The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
Publication date: 30 August 2016
Rating: 2.75 out of five hover cars
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This is review is spoiler-free.
I’m going to start off by saying that I’ve never read or watched Gossip Girl. Shocking, I know. Why do I mention this? The Thousandth Floor has been heavily promoted as ‘Gossip Girl in the 22nd century’. I can go in for some fun drama if it’s well done, so I decided to pick this up. I have a lot of mixed feelings about The Thousandth Floor, as you can probably see from my rating, but I do think that this all comes down to taste.
A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future where anything is possible—if you want it enough.
WELCOME TO MANHATTAN, 2118.
A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. Everyone there wants something…and everyone has something to lose.
LEDA COLE’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.
ERIS DODD-RADSON’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.
RYLIN MYERS’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will this new life cost Rylin her old one?
WATT BAKRADI is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy for an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.
And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is AVERY FULLER, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.
Amid breathtaking advancement and high-tech luxury, five teenagers struggle to find their place at the top of the world. But when you’re this high up, there’s nowhere to go but down….*
Plot and World
The funny thing about The Thousandth Floor is that is has a great beginning and a great ending. The book starts with a girl falling from the top of the thousand-storey skyscraper that now makes up the island of Manhattan. Great start! The book then flashes back and builds up to the events that led to said girl falling. Great finish! But everything in between? Meh. It was 300 pages of me wanting to shake each and every one of these kids and ask them what the heck they think they’re doing. I hated every decision every character made. No one seemed to do the rational thing, everyone was just so selfish, and they were all just so…foolish. I don’t buy into the idea that all teenagers just act like this – I was a teenager once, dammit.
I do think that my reaction to this is just matter of taste though – there’s nothing wrong with McGee’s writing style. In fact, I quite liked the way she pulled these five stories together. The world that she builds is really interesting. She comes up with some incredible technology that maybe gets a few mentions in one scene, then never again. The boozy bubbles at Eris’s birthday are a great example of this. What an incredibly cool concept! I feel like she could have skimped on the details, but the fact that she didn’t really added to the story. One of the best things about science fiction is the incredible technology that authors can dream up!
My friend Sophie put it best on Goodreads: ‘So…. can they ALL be pitched off the top of the tower? That’d be greaaaaaat…’.
It really sucks to say this, but I hated every single one of these characters. I’m not sure if we’re supposed to hate them or not, so I’m just going to say they were intentionally written to be awful in order to add excitement and drama. I just couldn’t care less about a single one of them, even the ones dealing with relatable and tragic situations like divorce or the death of a parent. They were all just awful in their own special way. Even Avery, who is supposed to be the shining example of a good person, was so self absorbed that she couldn’t see what her actions did to other people. Leda is by far the worst of all of them, although I started out sympathising with her. I think that of everyone, the only person I liked was poor Cord. He doesn’t get a single PoV chapter, though. Because of spoilers, I wont go into the intricacies of the character interactions and decisions, but I found them incredibly frustrating. This book made me feel like such a cranky old lady.
The one thing I will mention that I had a huge problem with is Avery and her romance. You find this out within the first few pages of the novel – the great love of her life is her brother. Her brother! Yes, her brother. Okay, so he’s her adopted brother, but they’ve been living as siblings since she was a very young child. They are, for all intents and purposes, siblings. I know some people are okay with the but-they’re-not-really-blood-related thing, but no. I’m sorry, no. No. Absolutely not. I don’t care how cute his he, he’s your brother. This really took me straight out of the book and added a serious ‘ick’ factor. Yikes.
Overall, I really liked the concept of The Thousandth Floor, but there was just so much that was problematic for me. I really struggled with some of the plot points and the characters, but I really liked the world that McGee builds. However, just because this book wasn’t for me, doesn’t mean it wont be for you. I do think that it will really resonate with fans of Gossip Girl and similar books and TV shows.
Despite my complaints, I’ll be reading The Dazzling Heights because of the way The Thousandth Floor ends. Dammit.
Have you read The Thousandth Floor? What did you think? Let me know!
Buy The Thousandth Floor here:
*Copy courtesy of Goodreads