Two sisters. One death. No memories.
Cora should remember every detail about the night her stepsister, Hannah, fell down a flight of stairs to her death, especially since her Cerepin—a sophisticated brain-computer interface—may have recorded each horrifying moment. But when she awakens after that night, her memories gone, Cora is left with only questions—and dread of what the answers might mean.
When a downward spiral of self-destruction forces Cora to work with an AI counselor, she finds an unexpected ally, even as others around her grow increasingly convinced that Hannah’s death was no accident. As Cora’s dark past swirls chaotically with the versions of Hannah’s life and death that her family and friends want to believe, Cora discovers the disturbing depths of what some people may do—including herself.
With her very sanity in question, Cora is forced to face her greatest fear. She will live or die by what she discovers.
In Cora’s world there is very little privacy, very few secrets to be kept. Vid cameras monitor your every move, AI turns your home into a living, breathing entity that can detect mood swings, a rise in blood pressure and heart rate and even unease. So when Cora’s stepsister, Hannah, dies and all video and AI monitoring have been turned off, everyone turns to Cora for answers. After all, she was there when it happened but doesn’t remember anything.
Cora and Hannah have been living in the same home for a good year. They are stepsisters, Cora’s mother recently married Hannah’s father. They go to the same school and have the same friends. Only, Cora really only has one good friend, Neda. The rest of the kids are Hannah’s friends and they are nice to Cora because Hannah is nice to her, or is she? Cora and Hannah are both manipulative and it’s hard to tell at times who is worse.
When Hannah dies, Rafiq, a canny is brought in to help Cora come to terms with the accident and bring light to what happened. Rafiq has been programmed to find out the truth and report back to Gary, Hannah’s father (Cora’s stepfather). The cannies are robots. AI is so advanced that the only thing that separates robots from humans is their lack of free will, feelings and emotions. They are programmed to complete a task and report to their admin
I have to say I struggled when I first started this book because of the way it transitions in the telling of the story. It is told through the point of view of both Cora and Rafiq, as well as video data reviews. The video data reviews reveal a different character “angle” making the reader really question the motives behind both sisters. They are both cunning characters that break into vulnerability just in the nick of time to keep the reader from a feeling of complete disgust.
I have to say this book is really intriguing. I enjoyed the writing and especially enjoyed the sci fi element of AI. I will absolutely add this book to my classroom library.