Teen fiction isn’t my usual reading fare, but I enjoyed Jamie Krakover’s contributions on the author’s panel at Archon 46 and decided to take a chance on her debut novel, Tracker 220.
The strengths of this book are the premise and the plot: it’s a page turner with lots of surprising twists and turns.
Set in a futuristic St. Louis, everyone is implanted with “tracking chips” at birth. The chips help authorities keep citizens “safe” and provide medical information. They also function as Google on steroids: you can access almost anything on the “network” with the blink of an eye.
Kara’s Jewish faith is woven throughout the narrative, giving the story added depth. The Mourner’s Kaddish is mentioned a couple of times. It was a wise choice on the author’s part to leave the prayer up to the reader’s imagination, as the specifics might've distance non-Jewish readers.
I struggled with the main character’s dramatic emotions and mood swings. This might resonate with younger readers, but I skimmed the passages of her guilt-ridden angst and dithering self-doubt. They became repetitive for me.
The love triangle is a standard of teen literature, and the author does a good job setting up Kara’s internal conflict over two very different teen boys.
She also gave the reader ample reason to cheer Kara's final choice.