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Hard Wired

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  235 ratings  ·  64 reviews
From Morris finalist Len Vlahos comes a contemporary sci-fi story about a boy who might not be human—for fans of Westworld and Black Mirror.

Quinn thinks he’s a normal boy with an average life. That is, until he finds a trail of clues the father he barely knew left behind.
After Quinn unravels his father’s puzzles, he “wakes up” ... and realizes his world was nothing more th
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published July 7th 2020 by Bloomsbury YA
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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Nenia Campbell

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HARD WIRED is a surprisingly deep and philosophical book that meditates on what it means to be truly alive. Honestly, this is the kind of book where it's best to go in cold, but I'm going to discuss it with the mild spoilers that are mentioned on the Goodreads blurb and the back cover of this paperback copy, so if you're one of those people who thinks less is more, maybe skip my review.

Quinn thinks he is a normal teenage boy. He likes mo
Joanna Bennett
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
eARC provided by publisher through NetGalley for review. All opinions are my own.

This book had me intrigued from the beginning. The writing was easy to get swept away in and honestly, I forgot that the premise mentioned something that happened in the book to the point where I was completely surprised! (This may be due to the fact that I have terrible memory but let’s go with it anyways, ha)

I have become fascinated with the idea of AIs since reading The Illuminae Files. Aidan was full of personal
Jan 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
YA science fiction about the creation of the first self-aware artificial intelligence. It's a thought-provoking story that addresses the nature of sentience and the definition of personhood. It's a fast-paced compelling read that appeals to your emotions as well as your mind. Highly recommended. ...more
Pop Bop
Feb 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
An Intelligent and Compelling Meditation on AI, From the Inside Out

This is easily, absolutely, the best Artificial Intelligence book I've read in the past few years, in any genre and for any age demo. We start with teen Quinn who has the usual teen angst issues - friends, school, girls - and the usual teen experiences. MILD OBVIOUS SPOILER. In short order, though, we find out that Quinn is an artificial intelligence who has been cocooned in a virtual reality construct during the course of his de
Jun 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thank you to NetGalley, Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books, and Len Vlahos for the opportunity to read Hard Wired in exchange for an honest review.

Quinn thinks he’s a normal high school boy living the generic high school life. After going on a date with a girl he likes, the truth of his reality hits in an unexpected way.

Quinn is actually a Quantum Intelligence, a sentient AI with billions of dollars invested. Quinn can access the internet and know all things at once, though as an AI, he continues t
Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight


So first of all, I almost never read synopses. So I knew it was sci-fi, and I knew that I really liked the author's previous book , so I went for it. And I will say this: I really think not reading the synopsis is a really good idea here. When I was writing this review, I realized that the synopsis gives away what happens after like, the first big chunk of the book. And I get it,
Kasey Giard
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Okay, so… there are not very many cases where I’ve read every book an author has published, but Len Vlahos is one of those. I had the chance to do a Q&A with him around the time LIFE IN A FISHBOWL came out, so be sure to check that out for details on what inspired his earlier books.

One of the things I love about Vlahos’s books is that even though they tackle serious topics, there are really playful moments and characters. For instance, in HARD WIRED, Quinn has this rambly, somewhat self-deprecat
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
Quinn is a relatively normal, if rather geeky, fifteen year old boy. He plays Magic The Gathering and numerous video games with his three best friends. And he has a massive crush on She's, the most beautiful girl in his school. But he has a medical condition where he faints and remains unconscious for a few minutes. But he's staying out after these episodes longer and longer. But after his last episode, when he wakes up, he sees his father sitting in his room. The only problem is that his father ...more
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020arc, 2020e
Quinn is just like other boys - until he realises he isn't.

I very much enjoyed Life in a Fishbowl (and the sneaky shoutout to it in this one) and this one was very enjoyable too. A couple of small time jumps confused me a little and something that was obviously designed as a huge surprise was telegraphed pretty early on. Overall, though, this was a great read and raised some very interesting topics. Also, that ending is basically torture and I very much want to know what happens afterwards!

Kenzie The Dragon Queen
Feb 13, 2020 marked it as to-read
Westworld meets Black Mirror you say? Sign me up!
Alyson Kent
Jun 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Thank you, Edelweiss, for the ARC.

