Book Review: Antisocial by Jillian Blake

Posted May 11, 2017 by Kara in book review, Kara / 3 Comments

Book Review: Antisocial by Jillian BlakeAntisocial by Jillian Blake
Published by Delacorte Press on May 16th 2017
Genres: young adult, contemporary
Pages: 256
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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four-stars

Alexandria Prep is hacked in this exhilarating whodunit set in the age of social media and the cloud—Pretty Little Liars meets WikiLeaks.
Senior spring at Alexandria Prep was supposed to be for sleeping through class and partying with friends. But for Anna Soler, it’s going to be a lonely road. She’s just been dumped by her gorgeous basketball star boyfriend—with no explanation. Anna’s closest friends, the real ones she abandoned while dating him, are ignoring her. The endearing boy she’s always had a complicated friendship with is almost too sympathetic.
But suddenly Anna isn’t the only one whose life has been upended. Someone is determined to knock the kings and queens of the school off their thrones: one by one, their phones get hacked and their personal messages and photos are leaked. At first it’s funny—people love watching the dirty private lives of those they envy become all too public.
Then the hacks escalate. Dark secrets are exposed, and lives are shattered. Chaos erupts at school. As Anna tries to save those she cares about most and to protect her own secrets, she begins to understand the reality of our always-connected lives:
Sometimes we share too much.

First things first. Trigger warnings for suicide, doxing, and a short self-harm scene. None of it was promoted as positive or romanticized–it was just there.

This book was fantastic. High school can be a really tough place for many people. I know it was tough for me, and I went to high school before the age of social media, where any rumor can be spread with the click of a button faster than a bully can trip a kid in the hallway, sending their books flying.

In an internet age, when almost our entire life history can be found online, it’s easy to fear being hacked. Heck, I bet every single person reading this review at least knows OF someone that has had their personal information hacked. I, myself, had my checking account information stolen due to malware on my husband’s computer. Well, that’s what happens in Antisocial. It starts out with just the popular kids being hacked, but then it starts to spread to the entire student body. All their text messages and photos are posted online for the entire school to see.

It wasn’t a perfect book, and some stuff bothered me, (the way Anna’s character was written didn’t feel genuine to me) but there has to be something said for compulsive readability and the fact that I read this in less than a day. I don’t know how long it’s been since I finished a book that fast.

Also, bonus points for covering many difficult topics that are relevant to teenagers, and covering them in a tactful and educational way without coming off preachy or like the book has a moral message to impart.

Edited to add: One of the things that bothered me was Anna’s social anxiety. It’s not that it wasn’t handled well–it was, and I can say that with confidence because I am a sufferer of SAD. But there were times that I felt like the author was bringing up Anna’s social anxiety in a way that felt forced and didn’t fit with her character. It was mentioned SO often that it started to feel a bit unnatural. Social anxiety affects a lot of things in a person’s life, but it is not the ONLY thing that Anna is, and it sort of came off that way to me.

3 responses to “Book Review: Antisocial by Jillian Blake

  1. I really liked this book too– I almost couldn’t stop reading it. Not that I’m a voyeur, but it is hard to look away when ALL that stuff is out there about someone. I almost thought I wasn’t going to like it because I wasn’t clicking with Anna in the beginning (and I don’t have SAD, but something about her descriptions of it felt off– or maybe it’s what you said, that’s ALL she was), but I got over it as the plot heated up. Great review!!
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