Deoul, Stefani. “Zero Sum Game” Bywater Books, 2018.
Sid Rubin, Smartass
Sid Rubin is a very smart young woman and she wants to see the gender gap with reference to mathematics, science, technology and engineering narrowed and that the number of women working in these areas will be significantly higher than it is at present. But before she can work on that, Sid are her pals come together with newcomer Ze in a frantic race against time to decipher the code of an online gaming heist and help save the life of a teenage gamer. Sid and the gang take us into the world of online gaming when she learns that her friend Vik’s gaming funds have been stolen.
We go on quite a trip that includes zombies and dungeons to get to what is going on with “Contagion” where an online brawl is taking place. Sid is the kind off friend that everyone wants and needs to have simply because when help is needed she is there. Writer Deoul describes her wonderfully as a “high-flying lesbionic Brainiac”. Unfortunately Sid and her friends are grounded and must find a way to break out of parental jail. Sid, Jimmy, Imani, Ari and Vikram enter a school robotics competition and just as things begin to get interesting, Vik learns that his super-star status and hard-won trophies from the online game “Contagion” have been stolen. If ever there has been an altruistic person, it is Sid Rubin who lets no one “mess with her friends.”
When she sees Vik falling apart, Sid is determined to find the trophy thief, no matter what it takes. Sid and the gang join newcomer Ze to save not just Vik’s bevy of stolen gaming goods, but also the life of a teenage gamer who is being held hostage. Everything is that much more difficult because the kids are grounded and are also part of a robotics competition.
Writer Deoul has chosen a unique way to look at the gender diversity gap in math and the scientists by setting her novel in the young adult world. She provides with a wonderful read for young people (and for everyone else) and she introduces us to a cast of characters that we feel we get to know. So it is not just gender diversity but also diversity of friends and these friends include our hero Sid as well as a biracial football player and a beauty queen to cite just three. All in all, this is a terrific read.