Authors: Marie Lu
Tags: #YA, #Carly
All of my
books have a bit of myself in them, but
is particularly me-ish. (I mean, one of my corgis makes an appearance in it. That was his fat butt waddling down Hideo’s hallway. Love you, Koa.) I could not have written this story, however, without the help of the best minds I know.
To my queen of an agent, Kristin Nelson—thank you for your enthusiasm for
from day one, your brilliant outlines, ideas, and feedback, and all of your incredible work championing this book as well as all our past books. I truly don’t know what I’d do without you.
To my inimitable, brilliant editors, Jen Besser and Kate Meltzer, for pushing me with every new round of edits and making sure this book was the best it could be. To Anne Heausler, copyediting genius—I just want to marvel at your brain. Thank you for everything.
This is my seventh book with the amazing team at Putnam,
Puffin, and Penguin Young Readers, and every time, I am more amazed and humbled by what you all do: Marisa Russell, Paul Crichton, Theresa Evangelista, Eileen Savage, Katherine Perkins, Rachel Cone-Gorham, Anna Jarzab, Laura Flavin, Carmela Iaria, Venessa Carson, Alexis B. Watts, Chelsea Fought, Eileen Kreit, Dana Leydig, Shanta Newlin, Elyse Marshall, Emily Romero, Erin Berger, Brianna Lockhart, and Kara Brammer. How did I get this lucky to work with you all? I still don’t know, but I remain grateful every day. A special note of gratitude to Wes (Cream Design) for the spectacular 3-D
To Kassie Evashevski, my extraordinary film agent—it means so much to me that this book is with you. I am endlessly grateful. To Addison Duffy: How lovely to meet you in person! Thank you for always being so helpful and awesome.
To my darling, dearest, fiercest Amie Kaufman, Leigh Bardugo, Sabaa Tahir, and Kami Garcia: Thank you for listening to me talk about
even in its infancy, for helping me shape this story, for your kind words about the book that always make me smile, and for your friendship and badass hearts.
To my wonderful friends who offered invaluable feedback: JJ (S. Jae-Jones), one of the first to ever read
; Tahereh Mafi, for generously answering all of my questions (anything fashionable in this book is inspired by you!); Julie Zhuo, for your deep tech wisdom and insight, and for your friendship (twenty-eight years and counting!); Yulin and Yuki Zhuang, for showing me and Amie around Tokyo and knowing literally
about the city, and for being two of the nicest people I’ve ever been fortunate enough to know; Mike Sellers, for your endless knowledge of all things and your generous help; Sum-yan Ng and David Baser, for brainstorming with me on late-night streets and offering so
much helpful advice; and Adam Silvera, for all of your knowledge of New York City and for being an all-around badass. A special thanks to Ryh-Ming Poon for your industry insight (and love of good food!).
The Think Tank, the eight-intern group that I belonged to as a newbie working in video games, deserves its own callout: Those six months continue to be one of my favorite life memories. Pretty much everything I know about games, I learned from you guys. (Note—that Mario Kart round mentioned in the book, with the epic blue shell thrown right at the finish line? That was a real game we played. Savage.)
To my husband, fellow Think Tank ex-intern, and best human, Primo Gallanosa: Thank you for reading 120,582,015 versions of
, for all your fun game ideas, and for always knowing exactly how to make me laugh.
To my mom, who is absolutely nothing like Emika’s mom: Emika’s resilience, fire, and brain are completely based on you. You are the most capable, selfless, and inspiring person I know. (Hideo’s cooking skills are also based on yours. Obviously.)
To the librarians, teachers, booksellers, readers, and champions of books around the world: Thank you, thank you, thank you for all that you do. Sharing stories with you is my deepest honor.
Finally, to all the gamer girls out there. You inspired this.