way. And perhaps he was. But then again maybe not.
I am thrilled not to be Socket Greeny, but I am thankful for having met him and his unusual world. Definitely recommended.