As you probably know if you've been following my blog for a length of time, I'm a big fan of books that heavily feature the social networking/internet aspect. I think it can be a wonderful setting and form of storytelling. Unfortunately, this book fell short of the mark. The premise here is promising: Madison MacDonald comes home from an internet-free family vacation to find her Friendverse (Facebook + Myspace) account hacked in the worst way. The hacker not only broke up with her boyfriend and posted the worst pictures of her online, but also shared her friends' deepest secrets with her hundreds of friends, and managed to break up the school's It Couple. Though Madison's best friends believe her when she says she's been hacked, not everyone else does -- and besides, the damage is done.
Things begin to really falter when Madison embarks on something of a wild goose chase, accusing anyone who seems to have an issue with her without much proof backing her up. The pacing is good, but the plot gets repetitive quickly as it becomes obvious that Madison is going after the wrong people and seems to have blinders on when it comes to many of the things going on around her. Characters -- as well as their relationships -- are not as fleshed out as they should be. Madison comes off as very surface-deep and somewhat stereotypical. Likewise her romantic relationships don't seem to have much substance and are based primarily on physical attraction without much else. A few of the secondary characters are very well developed and realistic, however they're sadly overshadowed by Madison and other main characters.
Though a strong sense of setting feels all but absent here, themes are done well in a book that is mostly mediocre. The main theme we're presented with is that of gossiping and being a trustworthy person, although there's definitely a sub-theme (haha, that's not a word) that deals with not letting your online life and profile ruin or rule your life. Especially as so much can be misconstrued, even amongst the people you think you're close with. On the whole, this was a mediocre book, though I know plenty of other reviewers disagree with me as I've seen many good reviews of it.