I received Antisocial by Jillian Blake through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, and I give it 3/5 stars.
Alexandria Prep is about to be exposed.
Senior spring was supposed to mean 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 perfect 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. (Goodreads)
On the one hand, Antisocial by Jillian Blake was a fun ride where everyone had something to lose, but on the other hand, it had far too many problems, in my opinion, for it to receive a rating over 3 stars.
Let's start with the good parts:
With exception to the main character, Anna, who lacked drive and personality, the rest of the characters were interesting and complex. Over halfway through the book, I forgot Anna even liked art. Her ex-friends, friends, ex-boyfriend, etc., all had passions, though—sports, art, theater, journalism, and hacking. I believed the friendships and relationships.
The story is fast-paced and short. I appreciate a story that gets right down to business and keeps up the momentum.
This isn't a topic I've read much about, so I also appreciated the plot even though it seems to happen to Anna, instead of her creating the plot.
Now to the "bad" parts:
As I said before, the main character lacks drive and personality, and the plot seems to happen to her instead of her forcing the plot.
After the data leaks, there are no repercussions for the truths that are exposed (SPOILER: leaked nude photos of minors and people who did not consent to having the photos taken, outing LGBTQ+ students, etc., including a student who was worried about being outed before he could tell his conservative parents—I mean, what happened there? There was no follow-up on that and it's important.)
Anna creates an art project that isn't believable and feels very heavy-handed/too mature.
The texting/commenting was painfully unaware of the times, which dated the story even farther back than when it was published. No one talks unironically like "I h8 u" anymore.
The friendship/relationship with the love interest was awkward, forced, and felt uncomfortable to "witness" at times.
SPOILER: The handling of what happens to a certain character was not good—there was no school-wide discussion of mental illness despite all the announcements and assemblies about the leaks.
Antisocial by Jillian Blake was published May 16, 2017.