Carman, Patrick. Pulse
26 Feburary 2013, Katherine Tegen Books
In the year 2051, Faith has to go to a new school because so many people are moving to the Western State, leaving vast sections of the US sparsely populated. There, she meets Wade Quinn, one of the few boys she has ever met who is taller than she is, and falls hard. School is now more of a warehouse for students, since all instruction is delivered by famous teachers on the Tablets that everyone has. Occasionally, Faith and her friends, including Liz and Hawk, like to take a break from technology and read actuall books in an abandoned school library. This freedom is the main reason not to fall for the propaganda and move to the Western State, but Liz is soon relocated there. Hawk has a crush on Faith and also does a lot of work hacking computers, but his skills are often used for evil by Wade. Hawk develops a "Wire Code" that Quinn shows to Faith. These codes are like drugs-- they interact with people's brains and make them violent if they are exposed to too many. Considering that Faith is also struggling with the fact that she can move things with her mind (the "pulse" of the title), Hawk is very concerned that she has also consumed a wire code. Wade has more evil plans than just messing with Faith's mind-- the Western State is becoming more and more powerful and advancing further, and not everyone want to be in a community where they can't drive, burn wood or have pets. Will Faith be able to be trained so that she can use her powers in the next two books in this projected trilogy?
Strengths: There are some Carman books that I adore-- Thirteen Days to Midnight was brilliant. This had its moments-- the description of actual books versus tablets is absolutely quotable, and the future vision for education is interesting. Some action, lots of dystopian details, great cover.
Weaknesses: This meandered so much that I really had trouble following it. Faith's powers not really being described until near the end didn't help. Wade was really evil, but I never felt what the motivation for this was.