Vicarious by Paula Stokes
Release date: August 16, 2016
Summary: Winter Kim and her sister, Rose, have always been inseparable. Together, the two of them survived growing up in a Korean orphanage and being trafficked into the United States.
Now they work as digital stunt girls for Rose’s ex-boyfriend, Gideon, engaging in dangerous and enticing activities while recording their neural impulses for his Vicarious Sensory Experiences, or ViSEs. Whether it’s bungee jumping, shark diving, or grinding up against celebrities at the city’s hottest dance clubs, Gideon can make it happen for you, for a price.
When Rose disappears and a ViSE recording of her murder is delivered to Gideon, Winter won’t rest until she finds her sister’s killer. But when the clues she uncovers conflict with the neural recordings her sister made, Winter isn’t sure what to believe. To find out what happened to Rose, she’ll have to untangle what’s real from what only seems real, risking her life in the process.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: I'm going to say this upfront - Vicarious is probably my least favorite of Paula's books thus far. It's still a pretty good read, but I think I like her contemporary novels better.
I'd read the synopsis of Vicarious several times, so I mostly knew what to expect, going into the book. However, I just couldn't enjoy the plot or the characters. Something about Gideon didn't click for most of the story and I didn't connect with Winter's voice. Plus the big reveal was not at all what I wanted it to be, and the ending was a big nope for me.
I kept grasping for some detail to hold onto and love, but I couldn't find one. I wanted to like Winter and Jesse together, but I kept feeling like I ought to be suspicious of him, which kept me from shipping them. Since Rose was presumed dead in the present, I needed more back story with her to appreciate her relationships with Winter and Gideon.
Some foul language. Plenty of violence and making out. Underage drinking.
The Verdict: If you're a fan of mystery/thrillers, you'll probably love Vicarious. Unfortunately, I didn't love it like I wanted to.
Will I be adding this book to my library?: Probably not.