{Review} #MurderTrending by Gretchen McNeil

O P E N I N G   H O O K:

THE INSTANT DEE GUERRERA PEELED open her eyelids and gazed around the dimly lit warehouse, she knew she was screwed.

Fifty million people are about to watch me die.

She lay on the concrete floor, its chill permeating her clothes, and recalled the insanity that had landed her here. Three weeks ago, the most important things in her life had been college applications and securing a date to the prom. Then the body, the trial. She'd hardly had time process what had happened before she'd found herself sitting in a courtroom, listening to a jury find her guilty of first-degree murder.

(Page 1, US ARC edition)

“So, best-case scenario: T-shirts depicting her mangled corpse, a smart phone case sporting her skewered Cinderella silhouette and the hashtag #ADeathIsAWishYourHeartMakes, a shot glass shaped like a cracked glass slipper.
The world was so messed up.” 


Hello hello booklover friends. I have been MIA for a while, and there may be a post about that in the future, but for right now I just want to dive back into talking about books I've enjoyed. Getting the party started is #MURDERTRENDING, which released on Tuesday and is a playfully macabre murder mystery meets the tv series survivor story.

Imagine a future where the president is a former reality tv star.

Oh . . . wait . . .

That's probably the creepiest thing about this book. It taps into society's obsession with reality tv and the way watching things on a screen shreds our sense of apathy. The more you read the more you start to think that the horrible things happening aren't that far-fetched to things already happening in our current society. In the world of this novel the justice system has been renovated into . . .well . . .basically a feeding tube for viewer enjoyment. Criminals found guilty of heinous and gruesome crimes are shipped off to Alcatraz 2.0, an island community where they are brutally murdered on live tv for viewer enjoyment. Basically it takes the concept of an eye for an eye and makes it a prime time tv sensation. The Postman app gives viewers live streams of the victims living on the island, none of them ever sure when their number is up and they will be brutally taken out. Merchandise is for sale online, hashtags fly on social media, there are message boards and conspiracy theorists galore. Watching people get murdered is as normal as swooning over The Bachelor.

When Dee Guerera wakes up on the floor of a warehouse, dressed up like Cinderella, she expects the rest of her life to be a matter of seconds. Even though she doesn't deserve to be on Alcatraz 2.0. Even though she's innocent. That she survives her initial encounter with one of The Postman's killers seems like coincidence, until it turns into a lot of questions. Questions about the island, questions about the other occupants and whether they actually deserve to be there, questions about her past and The Postman's true motives. Dee finds herself a small group of friends dubbed Death Row Breakfast Club and together they try to keep their heads - literally and figuratively.

One of the standout things about this storyline is how funny it is amid the murder and the reality tv vibes. I laughed out loud more times than I expected. All of the killers on the island were vibrantly quirky characters, overdone for the sake of the cameras, with crazy and over embellished quirks. That detail made everything feel all the more real to me as I read, because god knows that is exactly what happens during a reality tv show . . . exaggerated characters that stir the pot and get more views. The murders weren't so horrifically graphic that they overshadowed the bouts of humor in and around them, but you still felt the weight of the character's fear and their desire to survive. Plots and turns and suspicions are abound as the story progresses and I kept thinking I had things pegged only to find out that I was wrong.

It's not the first time I've seen a Purge/Hunger Games style storyline before, but McNeil made the ride undeniably FUN. There's something rough and simplistic about how she keeps the reader running through the text, and while some moments felt a bit silly and frivolous, it felt good to just enjoy something vibrantly crazy and intense. If you want to just strap in and go on a roller coaster ride of characters this is definitely a book for you!

Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG  ( A few kisses but not a lot of time for romance when you're trying to stay alive)
Language: PG 13 ( Some light cursing scattered throughout. )
Violence: PG 13 ( Moderately graphic scenes of death and murder.)
Other:  --

C O V E R   D E S I G N:

The cover personifies the name of Dee's posse Death Row Breakfast Club. The people shapes look like the symbols on a bathroom door, they're dressed quirky and fun, minus the middle character who is missing their head. The line Kill. Post. Repeat lets readers know exactly what they're in for and the cover as a whole had me immediately interested in the contents within.

O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Author: Gretchen McNeil
Release Date: August 7, 2018
Publisher: FreeForm /  Disney Hyperion
Received: For Review

WELCOME TO THE NEAR FUTURE, where good and honest 8/18 citizens can enjoy watching the executions of society’s most infamous convicted felons, streaming live on The Postman app from the suburbanized prison island Alcatraz 2.0. 

When eighteen-year-old Dee Guerrera wakes up in a haze, lying on the ground of a dimly lit warehouse, she realizes she’s about to be the next victim of the app. Knowing hardened criminals are getting a taste of their own medicine in this place is one thing, but Dee refuses to roll over and die for a heinous crime she didn’t commit. Can Dee and her newly formed posse, the Death Row Breakfast Club, prove she’s innocent before she ends up wrongfully murdered for the world to see? Or will The Postman’s cast of executioners kill them off one by one?