indie book reviews

review of Cyberbully Blues by Rubin Johnson



reviewed by Cy Wyss

Cyberbully blues is the coming of age story of Dakota (aka Kodi), a California girl. The book follows Kodi from just beginning high school to the first year of college as she makes major changes. The changes include transforming herself through hard work and self-discipline from couch potato to athlete, from mathophobe to computerophile, and from girl to woman. Her change from geometry dunce to math and computer science whiz is truly inspiring, not least in part because it is out of necessity due to rampant cyberbullying. Her response to her tormentors is creative and realistic, the author has a great feel for the nuances of all things tech. Another great aspect to the story is in fact this techno-awareness, as it is set 25 years in the future with the logical consequences of the tech we have today. Kodi is believable and the reader quickly finds her perseverance and self-discipline inspiring and compelling. We want her to win!

The book gets off to a relaxing start but by 30% I was hooked. By 40% I couldn’t put it down it was so gripping. It is also impeccably edited, a potential pet peeve of mine. The author has dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s making for a smooth and seamless ride. I liked the advanced tech aspect being realistic, the realm of the eminently probable not the realm of science fiction. I also liked that the author didn’t pull punches but instead put important computer concepts and even a snippet or two of code into the text (yet somehow managed to do this without seeming boring). I was disappointed to think that women wouldn’t have made more inroads in the computer science field in 25 years, but given stupid crap like Gamergate this is also unfortunately realistic. Overall a very important story to have around, and heroes like Kodi and her mentors need to be better known. Highly recommended for a great theme and compelling, satisfying reading.

Cy Wyss

I am an author currently residing in the Indianapolis area. I write and review mysteries, thrillers, and science fiction. Sign up for my newsletter at right and get a free short story.

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