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Eleven-year-old Georgina Santos has always longed for a dog. Shaggy mutt Mr. Mash steals her heart, but unfortunately, the twosome can only meet during Georgie’s volunteer shifts at St. Woof’s shelter. On a beach outing with the shelter dogs, Georgie and her best friend, Ramzy Rahman, meet eccentric game developer Dr. Emilia Pretorius. The fortuitous run-in leads to the pair’s unwittingly participating in Dr. Pretorius’ greatest work, the Big Experiment, testing her multisensory virtual-reality environments. When Georgie’s oversight in hygiene protocols at St. Woof’s leads to the spread of canine-borne Ebola, Dr. Pretorius’ Big Experiment might just be the key to ending the pandemic. Adventures ensue as Georgie and her pals race to retrieve a cure. Welford presents a fast-paced, female-driven STEM adventure in which short chapters that jump back and forth through time keep the plot moving, teasing the story of how everything came to be and keeping readers in suspense. Georgie has dark curly hair and light brown eyes; Ramzy comes from an unnamed war-torn country that no longer exists. Dr. Pretorius is a Black woman whose Afro is commented upon frequently, and her blue eyes cause Georgie to stare and squeak in surprise—a treatment that feels othering. The initial spread of the disease from a Chinese family to a shelter dog may not land well in the current environment.

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