Thursday, August 24, 2023

Today's read... Dropped! by Alice Kuipers

It wasn't the cover on today's read, which caught my attention (surprise, right?). It was the blurb. It sounds like it could be tense and modern and just what a young teen audience might appreciate. Then, I saw the page count. Under 100 pages with romance drama and survival? Can that even be done? So, I'm hitting this one with a huge hope that it does pull off this amazing feat. It would be great to have a wonderful read, which isn't over 300 pages...for those quick excitement reads when life is tight.

So, I'm sitting down with a sense of determination and seeing what these pages hold.

by Alice Kuipers
Orca Book Publishers
YA Contemporary / Action
96 pages

FEBRUARY 13th, 2024!!!

Dex is dropped onto a deserted tropical island to be a player in a social media competition. Dex is one of six contestants on Dropped! , an internet reality show. He’s glad to escape his real life after being dumped by his girlfriend, Lola, and destroying his social life. He and the other contenders have to spend five days on a deserted island, and the person who gains the most likes and followers will be the winner. The prize is a ton of money and status as an influencer. Keeping people watching is the challenge, and Dex will do whatever it takes. He needs to win―it’s the only way to get Lola and his popularity back. But on the island, away from his ex, he finds himself flirting with the gorgeous and popular Amina. When Dex keeps placing behind Amina, he realizes he has to be more daring to get the engagements he needs. But how extreme will he need to be? And is it worth it to win?

GOODREADS   /    B&N    /    AMAZON


Survival takes on a modern meaning in this quick and engaging read.

Dex is one of six people chosen for a new, internet reality show, where the contestants are dropped off on an island and the winner is the one who gains the highest social media status. For Dex, this is the chance to reboot his crashed internet presence thanks to a messy break-up with his girlfriend. The island is a tropical paradise and the show's promoters have everything planned out perfectly, but the competition is fierce. Dex knows his stuff and with his ex watching, he's sure he has a pretty good shot at winning...if the entire thing doesn't go too far. 

This is a neat twist on the survival show insanity, which manages to keep the tension pretty high while not pushing it further than most sensitive readers could even handle. In other words, this one is perfectly fine even for the upper middle grade audience. The writing grabs as the writer cleverly weaves the media postings with described screen shots, and still, even weaves in enough traditional storytelling to keep it all together. The descriptions are concise, yet, give enough to make the world vivid. Even the emotions, on Dex's end, come across clearly and understandably. Outside of the break-up with his girlfriend, he's actually well-placed in life and fairly ordinary, making him very easy to root for.

Unlike many young adult reads, this book weighs in at less than 100 pages, and the author, for the most part, uses this space very well. Of course, the depth and background isn't as present as in a full-fledged novel, especially in the sub-characters, but for the purpose of the read, it works well. It's nice to dive in and enjoy the short tension, and this one holds enough action to keep the pacing high. The resolution, however, didn't get the attention it needed and came across as rushed and edged the last impression to superficial. But it was still an enjoyable read and does have digestible food for modern thought.

The messages in this one rotate around the addiction to social media and how much it takes over people's lives. The question surrounding appearances versus reality is also touched upon. It drives the point home in a clever way, while offering the warmth of kindness and of true, forming friendships. It is a great read for classroom settings as well as homeschoolers...or simply to grab up for a tale all on its own.

And here she is...

Alice Kuipers is the author of more than ten books for young readers, including the Arthur Ellis Award winner The Worst Thing She Ever Did, as well as World's Worst Parrot and Pia's Plans in the Orca Currents line. Her work has been published in dozens of countries and has also been made into plays and produced for radio. She lives with her family in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

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