Author: Caragh M. O’Brien
Publication Date: September 16, 2014
“The Forge School is the most prestigious arts school in the country. The secret to its success: every moment of the students’ lives is televised as part of the insanely popular Forge Show, and the students’ schedule includes twelve hours of induced sleep meant to enhance creativity. But when first year student Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill, she discovers there is something off about Forge. In fact, she suspects that there are sinister things going on deep below the reaches of the cameras in the school. What’s worse is, she starts to notice that the edges of her consciousness do not feel quite right. And soon, she unearths the ghastly secret that the Forge School is hiding—and what it truly means to dream there.”
Honestly, this was a decent idea for a story that got bogged down in YA tropes/rip-offs and an absolutely idiotic protagonist. At every turn, Rosie makes crappy decisions and then can’t accept the consequences. Nothing is ever her fault.
A paraphrased conversation in the early parts of the book that is probably a good representation of Rosie’s stupidity:
Boy: I am mad at you because you manipulated me into helping you improve your own ranking and then went around and used other people for the same purpose.
Rosie to a female friend: Do you think he’s mad because I kissed another boy?
NO! Maybe he is mad for the exact reason that he said he was mad!!! Maybe he doesn’t care who you are kissing and you are just a slightly crappy person!
Another example, you ask? Well I’d be happy to oblige!
Boy: That ladder looks really rickety and you don’t look like you’re handling the heights very well. Maybe we shouldn’t do this.
Rosie: Nah, I totally got this. *passes out and falls on Boy, who hits his head and has to be rushed to a hospital*
Also, there was her whole thought process (or lack thereof) at the end that can’t be discussed without spoilers. Basically…
Some YA tropes and rip-offs to looks forward to in this book:
-school for special kids
-a heroine that we are told is “special” in someway even if the reader never actually sees it
-teen attempting overthrowing totalitarian leadership
-the whole reality show thing (Hunger Games, anyone?)
Beyond this, there are several times that aspects of the plot are not explained very well and others where thing are brought up to drive the plot a little bit further and then dropped immediately, never to be brought up again. The even that Rosie witnesses in the very beginning of the book is supposed to be her first clue into discovering what is going on. It does in fact prompt her into looking deeper but the specific thing that happens is never related to what is actually going on.
As mentioned, Rosie is a moron. The other characters in the story seem to have a higher IQ but unfortunately we don’t see many of them, aside from a handful, and they are mostly just sounding boards for Rosie to talk to as she thinks about What Is Going On. There are a few characters that get a little more attention. Linus, the love interest, is actually pretty likable. He does not blindly follow everything Rosie says and is occasionally at odds with her. The hot guy friend, Burnam, seems to exist to give Rosie advice or an item that she needs to continue whatever she is doing. Sometimes this is pills, sometimes this is giving her ratings on the show a boost. Still very likable, though the author did hint at adding him to the romance thus creating the dreaded love triangle. Thankfully, this was avoided though.
Then there is the hated step dad. He really was a jerk. That’s about all that we know about him. And finally, the bad guy. The bad guy is the one character that seems to attempt to dip back down to a Rosie-level IQ, as evidenced by some of his explanations for the things he is doing at the end of the story.
I liked the mystery that was building up until the part where we found out what the mystery is. While Rosie was an idiot, I was interested in what was going on with the TV show that was going on. But looking back nothing really happens through out the book. Just Rosie worrying about stupid things or doing stupid things like not trusting Linus.
I hate how this book ends, and not because it ends on a cliff hanger but because I fell like nothing was resolved. When I read a book or watch a movie I would really like it if it actually ends! I don’t mind if it ends ominously, but give me something! The only reason I will be reading the next one is because I want to know where this goes. I don’t think it will go well but maybe I can get some laughs out of it.
What a trainwreck. I liked Linus enough to be somewhat engaged in his and Rosie’s love story but beyond that this book really does not have much that would recommend it in my opinion. The ending that sets up for book 2 was just so weird and stupid. The only reason that I will read the second book is because I read the synopsis and it itself is just so insane that it almost makes me laugh. Again, it’s like a trainwreck and I just can’t look away.