Plot/Idea: Alsever’s finely developed story is one of overcoming stigmas, forgiveness, and self-sacrifice. The plot is delivered with a quick pace, from both past and present perspectives, and the storyline takes shape in an astonishingly creative way.
Prose: The prose is crisp and realistic, particularly in light of the protagonists’ ages. Alsever permeates the text with suspense and intensity, giving readers the opportunity to employ imagination in scene-building.
Originality: The focus on using social media and recorded interviews to deliver the storyline adds an element of creativity, and the finale is wrought through multiple perspectives that all come together smoothly.
Character Development/Execution: Alsever stuns with weighty characters and profound self-exploration. Eva’s fragile façade and desperation will resonate with the intended audience, as will Sophia’s deep-rooted anger at injustice – and the eventual triumph over her own selfishness.
Date Submitted: April 26, 2022
Through clever prose, journal entries, and interview passages, Alsever pieces together a cautionary tale of hero worship, class struggle, wish fulfillment, and young people caught up in social media frenzy. After Eva’s especially cruel steps to destroy Sophia’s life, Sophia is at a breaking point. As part of a class assignment, she documents her frustrations and rage in a journal, believing that “imagination creates reality.” When her fictional revenge against Eva actually starts to come true, Sophia rejoices, until Eva, on a camping trip runs into the woods on a dare and doesn’t come back.
With teenage vernacular and an uncanny insight into teen angst, Alsever accurately captures the insecurities, bullying, class differences, and desire for popularity that plague teenage life. Despite the unfortunate cliché of a Native American curse and the (understandable, from the teens’ perspective) characterization of nearly every adult as either boring or bizarre, the elaborate adventure convincingly follows Sophia through her chaotic life, a newfound opportunity for riches, and reliance on her best friends. Young adult readers will appreciate the revenge fantasy aspects and how Sophia addresses the consequences when they actually happen. Alsever’s steady pacing and authentic characters will keep readers engaged until the satisfying ending.
Takeaway: Young adult readers will savor Sophia’s revenge fantasy and the revelations of what makes a good friendship.
Great for fans of: A.V. Geiger’s Follow Me Back, Michele Leathers’s They All Had A Reason.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A