Review of “The Thousandth Floor” by Katharine McGee

24921954

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Pub: August 2016 HarperCollins

New York City as you’ve never seen it before. A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible—if you want it enough.
Welcome to Manhattan, 2118.

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose.
Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.
Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.
Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?
Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.
And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.
Debut author Katharine McGee has created a breathtakingly original series filled with high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, where the impossible feels just within reach. But in this world, the higher you go, the farther there is to fall….”-Summary from Goodreads.com

I had a lot more technical cons than pros for this book. I felt that McGee was much better at world building: she created this rich futuristic environment that was honestly super cool. But, she wasn’t so great at character development. A lot of these characters seemed 1-D, I kept forgetting who was who, and very superficial. Rylin and Eris were the only redeemable ones for me throughout. I can’t say too much about it but Leda’s personality was not super believable. Also we finally get a queer relationship, yay!!! And bi characters are super underrepresented in any fiction. There was some refreshing diversity in characters and relationships.
There isn’t really any action until at least half way through, the whole time I was reading this I just knew that all the action would go down in the last 50 pages as setup for the next book. I find that ultra frustrating, but I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy those last 50 pages. Reading it was a lot of fun.
Lastly, there was quite a bit of obvious foreshadowing. Things like in the beginning Avery says she never wants to fight with Leda because of her revenge fueled personality, and they immediately begin drawing apart. There were a lot of instances of heavy handed foreshadowing and she should trust her readers more/leave more to surprise.
I think the character problems may have been helped with less POVs. But overall, it was a fun read, and I plan on reading the second.
(Also the cover is gorgeous and the inside of the hardcover is literally liquid gold glitter.)

Review of “Everybody Rise” by Stephanie Clifford

Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford
Pub: St. Martin’s Press, Aug. 18th 2015

everybody rise

Rating: 4/5 Stars

“An extraordinary debut novel by New York Times reporter Stephanie Clifford—a Bonfire of the Vanities for the 21st century mixed with Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep and Amor Towles’s Rules of Civility.

It’s 2006 in the Manhattan of the young and privileged, and a new generation of heirs and strivers are jockeying for social power and discovering that class, especially on the Upper East Side, still holds sway.

At 26, Evelyn Beegan is the product of new money, propelled by her social-climbing mother through an elite prep school, a posh college, and into Manhattan. Evelyn has always managed to stay just on the periphery of this world her mother so desperately wants her to become a part of. But when she takes a job at a new social networking site aimed at her very elite peers, she’s forced to leverage her few connections to work her way to the front of the pack. With the help of her prep school friends, Evelyn goes from lush “camps” in the Adirondacks and “cottages” in Newport, to Southampton weekends and clubs thick with socialites and Wall Street types, eventually befriending target #1, Camilla Rutherford—a young woman who is a regular on the front page of every society blog.

In order to be accepted by this rarefied set, Evelyn must be seen as someone with established old money. Her lies start small, but quickly grow, and as she relentlessly elbows her way up the social ladder, the ground underneath her begins to give way.” –Summary provided by Goodreads

I saw this book advertised on Shelf Awareness and immediately added it to my to-read pile. You can imagine my excitement when it popped up on NetGalley and I was immediately approved. Going into this I pictured it to be like a “Gossip Girl” for adults and the description looked like something I would definitely be interested in. I predict that it’s going to be a very successful release.

Growing up in New England helped give me a bit of context for this novel. I do feel as though it is aimed to a very specific audience. But, it is a well-written, well-researched novel and I recommend it. It starts out slow but picks up speed as things start to spiral out of control. I won’t say much more about that, but that’s where the book really gets interesting. I think it was a little bit harder for me to get into in the beginning because I’ve been reading mostly YA which is very plot based and fast paced. (Side note, I apologize for not posting in a long time, after the first House of Night I got sucked into ALL of them and well, nobody wants reviews on every book in a series, because that’s just pointless.) Plus, the beginning is mostly learning about characters and their back stories. Don’t give up though, I promise it gets better.

