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About The Book

What starts off as a lighthearted competition to live without modern technology for a year turns into a fight for survival in this unputdownable young adult thriller by New York Times bestselling author Jarrod Shusterman and debut author Sofía Lapuente.

It was never meant to happen this way.

Things were never supposed to get this out of hand.

After a cyberbullying incident at her school goes viral, Luna Iglesias finds herself at the heart of a brewing controversy. When the social media company Limbo—who are also implicated in the scandal—sweeps in with an offer that sounds like an opportunity to turn over a new leaf and receive a scholarship to the college of her dreams, she’s happy to jump on the new trend. It’s called the Retro Challenge, where contestants live without modern technology, wear vintage clothes, party as if the future weren’t already written, and fall in love as if they were living in a movie.

At first, the challenge is fun. But then things get dangerous. Kids start disappearing, including Luna’s friends. There are voices in the woods. Bloodred markings on the trees. And Luna increasingly begins to wonder if all these strange happenings are connected with the Retro Challenge.

Secrets. Lies. Betrayal. The weight of her family on her shoulders. There’s so much on the line for Luna, not to mention she’s falling in love with the last guy she expected. Unless she can figure out the truth behind who’s sabotaging the challenge, the next person to disappear may be Luna herself.


Chapter 1 1.

You don’t know me yet. But here I stand, soaked in mud, blood stained across my diamond disco dress—and I’m not even sure where I am. My heart is splintered glass inside my chest. Un corazón roto.

How I arrived is a story too twisted to believe.

So let me center myself and take in my surroundings. I’m trapped. I was thrown into a sterile white room with no windows, the closest thing to a jail cell I have ever seen. And the maddening silence makes me wish this place came with a minibar and a lobotomy pick. Anything to help me escape my current reality.

But isn’t that all the rage these days?

People hide behind an online profile, a facetuned image, or a filter—when, in reality, their face doesn’t need a filter; it needs a double cappuccino. Like my mom always said, La cara es el espejo del alma. And how right she was—no matter how much you try to hide, your eyes will always reflect who you truly are. And in my eyes, they found someone who would never back down. I guess I’m difficult. Which is basically why I’m here.

At least they had the decency to let me keep my Walkman. I press the headphones tight to my ears. It will help me tell my story.

Let me introduce myself.

My name is Luna, but lately I’ve earned a few others. You might think I’m locked away because I killed someone—or maybe you think I robbed a bank. Assault and battery.

Not quite. But this year we did create a revolution, and I was there on the front page.

Because this year we were invincible.

Or so we thought.

Now my heart is burned by the flames.

My friends disappeared, never to be seen again.

And the blood is dried on my hands.

My music fades out, and I wipe black tears of mascara from my eyes. I don’t need a mirror to know that I probably look like a hungry, rabid raccoon. The tape has ended, but the story is far from over—so let’s bring it back to the very beginning.

To the first song of the soundtrack of my life.

About The Authors

Photo courtesy of the author

Sofía Lapuente is an author, screenwriter, professor at UCLA, and avid world traveler who immigrated from Spain to the United States to realize her dream of storytelling. Since then, she has worked as a producer and casting director on an Emmy nominated show and received coauthor credits in the New York Times bestseller Gleanings, the fourth installment of the Arc of a Scythe trilogy, with her partner, Jarrod Shusterman. Together, they authored their most recent young adult title, Retro, and have many more projects in the works. The couple writes and produces film and television under their production company Dos Lobos Entertainment. Find them on TikTok and Instagram @SofiandJarrod.

Photo courtesy of the author

Jarrod Shusterman is the New York Times bestselling coauthor of the novel Dry, which he is adapting for a major Hollywood film studio with National Book Award winner Neal Shusterman. He is also the coauthor of the accoladed novel Roxy. His books have all received critical acclaim and multiple starred reviews. Jarrod wrote his most recent title, Retro, with Sofía Lapuente, and together, they teach a course on writing at UCLA. They are partners in every sense of the word, with love and multiculturalism as an ethos—living between Madrid, Spain, and Los Angeles. If they are not working, it means they’re eating. For behind-the-scenes author content and fun videos, follow them on Instagram and TikTok @SofiandJarrod.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (January 24, 2023)
  • Length: 400 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781665902755
  • Grades: 9 and up
  • Ages: 14 - 99
  • Lexile ® HL710L The Lexile reading levels have been certified by the Lexile developer, MetaMetrics®

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Raves and Reviews

"A supersonic thrill ride fueled by every guilty pleasure imaginable. Pure fun!"

David Yoon, author of Frankly in Love

"A fast-paced and engaging thriller that isn't afraid to confront the dark truths about social media and technology. Luna's quest is engaging, twisty, and hits all the right marks for readers looking for stories with twists and turns."

Kathleen Glasgow, New York Time bestselling author of Girl in Pieces

"What. A. Ride. Loved it!"

Susan Lee, author of Seoulmates

Awards and Honors

  • Kansas NEA Reading Circle List High School Title
  • TAYSHAS Reading List (TX)

Resources and Downloads

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