Chad Morris, Shelly Brown,
Virtually Meby: Chad Morris, Shelly Brown,
A mysterious package.
A new school.
A chance to be someone new.
A new virtual reality school where students get a fresh start.
The pandemic was rough on everyone, especially since school went from being a fun place where you could hang out with your friends to a bunch of heads in small rectangles all trying to talk at once. For Bradley, Edelle, Hunter, Jasper, and Keiko, that’s about to change.
A mysterious box arrives at each of their houses, and they’re invited to attend a virtual school. More than just being online, they’ll be able to create an avatar of themselves and interact with their friends and other classmates in real time using VR headsets.
For each of them, that presents an opportunity to become someone they’re not, or someone they haven’t been. For Bradley, it’s a chance to come out of a self-imposed shell. Edelle hopes everyone will see her for who she really is, not just for how she looks. Hunter is looking forward to pretending he’s still the person he was last year. Jasper wants to get over past assumptions. And for Keiko, it’ll allow her to disappear into the crowd.
For all of them, it’s a chance to see just how much they’ve assumed about each other in the past and maybe an opportunity to become friends.
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Publish Date: February 7, 2023
Page Count: 256
“Engaging novel...three adolescents attend an experimental virtual junior high school. The program has fascinating aspects, like team video game tournaments and replicated classrooms and gymnasiums. Concepts of individuality and peer perceptions are handled with humor and compassion. Bradley, Edelle, and Hunter evolve through their virtual interactions, learning emotional and social lessons that resonate in real life. Beyond its wondrous simulations, at the heartfelt core of Virtually Me is the awkward, funny, and incomparable essence of being truly human.”
"A middle school ode to individuality fueled by remote learning options.,/b> Their tale follows three students, chronicling why each one enrolls in the fanciest virtual middle school imaginable. Seriously, socializing there is realistic and visceral, even down to a seamless virtual dance. Each narrator has different motivations—hating public school, “embarrassing” medical problems, parental interventions—but through it all, they begin examining what fuels their relationships. Messages about accepting people for who they are on the inside are ideal for the target tween/early teen group. There is a humanizing inclusion of the bully’s viewpoint, where a shallow popular kid experiences a middle grade dark night of the soul. A tone perfectly geared towards older elementary and young middle school students. A classic 'be yourself' tale, with enough VR bells and whistles to keep tweens interested."
—School Library Journal
"Thought-provoking read. This discerning examination of middle school social dynamics provides emotional and insightful throughways to difficult conversations surrounding mental health, friendship, and perception of self via three empathetic protagonists striving to fit in and learning that it's okay to be oneself."