Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Top 8 by Katie Finn

Nowadays everyone has a Myspace, Facebook, or Twitter, thereby exposing themselves to the world and this novel helps expose the risks involved in having such a website. As eye opening as the novel is in terms of the risks of such sites, this novel is still just another teen novel with a lovesick teenager.

Madison's life revolved around her Friendverse (a fictional social networking site). When she leaves for a spring break trip without the Internet, she returns to discover that her site had been hacked. Not only had humiliating pictures been posted, but the hacker wrote blogs the divulged secrets from her friends, personal and harsh opinions of others, and nasty comments that led to the breakup of not only two friends, but Madison and her new boyfriend Justin. Madison then spends the novel trying to clear her name, find the person responsible and get back together with Justin. Soon, though, the cute guy from her spring break shows up in her life and she begins to wonder if maybe he's a better match than Justin. As the suspects dwindle and the hacker reappears, she begins to see who her true friends are and the power of words, even if they're not spoken to your face.

If you get past the teen boy crazy angst and annoying abbreviations and constant use of French that is never translated, the book has a good message or two. First, there's the evils of social networking and how people shouldn't let their lives revolve around it. Anyone can be anyone else online and you'd never know the truth. An evil hacker can be mistaken for a sweet innocent girl. Second, words said to a few people are just as bad a words spread over the Internet. Every bad thing written on Madison's page were words/secrets she'd spread to a select few friends and she didn't see them as wrong until she saw the damage that they did. Also, don't like a guy/girl just because they're good looking, make sure you have things in common. This isn't a big message of the novel, but it's still there.

Without the grand messages this book spreads, there's not much too it. There is the mystery as to the hacker's identity and the new cute boy and the fact that her friend starts acting weird. I felt, though, that the message is really what drove the book home. Overall, it's just a fluffy read, but sometimes there's nothing wrong with that, especially if it has a lesson to teach.