Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Review: "The Society" by Jodie Andrefski (YA)

The Society
by Jodie Andrefski

Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: YA - Young Adult
Publication Date: May 3, 2016

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Description from Publisher: "Welcome to Trinity Academy’s best-kept secret.

The Society.

You’ve been handpicked by the elite of the elite to become a member. But first you’ll have to prove your worth by making it through Hell Week.

Do you have what it takes?

It’s time to find out."

Samantha Evans knows she’d never get an invite to rush the Society—not after her dad went to jail for insider trading. But after years of relentless bullying at the hands of the Society’s queen bee, Jessica, she’s ready to take down Jessica and the Society one peg at a time from the inside out.

All it’ll take is a bit of computer hacking, a few fake invitations, some eager rushees…and Sam will get her revenge.

Let the games begin.

My Rating:
Sexiness Rating:
I received a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.com for an honest, unbiased review. My opinion is my own.

This story surprised me with just how hard it hit home. I could really relate to Samantha (sharing her name likely didn't hurt). I've experienced bullying, in jr. high, though nothing quite on the level in the book. But it was also during a time that my family fell apart, making it that much worse (as it did for Sam). So this story really struck a chord with me, even almost 20 years later. (Yup, I'm "old." ;) ).

That said, I didn't really understand her anger and motive for revenge. I realize that's a personal thing and people deal with adversity differently (the Colombine shooting being an example of extreme anger and just how bullying can create even more tragic situations than in this story). But I have always felt, even at 12, that being happy is truly the best revenge. At 12-13, I pitied my bullies, 2 of which were best friends who turned on me simply for not conforming, knowing they would someday cringe when they thought of how they treated me. I do realize that I am only one variety of victim, but this did make it harder to relate to.

There were parts that felt juvenile or contrived that didn't sit well with me as well. The fact that high school senior Jessica apparently ran "The Society" and everything being so easy to spoil was too convenient and unbelievable to me. The pranks were a bit over-the-top at times, while otherwise feeling weak (Jump out and scare her? I don't understand how her reaction would be humiliating). I also feel some scene involving the school actually dismissing all of Jessica's bullying would have been good. It's hard to believe that a school would completely ignore something like that. Brush it under the rug and avoid doing anything about it, yes (Been there, unfortunately). Ignore without even a "Kids are kids" attitude? Not so much.

Many of the characters could have used more depth, though I could see that convoluting the story. The HEA ending felt disappointing, though mostly just a little rushed. I wouldn't have minded this being darker. It has almost a "Heathers" vibe.

Overall, I liked this. The message was one that I think is important. I hope it helps others see what bullying feels like for the victim, while also reminding the victim that revenge usually just means becoming your enemy.

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