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#Murdertrending by Gretchen McNeil
Publication: August 7th, 2018
Genre: Ya Horror/Thriller, Satire
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?
Add on: Goodreads
Thank you to NetGalley, the publishers, and the author for allowing me to review this book in exchange for an honest review.
Picture a world where your president is a reality TV star. Now picture that same world where that same president makes some terrible decisions about the criminal justice system and hands the keys over to a different reality TV star. Are you nervous yet? Gretchen McNeil created a story that 100% plays up some crazy stuff going on in over very own government but with a sinister twist. The year is somewhere in the near future and we follow the main character, Dee Guerrera, as she fights to prove her innocence on a murderous island. Some man called The Postman created a new jail system that lets citizens go on an app and watch live executions of convicted felons. The app has millions of views daily, the executioners have crazed fan clubs and merchandise, and the convicts face torturous deaths at the hands of people named The Hardy Girls, Prince Slayer, and many more crazies. The island is called Alcatraz 2.0 and is located off the coast of San Francisco. Our main character Dee finds her self there despite being wrongfully convicted for the death of her sister Monica. Dee and some other inmates that fans dub, #DeathRowBreakfastClub, have to fight for their lives because things aren’t always what they seem on reality TV. Also, The Postman creates stories for the inmates that they have to live out while on the island. Dee is a princess, wardrobe and all. This is YA but this is YA Horror and it doesn’t shy away. There is gore, blood, and gruesome deaths. But it is also so funny. McNeil literally created The Purge meets The Breakfast Club. The plot will have you second guessing everything and solving the case like Spencer Reid in Criminal Minds. I always love when an author can completely shock me and really surprise me with their twists and turns. I saw none of the twists and turns coming besides the ones the author allowed me to. And the ending set me up for the perfect WHAT moment that had me running to add the sequel to my to-read list on Goodreads.
The writing was really good for the genre and plot. It didn’t need world-building or stunning prose. It didn’t need to be this methodical piece of literature that I could break down and decipher. It was just perfect with what I was promised. It was YA so, I got witty teens that can’t help but say a wise-ass remark to a psychotic killer because why the hell not? It was a mystery so, I got twists and turns that left me second guessing things and trying to piece everything together with Dee. It was a horror so, I got the gore, sketchy scenes, sketchy people, double meaning dialogue, blood, and crazies in masks. It was a comedy so, I got hilarious teens trying to stay alive, be subtle with romance, and of course, make fun of each other. Lastly, it was a satire, so I got a story that used irony and comedy to create a conversation about our presidency and people’s sensationalism and desensitization towards violence. Every genre that this falls under had exactly what it was supposed to. The dialogue was engaging and interesting. The voices of the teens really reminded me of the breakfast club teens. The violent scenes were like something out of Saw/The Purge/The Strangers/Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I honestly could see this series become a movie because it was so good. Everything was clear and easy to read. And as a social app and a story about society and use of technology I LOVED the tweets and forums throughout the story. Yes, there is minor romance. When I say minor I mean minor. It is barely there and really doesn’t take away from the plot at all which in this type of story is very refreshing.
Characters (In quotes is who they would be in The Breakfast Club)
Dee is 18-years-old. Her name and her real name (read to find out) sound Latinx so I think it is safe to assume she is Latinx. Which is really exciting representation for me and makes me excited that the author made this choice. What I really loved about her character is she is truly a regular teen trying to survive. I mean her part in The Postman’s game was the princess (Claire- the princess). The author did not make her some warrior ready to take on killers. She never held a weapon and she did not magically know how to fight. She survived because of her will to survive and her brain. It felt more realistic that those she killed died because of how she thought things out rather than her fight them head-on. Nyles (Andrew- the geek) is a British teen who had been on the island the longest out of the group. He is kind of nerdy but he is so cute and full of optimism. But he has moments where he gets serious and you see a different side of him. Griselda (Bender- criminal) is literally Bender from The Breakfast Club. She mocks Dee, calls her princess, has snarky remarks but, deep down she has a heart and we get to see it at moments. She was so funny honestly lol. Ethan (Brian-the jock) was honestly my favorite. He was a big buff dork. He quotes movies all day which hey I do that to so we would be best friends. He is fearless and dives head into things to protect his friends. Mara (Allison- the basket case) was Dee’s neighbor on Alcatraz 2.0. She was shy, quiet, and knew the most about all of The Postman’s hired killers. I won’t say much about the antagonist but just know you are not ready and again nothing is as it seems. I loved this group. They were funny and filled these hilarious stereotypes but at the same time, they were completely unique and not the stereotypes. You have to read it people trust me.