Clifford really hits the nail on the head with little character intricacies and how all of these people fulfill certain roles, and know their place in society. This is definitely a character based story. One of my favorite topics is when authors delve into the complicated mother-daughter relationship and struggles. At the heart of this book is really a girl who is still trying to impress her mother, who never quite made it into the old-money, social climbing, aristocratic world. Her mother groomed her for the life she always wanted to live.

Evelyn is not really somebody that you feel bad for, it’s kind of a “you made your bed, now sleep in it” situation. But, watching how the society around her and her drive to fit into it changes her is quite intriguing and masterfully done. You can see how she got to where she is and throughout the book I found myself thinking, ohh no honey no. She is a little bit reckless and can be naïve, often losing touch with reality. She would rather escape from her problems than deal with them. Clifford did a good job creating three-dimensional characters.

Something I really liked was that the ending wasn’t perfectly tied up into a nice bow, it’s a little open-ended, which really fits for the book.

I want to leave you with a quote that I think sums up this world of East Coast social elite that’s pretty early on in the book: “Without any actual aristocracy in America, the best those who wanted to be upper class could do was create systems of exclusivity and codes of conduct.”

Any thoughts?

Review of “Material Girls” by Elaine Dimopoulos

Material Girls by Elaine Dimopoulos

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Children’s Group, Pub May 5, 20154

19104936

Rating 4.5/5 Stars

“In Marla Klein and Ivy Wilde’s world, teens are the gatekeepers of culture. A top fashion label employs sixteen-year-old Marla to dictate hot new clothing trends, while Ivy, a teen pop star, popularizes the garments that Marla approves. Both girls are pawns in a calculated but seductive system of corporate control, and both begin to question their world’s aggressive levels of consumption. Will their new “eco-chic” trend subversively resist and overturn the industry that controls every part of their lives?
Smart, provocative, and entertaining, this thrilling page-turner for teens questions the cult like mentality of fame and fashion. Are you in or are you out?” –Goodreads

I really really loved this book. I went into it pretty excited because when I was a teenager I was sucked into the “Clique” and “Gossip Girl” series. I loved this world of high fashion and luxury because it was so alluring. I received an email from Netgalley to review this book and seeing the title and the description I thought it would be kind of similar to the aforementioned books. But, it was so much more than that! I can understand why they marketed it the way they did and chose the title “Material Girls” because it is a great title and it certainly draws in readers, but don’t judge it by that.

This book, like so many other popular YA novels, deals with a corrupt futuristic society. I think this trend is so interesting because it shows how we as a society are worried about what’s to come. The “Silents” run this world, and are basically the invisible faces and millionaire gatekeepers behind the creative, money-making industries. In 7thgrade these kids get “tapped” to go into creative industries and whoever doesn’t make it is an “adequate” and does all the other ‘boring’ jobs. Everybody wants to be in the creative industry. But, as it turns out, everything is fake. Trends, celebrity relationships and personas all created for the public consumption. Kind of reminds me of “Josie and the Pussycats”. Remember that movie?

What really drew me in was the writing. It turns out that the author, Elaine Dimopoulos, is well-educated and it shows (she went to Yale, Columbia and Simmons). She also did her research, which is shown in the sources list at the end of the book. The style is easy enough for its audience, young adults, to understand, but is in no way superficial or dumbed down. The pacing is exciting, the book is fun, and the characters are great. (I loved Vivienne!). It’s certainly a creative, fresh take on the future. It shows us that teens can make a difference in this world and make their voices heard.

Something really refreshing about this book was the ending. It isn’t tied with a bow, happy ever after. Things aren’t completely resolved and I’m totally OK with that. Because real life isn’t like that. The whole message of this book is in a line Vivenne says (I cut out some middle parts so as not to spoil anything): Change doesn’t happen overnight, Marla. Sometimes it takes a hundred years, sometimes more. Believe me, people saw what we did. For three days, the whole world stopped and paid attention…then there will be someone else to pick up the fight, and that person will make another small dent. And so on. We pound and we pound until everything comes crashing down.”

Make waves, question the power, and be the change you want to see in the world. Great read, highly recommended for teens and adults alike. I think this is going to be a really popular book.

Any thoughts?