Volatile mathematical genius Mallory Park is living two lives. In one, she is balancing senior year with looking after her little brother and troubled ex-Marine father; in the other, she spends her nights glued to her laptop, breaking into some of the world’s most secure systems as the hacker Echo Six.
As part of a corruption-exposing cyber network called the Forum, Mallory is far more at ease among the codes and hidden identities of her online world than she has ever been in the real one, but when other hackers start to go missing, she finds herself caught up in a web of secrets that could have repercussions far beyond both.
When anyone can be a name on a screen, how do you know who to trust?
*May Contain Spoilers*
Meet Mallory Park, better known to the cyber world as Echo Six. An elite teenage hacker who sees computer code as a puzzle waiting to be solved. A teenager who, in the real world, is ostracized at school, a caretaker for her little brother and her father who suffers from PTSD. Echoes by Laura Tisdall is a cataclysmic collision of two separate worlds that will threaten the security of the entire internet.
Mallory Park is the main character and readers will form an incredibly strong, deep connection with her due to the honest, blunt nature of the writing and the first person point of view. In her real life, outside the internet, Mallory is a very nervous girl who suffers from haphephobia which is the fear of being touched. Her sensory perception is always on overdrive and therefore she struggles with relationships, crowds, and people being close to her. Readers will immediately sympathize with Mallory as they see how difficult everyday functions are to her. The writing style emphasizes these struggles, giving readers an in-depth look and a sense of understanding. Even though she has this difficulty, Mallory is a very caring and loving person. Though sometimes she has no idea how to show it. Mallory takes care of her little brother Jed, making sure he eats healthily, does his homework, and doesn't get bullied at school. She even tries to watch over her father who suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
With all of this responsibilty weighing on her shoulders, Mallory tries to escape into the cyber world, where she can be someone who isn't afraid all the time. Hence, Echo Six. As Echo Six, Mallory can be strong, courageous, brave, intelligent. Anything she wants to be. She can make friends, like Warden, and not be afraid that they'll see her weaknesses. As readers make their way through this novel, they'll understand Mallory more and more, trusting her, respecting her, and hoping for her survival as hackers disappear and the cyber world suddenly becomes one with real life.
The plot of Echoes is simplistic with a focus on emotional reactions, friendship, trust, and betrayal. Mallory is part of an elite grey-hat hacker group that meets on The Forum. They do hacks requested by The Asker and then the information gathered is carefully leaked to bring people to justice. Almost two years before, a genius hacker left a video message, before committing suicide, that he had created a virus called The Reckoning and if a hacker was good enough, they could find all the pieces scattered across the internet, put them together, and change the world. Presently, The Asker is noticing that there are hackers disappearing and all of them have one thing in common: The Reckoning virus.
When The Asker becomes one of the disappeared, Mallory knows that she can find him and maybe even save him. Though she's terrified of the consequences, she knows that she has to do this to save her friend. This book completely absorbed and entertained me. It was easy to understand even though I don't have a single clue about hacking or coding. I highly recommend this novel to anyone who likes a great entertaining read with a little danger. Though there are curse words throughout the novel, it seems appropriate for the situations, even necessary to make the book more realistic. In all, Laura Tisdall delivers. Echoes is a fantastic book with the perfect balance of strong character connections and an intriguing plot.
Rating: 5/5 Cups