Thursday, August 9, 2018

Book Review: #murdertrending

Title: #murdertrending
Author: Gretchen McNeil
Genre: Young Adult | Thriller
Publisher: Freeform
Publication Date: August 7, 2018

Source: Publisher
Format: ARC

WELCOME TO THE NEAR FUTURE, where good and honest 8/18 citizens can enjoy watching the executions of society’s most infamous convicted felons, streaming live on The Postman app from the suburbanized prison island Alcatraz 2.0.
When eighteen-year-old Dee Guerrera wakes up in a haze, lying on the ground of a dimly lit warehouse, she realizes she’s about to be the next victim of the app. Knowing hardened criminals are getting a taste of their own medicine in this place is one thing, but Dee refuses to roll over and die for a heinous crime she didn’t commit. Can Dee and her newly formed posse, the Death Row Breakfast Club, prove she’s innocent before she ends up wrongfully murdered for the world to see? Or will The Postman’s cast of executioners kill them off one by one (goodreads)?


#murdertrending was shocking but believable.
Plot: Gretchen McNeil snapped with this one. In a not so distant future, the United States elected its first reality-star president who sold the Department of Justice off to an entertainment company. Thus was the end of due process and the beginning of Big Brother-style murders. 

As a fan of McNeil's other thrillers, I was instantly drawn to the author's take on reality TV/The Breakfast Club/social media. The basis for the plot was fascinating, but the pacing was just a bit off for me. The first half was mostly Dee getting acclimated to Alcatraz 2.0 and then McNeil hit the ground running and didn't quite let up. While the ending was exciting, the wrap-up felt a bit far-fetched and rushed.

Characters: Dee had a hard life. Her father had to relocate them across the country, her stepsister was found murdered, and she was charged with said murder. I wouldn't say that Dee had much development, but I liked how McNeil slowly unraveled her past. My favorite characters were her fellow inmates at Alcatraz 2.0, some of them read like caricatures, but they were fun and brought some humor to the murder and social commentary. 

Worldbuilding: What made #murdertrending so trippy was that it didn't feel too far-fetched. McNeil perfectly captured internet culture and how desensitized we've become to the horrors of the world. I wanted to explore the bizarre world of Alcatraz 2.0 where inmates worked 9-5 jobs and tried to outrun state-funded serial killers a bit more. The most we got was Dee's workplace (a delightful ice cream shoppe) and her home. 

Short N Sweet: #murdertrending was a great idea but the execution didn't leave me feeling satisfied. 


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