Retro | Sofía Lapuente & Jarrod Shusterman


Retro by Sofía Lapuente & Jarrod Shusterman

Out Now from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; 400 pages

Content Warning: Bullying, attempted suicide, violence, blood, underage drinking, discussions of mental health, discussions of slut-shaming, discussions of homophobia, discussions of body dysmorphia, mild sexual content

About the Authors: “Sofía Lapuente is an author, screenwriter, and avid world traveler who immigrated from Spain to the United States to realize her dream of storytelling. Since then, she has received a master’s degree in fine arts at UCLA, worked as a producer and casting director on an Emmy nominated show, and received coauthor credits in Gleanings, the fourth installment of the bestselling Arc of a Scythe trilogy, with her partner, Jarrod. Their upcoming novel is a fun thriller called RETRO.

Jarrod Shusterman is the New York Times bestselling coauthor of DRY, ROXY, & RETRO. He writes screenplays and YA fiction with his partner Sofía. They have a passion for storytelling across many mediums, with love and multiculturalism as an ethos, and enjoy traveling the world and learning new languages. Together, the couple writes and produces film and television under their production company Dos Lobos Entertainment, and they both teach a course on Creative Writing at UCLA”  (Bio from authors’ website).

Find Sofía Lapuente & Jarrod Shusterman on the following platforms:

“But this year we did create a revolution, and I was there on the front page.”

Luna made a mistake. She posted a video on Limbo, a major social media platform, and caused a school-wide scandal. When the creators of Limbo hear about what happened, the company proposes a challenge to Luna’s high school: Go retro for a year (meaning ditch all modern technology) and win a life-changing scholarship. The Retro Challenge isn’t easy, but Luna needs to secure a path to college and make up for what she did. As the challenge commences, Luna and her friends realize their highly-public technology detox might have a dangerous side. What started as a harmless social media campaign is now threatening Luna’s community, safety, and future.  

Retro is the kind of book you just have to read all in one sitting. Well, maybe you don’t have to, but I certainly did! Retro is told from Luna’s POV and structured in sort of episodic moments. The book starts with Luna’s current predicament, and the bulk of the story is Luna recounting what events led to her situation. I loved reading about the world of Luna’s high school, with all the classic teen drama, as well as Luna’s family business. Luna’s voice as a narrator was really fun to read, and the jumps between Luna now versus the flashbacks built up the thrill aspect of the mystery. With that said, there is a lot going on in the book. I got a bit lost with the timeline and certain details threw me off at times. But as I said, those all added to the chaos of the mystery that Luna and the gang were solving. I ended up liking the flashback perspectives and episodic moments, though it did take some time for me to get into the storytelling structure. Circling back to the characters in Retro, I really enjoyed the range of backgrounds we see in the ensemble. While I wouldn’t say this is a majorly character-driven book (the story is, after all, a thriller about a potentially shady social media company), I do think the conflicts and personalities of the characters add a lot to the book. We get moments throughout the story where characters share their myriad of experiences with social media and how media influences their perception and identities as teenagers. I think that it’s great to have those real moments in a fast-paced mystery. Retro also features a playlist created by authors Sofía Lapuente & Jarrod Shusterman, and you can stream it here! Luna and her friends were challenged to go a year without modern technology, and now I have a challenge for you: Get your own copy of Retro and read it ASAP! 

PRR Assistant Director, Erika Brittain