book review

Antisocial by Jillian Blake

29905900

Release Date: May 16, 2017

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.

3

*eARC was provided by the publisher Delacorte Press via NetGalley in exchanged for an honest and unbiased review.

It was pitched as Pretty Little Liars meets WikiLeaks, which catch my attention right away and made me request for it. I may not be a huge fan of the show but I’ve seen enough episodes to hold my interest and it intrigues me on how things will play out on Antisocial.

Let me give a short rundown of the story. It is a start of school after the Christmas break at Alexandria Prep and Anna Soler is not one bit thrilled to be back. Over the break, her popular jock boyfriend, Palmer, broke up with her for an unknown reason and she’s pretty sure everyone at school is talking about it. Not only that, now that she and Palmer are history, she can’t possibly hang out with the popular squad. They are Palmer’s squad anyway. Without anyone else to turn to, she doesn’t have a choice but to go back to her old friends whom she abandoned when she started dating the most popular guy in school. Not cool, Anna. And though they didn’t kick her out of the group, they didn’t welcome her with open arms either. Which is understandable. But she is willing to do whatever it takes to gain their trust again. Even if it means seeing her ex-boyfriend again often. It is a tough time for Anna and it is not easy for her to deal with that kind of stress especially for someone with anxiety disorder. Thankfully, Jethro Stephens is there for her. The guy who she has a “complicated” friendship with.

But things will not get easier for Anna. There’s a hacker who managed to crack the school’s server and shared all the internet searches the students made. Everyone started making assumptions on who (not the hacker) searches what. But the hacker is not done.It looks like it is someone who is determined to knock off the popular kids by revealing their secrets, photos, and personal messages. At first, students find it amusing to see the popular crowd being subjected to such spectacles. But as it goes on, it started targeting just about anyone at Alexandria Prep including one of Anna’s best friend, chaos ensued. No one’s secret is safe. Just when things are starting to get back to how they were with her friends, Anna is faced with the fear that her secrets will be the next to be exposed. A secret that might possibly ruin her friendship for good. What more, two in her group of friends are the suspect for hacking.

The plot for Antisocial got a lot of potentials and somehow it did manage to get its message across. It may not be as impressive as I thought it would be but still an interesting take on the life of high school students in the time of extensive social media use. The high school stereotyping scenario is a bit overused but I’ve come to make peace that it is necessary. Anna as the main character is okay, nothing exceptional. And though I sympathize with her social anxiety disorder, I feel like she is inconsistent sometimes with it. I am not knowledgeable with the disorder at all, it is just merely an opinion based on what I read. The author did handle the issue of anxiety pretty well, though.  

I like how there’s diversity of characters, Anna herself is half-Columbian. Like the main character, the supporting characters are all okay. No one really stands out and I can’t connect with any of them. Well, maybe aside from Haven, he is funny and smart and one of the suspected hacker. Also, I am not so sold on how everything was solved. I know it’s supposed to be inspiring or whatever but it just didn’t work for me. I am not moved at all. But I like how the story ends, not perfect but very realistic.  

The exposing of the secrets are the one I can say I liked reading. It is interesting to see what dark secrets the teenagers are keeping. From drug use, illicit relationship and one’s sexual identity. It is also interesting how they react on such occasion that their secrets were exposed. Some shrug it off but there are some who exposed others, too, not caring if they are their friends.Which when you think about it, actually happens in real life.

Antisocial is a reminder for everyone of us who uses not only the social media but the internet in general, on how easy it is for hackers to obtain information on people. So, yeah, let’s be careful. Overall, it is still a good read what with the lesson of the story. It tackles relevant issues most teens are facing nowadays where social acceptance is so important for them. If you are looking for a fun, light read this is not your book. I may not enjoy it as much but maybe it will appeal more to young adults as they can relate more to the story.  

RATING: 3.5/5

3andhalfhearts

des-pink

(*Photos and synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

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