Review: Virtually Me

Title: Virtually Me
Author: Chad Morris, Shelly Brown
Genre: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: February 7, 2023
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

A mysterious package. 
A new school.
A chance to be someone new.

A new virtual reality school where students get a fresh start.

The pandemic was rough on everyone, especially since school went from being a fun place where you could hang out with your friends to a bunch of heads in small rectangles all trying to talk at once. For Bradley, Edelle, Hunter, Jasper, and Keiko, that’s about to change.

A mysterious box arrives at each of their houses, and they’re invited to attend a virtual school. More than just being online, they’ll be able to create an avatar of themselves and interact with their friends and other classmates in real time using VR headsets.

For each of them, that presents an opportunity to become someone they’re not, or someone they haven’t been. For Bradley, it’s a chance to come out of a self-imposed shell. Edelle hopes everyone will see her for who she really is, not just for how she looks. Hunter is looking forward to pretending he’s still the person he was last year. Jasper wants to get over past assumptions. And for Keiko, it’ll allow her to disappear into the crowd.

For all of them, it’s a chance to see just how much they’ve assumed about each other in the past and maybe an opportunity to become friends.


The pandemic changed school, going from in person to online. At the start of the school year, some kids have decided to attend a virtual reality school. They are sent a headset and accessories to attend the school from their homes. Each student can create an avatar and name to represent themselves in the game. It can be created from real photos or made up. Bradley, Edelle, and Hunter all came from the same school to attend this virtual reality school, but they don’t realize they know each other. Bradley and Edelle both have fresh starts, using avatars that don’t look like their real selves. Meanwhile, Hunter has changed in real life, but he’s masquerading as the same person in the VR school. Though they each have a different reason for attending a virtual school, they each have to deal with different problems in this new environment. 

This is a great story about contemporary issues. The pandemic changed the way school is taught, and I think the effects of that will be felt for many years to come. There have also been new opportunities for learning such as a virtual option. This story took it a step further by having students act like they were at a real school with a virtual reality set rather than sitting in front of a screen all day. 

Bradley, Edelle, and Hunter each had different reasons for attending a virtual school. Bradley was uncomfortable with the way he looked and wanted to get away from the bullies from school. He gave himself a completely different look and persona with his avatar at the new school. Edelle got in trouble for bullying a girl at school, and her mom wanted her to learn to be less superficial. She gave her avatar a plainer look that didn’t have the beautifully styled appearance that she liked to have in real life. Hunter decided to attend virtual school because he had developed alopecia and he was uncomfortable with the way he looked. He made his avatar look like he did the year before at school. It was interesting to see how a new appearance at school made the kids behave differently. However, they still had to deal with the same school problems like bullying and peer pressure. 

Virtually Me is a great new middle grade story!

Thank you Shadow Mountain for sending me a copy of this book.

What to read next:

Mustaches for Maddie by Chad Morris, Shelly Brown

Have you read Virtually Me? What did you think of it?


Author: jilljemmett

Jill lives in Toronto, Canada. She has studied English, Creative Writing, and Publishing. Jill is the creator and content producer of Jill’s Book Blog, where she has published a blog post every day for the last four years, including 5-7 book reviews a week. She can usually be found with her nose in a book.

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