All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Top 8 – Katie Finn

on November 29, 2010

I have to say that I’m extremely glad I graduated high school before the Myspace craze took over and it was all about who was on your friends list and how many friends you had, who was in your Top 8 and whose Top 8 you were in. When I was in high school the internet was almost a foreign thing in Australia, especially high speed internet! We got dial up when I was about 16 and my brother and I were restricted to 1hr each per night because it tied up the phone line! When I was first ‘online’, ICQ chat was all the rage! Then along came MSN and kinda blew ICQ out of the water but thankfully, I was in my early 20’s before social networking sites such as Myspace exploded.

Madison McDonald is 16, pretty, popular, has the perfect boyfriend (of just 17 days and counting!) and obsessed with Friendsverse, which is the new Facebook, which was the new Myspace. She loves checking her profile, updating her status and re-arranging her Top 8 friends. When her parents announce that the whole family is going on a cruise around the Galapagos Islands for Spring Break, Madison isn’t all that excited because there’s no internet on the boat and she can’t check her Friendsverse profile for two weeks!

When she does arrive home, the first thing she does is log on. When she loads up her Friendsverse page, she is horrified! Not only is the picture one of the most unflattering of her ever taken, her whole profile has been changed! Her profile was hacked while she was away and it gets worse – whoever hacked it let some secrets out of the bag that Madison was privy to and left some very insulting or suggestive messages on the pages of her friends. Madison finds out that a lot of people at her school are very angry with her right now and whoever hacked her profile also broke up with her boyfriend over Friendsverse!

Madison is determined to find out who hacked her profile and tried to ruin her life. But first she has to repair some damage done by the hacker and learn a few lessons about herself along the way. There’s also the rather cute boy who was on the Galapagos Islands tour with his family that turns out to live just one town over, who keeps bobbing up and confusing things. Madison already had the perfect boyfriend and she’s determined to get him back – so why does she keep thinking about Nate?

I borrowed this book on a whim, because I like reading books that are in slightly different formats. This one utilises a layout like a social networking page, giving us a look at Madison’s profile, Nate’s, the comments her and her friends leave each other, their status updates and chats, etc amongst the more traditional story layout. What I wasn’t prepared for was how much I enjoyed the story. Madison has her flaws – she has been confided in by her fellow students on certain things, and even though she ‘promises’ not to tell anyone, she does tell some people. She tries to justify this saying that she would never put it on the internet, but she has still betrayed confidences. It gives her a clue though that the hacker must be someone who knows the things she knows, and who as someone in the book puts it ‘cares enough about you to do something like this’. It’s then that Madison realises it isn’t just someone who holds a small grudge against her, or someone who did it for fun. It’s something much more than that.

I didn’t pick the hacker! I thought it was someone else for most of the book and when Madison figured out who it was I was pretty surprised. What I really liked about this book was the underlying messages of being genuine. Madison thinks that she did nothing wrong by telling ‘a few people’ what others had told her – but she soon found out that all it takes is telling one person and you could be branded untrustworthy forever. Eventually she comes to see the error of her ways in talking about people behind their back and sharing the secrets of others and she learns a lesson that encourages her to be upfront about her mistakes and apologise to everyone. This book is also a bit of a warning to be careful about what you put online and how people can access it if you’re not careful! It’s a pretty relevant topic in this day and age where everyone is online and it’s very easy to find out information about people without leaving your house. Teenagers especially are pretty free with putting their lives in all their glory – the good, the bad and the ugly online and I’ve seen many a facebook status argument that has turned into an airing of dirty laundry for everyone involved.

Sometimes I read novels with teen protagonists and think ‘I know it was quite a while since I was a teen, but seriously, they do not talk/behave like that’. The danger can be having 16yos that act like they’re 25 in an attempt to produce a grown up and interesting story that will pull in the older crowd as well. I think that this story does really nail how teenagers act these days – the dialogue was good, current without being too pop culture, the actions believable. Madison was likable and fun, despite her flaws and her determination to fix things was admirable. She never gave up, even when everyone was shutting her down and I admired her for that. The cast of supporting characters were fun and the sort of people you might like to have had as friends yourself, especially Nate! And as for the culprit – that’s believable too. I’d say there’s many a teenage girl, past and present, that can testify to that, myself included.

I see there’s a sequel to this novel called What’s Your St@tus. Think I’ll be reading that too for more on Madison and Co.


Book #99 of my 100 Book Challenge

2 responses to “Top 8 – Katie Finn

  1. Certainly a nice cautionary tale for teens to read, I think. Gah, I’d be so nervous if someone did that to me, and I’m equally ecstatic that went I went to high school in the ’80s, I never had to worry about any “statuses” or how many friends I had on Facebook. Much more comfortable to do this all in my thirties, you know?

  2. Oh definitely! High school was hard enough without the added stresses that technology seems to bring these days. Cyber bullying is rampant here and it is so sneaky and nasty because people don’t have to put their names to it and can use so many methods to be anonymous and do stuff they wouldn’t dare do in person. I’m -so- glad that I never had that to contend with. Facebook is just a communication tool for me now, a way to stay in touch with family and friends now that I’m interstate. But I can see how it could be used for so much more.

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