★★★★★ The Bit Dance by Tilmer Wright, Jr. tells the story of Kayla Henry and her family, focusing on a groundbreaking piece of technology referred to as eDNA that her father Alan and his company develop. Alan is a difficult man to please, and Kayla is constantly hoping and trying to make him proud. When his company manufactures and programs a new toy called the eBot, which uses the new eDNA, Kayla finds herself making improvements to the toy’s inner workings. She adds programming based on the learning abilities of bees to the eDNA, and her programming additions end up allowing the eBots to become sentient. The eBots with their newfound awareness end up being hacked by a Russian man who plots to destroy the United States, and it is up to Kayla and Alan to put a stop to the eBots before they can wreak havoc on humanity.
The Bit Dance portrays Kayla as a likable teenage genius, and her father as a difficult man to get along with. When they end up having to work together to stop the eBots, Kayla is finally able to make her father proud of her. Kayla’s mother Marie and her brother Seth play much smaller roles in the novel, but the Henrys are painted as a fairly normal American family. Alan and Kayla are portrayed as brilliant individuals who excel in the field of technology. Since the novel is so character-driven, it’s wonderful that the author has created three-dimensional people to use as tentpoles for his tale. In the end, this is an intense story of man versus machine that leads to a nail-biting conclusion and will have the reader wondering whether a sequel will follow to further entertain and answer questions left about eBots and eDNA.