Let me get this out of the way first. I wanted to LOVE this book. I was looking forward to reading it. The plot sounded fantastic. And the PLOT was really good. BUT.
Oh. My. GAWD. Someone stop me from reaching into this book and strangling Tori. Please. Violence of any sort should not be tolerated against a fictional character.
Tori Spring is stumbling through her last years in high school, not really fitting in, not really caring one way or the other. Her brother Charlie has some mental health issues that are never really explained, her mother is remote. She chances upon a website, Solitaire, that wants to challenge authority and make change at her school – but essentially, it goads teens into mob-like behaviour and mocks authority. She makes it her mission to find out who is behind it, as the behaviour escalates and people get hurt.
I know I’m supposed to be sympathetic to her character, but I just can’t. Sheesh. What a self-absorbed WHINER. Bitter, pessimistic, judgmental, toxic, pretentious, and convinced she is the only human out there that understands life. Enough with the teenage angst and no one understands me and I blog all the time and I hate reading and my life sucks and you’re too good for me and no one is real except me and I don’t like anyone. My mother is insufferable, my father recommends books to me. Poor me.
Look. We were all misunderstood teens at some point or another. But Victoria Spring takes it to a whole new level. And I can’t decide whether that is awesome or not – is it worse to intensely hate a character, or to feel ambivalent about one? Author Alice Oseman obviously can evoke emotion in her writing!
I wasn’t a huge fan of any of the characters, really, although I seemed more drawn to the ones Tori judged unworthy of her attention.
The funny thing is that the story itself was very compelling. I wanted to find out what Solitaire was, and who was behind it, and why. The idea is interesting; are today’s teens really just social media sheep? Is that really all it takes to incite violence? It didn’t seem totally unlikely. But the execution is painful at times. (For example: blasting one song all day over the school’s PA system that no one can stop? Ever heard of the “off” switch? Maybe pull the plug?)
Don’t even ask me about the supposed love triangle/interests, I have no idea. I’d smack all three of them and move on.
Any teen can read this, and maybe some will want to, if only to feel better about their own lives.
Solitaire is published by Harper Collins Children’s Books.