Fascinating. To the point I’m struggling to review it. So yeah.
Emilie Haney
Apr 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
So...this book was very intriguing The cover gives you some idea of what you're expecting and I think I knew a little going in what the book was about. It's set up into 3 (I think? maybe it's 4...) sections and follows a "boy who might not be human". Too read that (from the books description) kind of gives it away and it is what it is, but I found the concept to be interesting. Won't say that I exactly loved all of it - I enjoyed some parts where the boy - Quinn - was able to create his own view ...more
Apr 17, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a fast-paced, compulsively readable science fiction story that will appeal to younger teen readers.

Although I was engaged while reading, I couldn't help but compare this afterwards to the Scythe series, which did such a great job envisioning an artificial being, that this feels thin in comparison. I'll admit it's an unfair one to make, as this is a much lighter story, more playful in tone, but it's one that I still couldn't shake.
Jessica (readalongwithjess)
Sep 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-09-reads
4/5 ⭐️ for Hard Wired by Len Vlahos

Thank you so much to Bloomsbury US and NetGalley for early access to the egalley! This was such a fun sci-fi contemporary blend that brought us a very interesting MC and themes of what is humanity. The writing was pretty good, and I enjoyed reading about Quinn & his experiences. Overall, it follows a 15 y.o. boy, Quinn, who “wakes up” only to find that his reality is not actually reality. Firstly, he is not actually human...he is the worlds very first fully awa
jess  (bibliophilicjester)
I won an arc of this in a Goodreads giveaway, and when the release date was pushed back to July, I put it off. And oh man did this one let me down.

I don't want to put people off giving this book a read, so I want to stress that I VERY often have unpopular opinions. If you're drawn to this premise, don't skip it because of my rating. Read it and decide for yourself!!

The back calls this book a perfect blend of scifi and contemporary - as someone who adores scifi and the idea of AI but hardly ever
Mar 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I've read several books and watched many movies about artificial intelligence, so there's no way I could pass this up on NetGalley.

During the first few chapters, Quinn charmed me.  He's a geeky guy desperately crushing on a pretty girl in his class and spends most of his free time playing a game probably similar to D&D.  It initially read more like a middle grade book to me - but not for long.  Once Quinn discovers what he is, all sorts of thought-provoking questions come into play.  Does he hav
Olivia Vaughn
Sep 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
Hi. Asexuality isn't a disorder. Thanks.

EDIT: Okay, I didn't hate this book, all things considered (which is why it's 2 stars instead of 1). I binged it in a sitting or two, which is typical for me, and discussed it with my local book club. I had originally been super excited to see where this went, because I'm a huge Doctorow fan as well as a big philosophy dork. I had been hoping this would be like if Doctorow wrote the Scythe books. In reality, though, this didn't feel like it lived up to its
Nov 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Hard Wired
by Len Vlahos

Artificial intelligence at its purest

Quinn thought he was just a normal teenager. A gamer with a medical condition that makes him pass out from time to time. He went to school and to gaming nights at the local coffee shop and even managed to get a date with the girl he likes. But when he listens to the messages his dad left for him, his world implodes. Quinn isn’t human. He is a Quantum Intelligence created by scientists at Princeton. The first true AI in existence. His f
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: july-2020
Thank you Bloomsbury YA for providing me with a free digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. ⁣

Quinn didn't know his father well, but at least he left some clues behind that can help him find out more about who he is. It turns out that the clues were a bread crumb trail to the truth of his entire existence. Quinn now knows that he's the world's first sentient artificial intelligence, capable of continual growth, mentally and emotionally, but the downside is that he's also a l
Sally Kruger
Playing video games and daydreaming about a hot girl, those are the things that entertain high school student Quinn. He makes his mother happy by excelling in school, and he spends time with his younger brother when he can. When he discovers videos made by his father before he died of cancer, Quinn hopes to gain some insight into who he is and where his future might take him. Recently, Quinn has been experiencing fainting spells. These spells are dismissed as stress related, but the rather embar ...more
Sep 12, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio
Hard Wired by Len Vlahos is a YA book about teenager Quinn, who is struggling with grief over his father's death and episodes where he blacks out during instances of high stress. He starts getting clues that all is not as it seems in his life, leading to a revelation that changes how he sees himself and the rest of the world in a big way.

