BOOK REVIEW: The 100 Society by Carla Spradbery

BOOK REVIEW: The 100 Society by Carla Spradbery

Hodder Childrens
November 2014
Paperback, $15.99 AUD
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell

3/10

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For sixth-form student Grace Becker, The 100 Society is more than just a game; it’s an obsession. Having convinced her five friends at Clifton Academy to see it through to the end, Grace will stop at nothing to carry out the rules of the game: tagging 100 locations around the city. With each step closer to the 100-mark they get, the higher the stakes become. But when the group catches the attention of a menacing stalker – the Reaper – he seems intent on exposing their illegal game, tormenting Grace with anonymous threats and branding their dormitory doors with his ominous tag.
As the once tight-knit group slowly unravels, torn apart by doubt and the death of a student, they no longer know who to trust.
With time running out, Grace must unmask the Reaper before he destroys everything she cares about for ever…

 

This book reads like the slasher movies that were so big fifteen years ago. Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and so on. In fact, one scene in particular seems very similar to an integral scene in I Know What You Did Last Summer.

There’s a formula to those movies and, for a reader who has never watched a single one of those movies, this book probably does carry a few shocks. But for those of us who know the genre, and have read and watched similar things before, this book is rather predictable.
Add to that the fact that it was angst ridden, the characters were all over-pronounced and unnatural, and the story followed a main character who kept doing stupid things and then wondering why people reacted the way they did, and it all made for a pretty annoying read.

It was really hard to invest in the characters or the story, when we were told so much, and shown so little:

– The friendship between Grace, Trick, Faith, Pete, Ed, and Cassie, was apparently strong. We’re told numerous times throughout the book how close Grace is with these five classmates who are helping her get into the 100 Society, but we’re never shown it.

And when the friendships in the book seemed to count for so little to Grace: 

– Grace assured Faith that she and Pete were just friends, and encouraged Faith to admit her own feelings for Pete, which she did. But then Grace continued to friend-zone, then lead on, then friend-zone Pete again, until Faith lost it at her, shouted at her to tell Pete the truth, and then stormed off.
Grace’s response to this was, ‘Where did all that come from?’

Even the way the characters interacted with technology seemed to be more in line with those nineties movies than current day teenagers:

– At one point, the most tech savvy of their group made a comment about how the headmaster couldn’t have found the blog on which they posted all the pictures of their tags because it was too deeply buried. Their blog, which was visible to the general public. Online.

– Later on, when unwanted pictures appeared on their blog, the same guy removed them by doing a whole lot of typing. Now, I can understand needing to type a lot of code in the design of a website, but the removal of pictures should be a lot more straight forward than that. And, even if it did have anything to do with coding in this situation, it would be the deleting of the code, rather that the typing of it, to remove said images.

– Further to this, Grace has been getting messages from a mysterious someone, and when she finds herself in a life and death situation, she uses her phone to call the number, to see who might be in on the attack against her friends. The call goes through, so we know her phone works. But does she use it to call for help, or to let people know where she is? Or, failing that, to record the conversation as proof of who it was killing off her friends? Not so much.

The pacing did pick up in the last eighty pages or so, but there was nothing particularly stand-out about this read.

In short, read this if you’re craving some good old nineties slasher fun, or those old “Point Crime” books, but not if you’re craving something new and different. 

 

BOOK REVIEW: The 100 Society by Carla Spradbery

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