If You, Then Me

Two images of the book cover. Young man sitting on a bench under a tree. Young woman walking towards him while looking at a cell phone. The path she is on is the shape of a silhouette and the tree is is the head space.

If You, Then Me by Yvonne Woon

Summary: Xia is stuck in a lonely, boring loop. Her only escapes are Wiser, an artificial intelligence app she designed to answer questions like her future self, and a mysterious online crush she knows only as ObjectPermanence.

And then one day Xia enrolls at the Foundry, an app incubator for tech prodigies in Silicon Valley.

Suddenly, anything is possible. Flirting with Mast, a classmate also working on AI, leads to a date. Speaking up generates a vindictive nemesis intent on publicly humiliating her. And running into Mitzy Erst, Foundry alumna and Xia’s idol, could give Xia all the answers.

And then Xia receives a shocking message from ObjectPermanence: He is at the Foundry, too. Xia is torn between Mast and ObjectPermanence—just as Mitzy pushes her towards a shiny new future. Xia doesn’t have to ask Wiser to know: The right choice could transform her into the future self of her dreams, but the wrong one could destroy her.

My thoughts: Wiser is an app I could have really used in my teen years. In fact, I wouldn’t mind having Wiser now. Decision making is so difficult sometimes and in this app, the artificial intelligence can definitely help with life choices through the information it gathers and logic. Xia is smart and driven, but sometimes she could benefit from some good advice. I really liked the AI part of the plot and it certainly had me thinking beyond the page and wondering about what we could have in the future.

The tech wasn’t the only thing that had me thinking. Once in a while, there were exchanges that spoke to me. One character does something that they aren’t proud of and in a message explains it this way:

“I like to think of myself as a good person, but then I do things like this and I wonder if my “goodness” is just a story I tell myself so I don’t have to own up to the fact that maybe I’m just like everyone else–good when it suits me, and less good when it doesn’t.”

This was a book that kept my attention, but sometimes it was because there was a train wreck about to happen and it was hard to look away. The author pushed it a bit with how badly Xia messes up. The series of bad choices she makes really began to strain my belief. She even has multiple friends trying to intervene and she ignores all logic. That was one thing that distracted me. She’s highly intelligent so it was difficult to believe some of the things she was doing and allowing although in real life, it’s true that sometimes people seem to be on similar dangerous paths and cannot be reasoned with at all.

With all of the chaotic things going on in Xia’s life because of her behavior, that left only a small amount of time on the pages for her relationships. The virtual relationship she had prior to arrival at the school seemed somewhat plausible, but the in-person time is pretty limited with both of the love interests so the romance seemed rushed.

Recommendation: Get it someday if you are a fan of contemporary books with a technology plot line. That part was the most intriguing for me. It’s probably not one to grab if you’re looking for a romance or rom-com though.

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 416
Review copy: From library
Availability: On shelves now