Electric Life

Electric Life

By Author / Illustrator

Rachel Delahaye



Age range(s)



Troika Books




Paperback / softback




Alara's incredible gaming skills bring her to the attention of Estrella's leaders. She is chosen to go on a dangerous mission to London Under, the original older, long-deserted and distrusted city, on top of which Estrella (the Star city) was built, to gather 'vital' intelligence.

Estrella is the perfect society, an immaculate, sanitised, connected environment where everything is channelled through the digital medium. There is no dirt, no pain, no disease, no natural world, even feelings like boredom are frowned upon and discouraged. Alara is dropped down to London Under and into a "new" world which bewilders her and disorientates her.

How will she survive in a society where noise dirt and sometimes pain are everyday experiences and where food is not synthetic and tastes real? Will she accomplish her mission? Who can she trust? How will she get back to Estrella and her family and her life without worry?



Alara lives a 'perfect' life in Estrella where everything is tightly controlled and it is mandatory to carry a 'Flip' (Fully Linked Information Platform) so everyone is connected. Feelings of boredom and being 'dulled' are frowned upon, yet Alara often feels disconnected. The skyscraper city is built on the ruins of the old city, now known as London Under, and Alara finds herself selected to go on a secret mission to gather vital intelligence about a world completely different from her own. But what she discovers makes her start to question everything she has known…

I have said it before, but have to say it again - Rachel Delahaye is an outstanding writer who really knows how to create believable worlds and compelling characters, immersing the reader completely in the story. Electric Life is a one-sitting read - it is impossible to put down once started. As with Day of the Whale, another of Rachel's books, the story is both a thoroughly good read and offers plenty to think about.

As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that not everything is as it seems in the perfect world of Estrella, posing questions about what citizens of the 'Star City' might be sacrificing for their idyllic lifestyle. Everyone seems to live their lives through and around their screens which provide entertainment and constantly monitor their health and safety. They are happy to accept the parameters and rules which keep them safe… but there are so many questions to be asked here and Alara's experiences certainly make the reader think about them.

The story is fast-paced and full of action, building a frighteningly believable version of the future. Alara is a very likeable character - standing out against the stereotypical versions of her peers, not quite fitting in, longing for different. Readers may well recognise her clumsy attempts to 'find' friends and be 'normal', and like her all the more for ultimately coming to be herself. As she has experiences we take for granted for the first time - feeling pain, sharing human contact, tasting real food, the wild joy of a party night out - you can feel her coming alive and responding to each new sensation.

There is so much more I could say, but for fear of spoiling this brilliant book for other readers, I will finish by saying - it's fab. Make sure you read it!

384 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 11+


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