Author: Gretchen McNeil
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense
Hardcover, 352 Pages
Publication: August 7, 2018 by Freeform
Source: I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.
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?
#Murdertrending is pitched as The Purge meets Scream meets The Hunger Games, which I must say is an appropriate and accurate description. McNeil throws readers right into the fray as our main character, Dee, wakes up imprisoned on the infamous game show app island Alcatraz 2.0 for murdering her sister. An island full of convicts; whom are hunted by a group of sadistic killers. The popular show has a cult following of millions of viewers that are watching 24/7 but what they don’t know is that these convicts are actually not convicts at all and it’s up to Dee to expose the truth and to find her sister’s murderer.
#Murdertrending is a Young Adult novel but McNeil doesn’t shy away from the gruesome details…if you thought The Hunger Games was gory and brutal, then you haven’t seen anything yet. The concept of the novel is by no means new, hence the comparisons mentioned in the previous paragraph. But McNeil still created an engaging story with distinct characters full of twist and turns. To make this book even more relevant to our day and age, readers will find conversation threads/Chatroom-IM from viewers to see their point-of-view on what is happening on the show. I really liked the addition; it was fun reading everyone reactions and hypothesis.
Dee was a good but not unique main character. I thought her falling into her role as Cinderella Survivor and dispatching seasoned killers was far too easy and unrealistic. The other characters that Dee end up meeting on the island while all distinct, all played into their basic roles; we had the hot babe, the jock, the nerd and the introvert which can be found in most stories in some form or another. All good of course, but in my opinion it could have been better or more fleshed out. While some things were cliche or predictable, the mystery was executed perfectly and the twist at the end was a pleasant surprise because I definitely didn’t see it coming. All in all, I enjoyed #Murdertrending, it was a quick and light read. I would certainly recommend this book for the older audience of YA (16-18 years old).