by Barry Lyga and Morgan Baden
September 3, 2019 (Kids Can Press)
Description from the Publisher:
Cassie McKinney has always believed in the Hive.
Social media used to be out of control, after all. People were torn apart by trolls and doxxers. Even hackers - like Cassie's dad - were powerless against it. But then the Hive came. A better way to sanction people for what they do online. Cause trouble, get too many "condemns," and a crowd can come after you, teach you a lesson in real life. It's safer, fairer and perfectly legal.
Entering her senior year of high school, filled with grief over an unexpected loss, Cassie is primed to lash out. Egged on by new friends, she makes an edgy joke online. Cassie doubts anyone will notice. But the Hive notices everything. And as her viral comment whips an entire country into a frenzy, the Hive demands retribution. One moment Cassie is anonymous; the next, she's infamous. And running for her life. With nowhere to turn, she must learn to rely on herself - and a group of Hive outcasts who may not be reliable - as she slowly uncovers the truth about the machine behind the Hive.
New York Times bestselling authors Barry Lyga and Morgan Baden have teamed up for the first time to create a novel that's gripping, terrifying and more relevant every day, based on a story proposal by Jennifer Beals and Tom Jacobson.
About the Author:
Barry Lyga is a recovering comic book geek. According to Kirkus, he's also a "YA rebel-author." Somehow, the two just don't seem to go together to him. When he was a kid, everyone told him that comic books were garbage and would rot his brain, but he had the last laugh. Raised on a steady diet of comics, he worked in the comic book industry for ten years, but now writes full-time because, well, wouldn't you? The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy & Goth Girl is his first novel. The Hive is his latest. There are a whole bunch in between, featuring everything from the aftermath of child abuse to pre-teens with superpowers to serial killers. He clearly does not know how to stick to one subject.
As a huge Barry Lyga fan, I was thrilled when I read the description for his newest book, THE HIVE. “A better way to sanction people for what they do online. Cause trouble, get too many ‘condemns,’ and a crowd can come after you, teach you a lesson in real life. It's safer, fairer and perfectly legal.” Sounded great! But the writing didn’t quite live up to the expectations I’d formed based on his other books.
Here are a few of the issues I ran into:
1. Mom’s point-of-view takes up quite a bit of space in the story. An adult POV is usually not found in a novel targeted at the young adult audience. I found it jarring, didactic, and hard to buy into.
2. Naming of emotions, constantly telling rather than showing, pulled me out of the story world. For example, “Rachel shook her head tersely, fatigue and anger radiating from her in nearly visible waves. … Annoyance was overtaken by a jolt of worry.”
3. Archaic patriarchal ideals can be found throughout. For example, “Why hadn’t Harlon prepared her?” and “She regretted not putting on lipstick,” and “Bryce was a Norse god … What good would her puny mortal muscles do?” AND this one seriously made me want to quit reading: “I hope whoever finds her RAPES HER FIRST. Teach that bitch to open her mouth.”
4. There was such an overwhelming sense of meanness that came through the pages of this story. I don’t know if that was intentional or not, but I felt like I needed a shower after reading.
5. Cassie’s spite for her mother seemed off base and unmotivated. “The world was crazy, but not so crazy that her mom could actually be right.”
Nearly every time I was tempted to quit reading, Lyga reminded me why I enjoyed his previous books with a lines like these:
“Anytime someone is lambasted in the press without a trial, there are the Romans, feeding victims to the lions for sport. For fun.”
“They clambered up a ladder, then used balconies and fire escapes to zigzag their way up another story … When she dared glance around, her stomach heaved; down below, more lights flashed but the sounds of the city were muted, drowned out by wind and her own heavy breathing.”
“She breathed a silent prayer … then tap-tapped her way down the sidewalk. To her surprise and delight, it worked. A guy in his thirties even offered to help her cross the street when the light changed.”
“A graphic filling the screen … a complicated skein of digital silk, thousands of strands spun out from the center …”
Final takeaway: I’m a fan of Lyga’s I HUNT KILLERS, and I can easily recommend that series.
[I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.]