by Rose Foster
Harper Collins, 2012
Sixteen year old Kirra Hayward is extremely bright – so bright that she is accelerated into the higher maths classes at school. As a consequence of her perceived ‘bookishness’ and acceleration, she is very lonely.
Completing her homework in the school library one day, she stumbles across an internet site which invites her to crack a code. Kirra does so easily, enters her answer and thinks no more about the ‘crack a code’ website, unaware that she has just changed her whole existence. For we learn that Kirra is one of very few people in the world who have the ability to decipher the code she unwittingly cracked. She is kidnapped by an organisation called “The Industry” and so begins an exciting and fast-paced adventure thriller. Kirra initially resists The Industry and refuses to help the evil organisation but is manipulated, tortured and outwitted at every turn. The arrival of another code-breaker, Milo, creates an interesting tension and further complicates the plot.
Rose Foster is an Australian author, and it is refreshing to read about an Australian heroine in a young adult adventure thriller. Whilst the action begins in suburban Australia, it quickly becomes international in flavour adding an air of sophistication and authenticity to the criminal activity.
What I found disappointing is that this is the first book in a three-part series. For me, The Industry could have been a tight, action-packed one book story, however it seems these days publishers are keen to jump on the franchise bandwagon, especially with young adult fiction. It will be interesting to see what Foster can achieve in books two and three. Teenage girls especially will enjoy this book and appreciate seeing a tough, intelligent female protagonist in a gritty thriller.
Recommended for ages 13+