I won't say what the revelation is, but I would imagine most people will know going in, as it is likely a big selling point for the book. But, if you do already
Faith Noelle
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I received an eARC copy of Hard Wired in exchange for an honest review. I found this to be a really well-written sci-fi story that really explores the idea of what it means to be alive and human. The story follows Quinn, who is surprised to learn that he is a very advanced artificial intelligence. I won't give too much of the plot away, as I think this book is really best to just go in blind. What I do like about this book, however, is that it's engaging and pulls you into it, despite not being ...more
Amanda Greco
Mar 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC!

Holy hells, reboot my mainframe this was a READ.
I've never in my years of loving science fiction found such a lyrical read. The way that Len Vlahos relays Quinn's story and all the complicated computer science and neurological aspects to the reader is impressive. The lines flowed so smoothly and allowed me to devour this book in just a few hours. I craved coming to life as Quinn did, realizing the faults of his existence the same way humans beg
Nannette Demmler
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
ARC provided by Bloomsbury YA via NetGalley for an honest review.

This was an amazingly well done story about what it means to be ‘human’. There is so much to think about that even though I finished reading it last week, I’m still brought up short thinking about some of the questions this book raised.

Quinn is an amazing character. He is an artificial intelligence like nothing else that has come before him. But he is also a teenage boy with teenage boy feelings and thoughts. I couldn’t help but li
Jul 13, 2020 rated it liked it
I was really hopeful about this book. The premise was interesting, but since it's a young adult novel featuring a young adult, expecting the book to fully explore the condition of an AI that doesn't immediately come to life and want to kill all humans was too much to ask for I guess.

I suppose I was hoping that there would be more fascination with the concept of having basically birthed an entirely new sentient species, but just building the backdrop took way too much time. By the time things wer
Dec 07, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
Well, this is definitely a YA (Young Adult) book. Saying that this one is for fans of Westworld, Black Mirror, Ex-Machina and Blade Runner is for me not really true. Yes, it talks about the never-ending question about what makes us human, just like in those four movies/series but what I REALLY miss, is that dark undertone you have with those four. A sense of misplacement, unease, discomfort. That would have made this one far more thrilling and scary in a psychological sense.
Also, for seasoned sc
Ari Augustine
Jul 07, 2020 rated it liked it
WEST WORLD collides with BLACK MIRROR to give us HARD WIRED, a thought-provoking meditation on AI intelligence through main character Quinn, who thinks he's a real boy...only to discover he isn't. In reality, he's the world's first sentient AI and must now confront ultimate questions: what does it mean to be human? How is one truly alive? It kind of reminded me a bit of Blade Runner in this regard, and I found myself immersed in these sort of philosophical ponderings as I read. It reflects not o ...more
Apr 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs-reviewed
ARC provided by Bloomsbury YA via NetGalley for an honest review.
What does it mean to be alive? This book takes that question into perspective.
This is the story of Quinn, a teenage “boy” who soon discovers he is actually an AI and is life has been a construct by a team of scientists. The experiment goes so well, that he is fully awake and conscious making him the smartest being on the planet. But what he wants more than anything, is freedom, but who gets to decide that and why? What does the fu
Nov 18, 2020 added it
Shelves: ya, 2020, scifi
I liked this a lot more than I expected to, which sounds like an insult, but mostly I mean that hard scifi is not usually my bag, but this book didn't just raise some good questions and set out some interesting ethical quandaries--it also had pretty solid internal logic and some jokes and stuff. Could it have gone a little deeper into the statements it made about being genderless, speaking all languages, etc? Yes. Do I really want a white dude handling that? Ehh, maybe not. This book still cover ...more
Sarah Yung
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
First of all, this isn't really my preferred genre of sci-fi, so your miles may vary. Personally, I just didn't find that Vlahos explores anything new or surprising related to AI here, nor does this refreshen or enliven the genre in any perceivable way.

That being said, though this got a bit dry and lagged in parts, it seems otherwise unobjectionable. In the vein of Doctorow in combining near-future tech with issues of civil liberties, which makes sense, since Quinn has Doctorow on his shelves.
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I dropped out of NYU film school in the mid 80s to play guitar and write songs for Woofing Cookies. We were a punk-pop four piece -- think R.E.M. meets the Ramones -- that toured up and down the East Coast, and had two singles and one full-length LP on Midnight Records.

The band broke up in 1987 and I followed my other passion, books. I've worked in the book industry ever since.

And, of course, I

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