Take Me with You by Tara Altebrando

Take Me with You

Take Me with You by Tara Altebrando
English | 2020 | Young Adult, Fantasy | ePUB | 2.3 MB

From the acclaimed author of The Leaving comes a new psychological thriller that challenges our trust in the electronic devices we keep close.

Eden, Eli, Marwan, and Ilanka barely know each other beyond having a class or two together. But when they are all summoned via messaging app to an empty classroom after school, they find a small cube sitting on a desk. Its sides light up with rules for them:
Do not tell anyone about the device. Never leave the device unattended.
And then, Take me with you . . . or else.

At first they think it’s some kind of prank or a social experiment orchestrated by the school administration. Still, they follow its instructions until the newly-formed group starts to splinter. Nobody has time for these games—their lives are complicated enough. But the device seems increasingly invested in the private details of their lives. And disobeying its rules has scary—even life-threatening—consequences . . .

This timely thriller probes our dependence on personal technology and challenges the notion that our devices are keeping us connected. The truth may very well be the opposite.

She dug through her backpack again to see exactly how wet it had gotten in there. One of the colored dividers of her binder had bled blue onto some loose-leaf where she’d taken notes for her social studies essay, and this made her irrationally angry. She spread the papers out on her bed to dry, then woke up her laptop and started working on the essay, but who could concentrate, with that thing right there?

She checked her phone.

A fight up on Ditmars Boulevard; a purse snatching on Steinway Street.

She turned back to her laptop and opened the browser. She searched for “cube device” and “cube device with rules” but turned up nothing but the Amazon TV cube, and this wasn’t that.

She sat back in her chair. There were seams around some of the device’s edges but nothing that looked like an opening or a battery case.

She checked her phone.

Julian hadn’t posted anything since Starbucks.

She hearted that post, then sort of regretted it.

A text from Anjali asked what Mr. M’s message was about, and Eden wrote back, Don’t know. He never showed. Then fire alarm.

She wanted to say more; her fingers stayed poised there, but no, that wouldn’t be smart.

Do not tell anyone about the device.

Do not leave the device unattended.

Did that mean she had to take it into the bathroom with her?

She did, just to be safe. Her phone, too, so yes, she was sort of a hypocrite that way. She threw a towel over the device before unbuttoning her jeans. It was listening, so could it also be watching?

Eli texted, Everything okay?

She wrote back, So far, so good. It said not to get it wet. After I got it wet. But that’s it.

Okay keep me posted.

Back in her room she put the device on her desk and waited, phone in hand.

The AC cycled off, and the room felt eerily quiet. She always hated these in-between hours, before her mother was home safe and cooking and not out there where everything bad could happen. In the weeks after the accident, she’d been afraid to let her mother out of her sight, really. They’d long before deactivated the location services on their phones and the alerts that went along with them—“Eden arrived at home,” that sort of thing—but they’d reactivated them for a while right after. The few times she had been alone that week, Eden had tracked her mother’s location like a stalker and also watched the GoFundMe page total go up, wondering how long she could live on it if she ended up an orphan.

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