Top 8

Top 8 (Top 8 #1) by Katie Finn

So, I loooooved this book when I was a teen.

Rereading the book, I still think it is good and holds up even though it is 12 years later. The author incorporated a lot of social media and kind of fused Facebook and Myspace together (Myspace is where the term “Top 8” comes from) which helps as it becomes a fusion of the two and is still relevant to today. There are still some terms that today’s teens won’t know like “top 8”, a razor (cellphone), etc. They are constantly on social media but videos aren’t really a thing so its not as topical but I think teens could still get into it.

I also liked the use of the pictures and objects for profile pics, how we meet our characters through their profile, the IMs (now would be texts or group chats) as I think it really captured teen style and life. Although looking at the profile pics it makes me wonder what these people are doing now.

Plot Summary:

So the book starts off with relatively popular Madison MacDonald getting ready to head to the Galapagos Islands for Spring break.

Madison does well in school, is pretty, has the lead in the musical Dane (a modern adaption of Hamlet set in rural Kansas), loves to read, is on prom committee, just won school secretary, has a great group of friends, a new boyfriend, and just had her pink laptop fixed.

Life seems pretty great for Madison, and she returns from the vacation all rested, happy, but missing social media, especially Friendverse which she is always on. There was a distraction ob the boat, a cute guy, but she didn’t spend as much time with him as she is taken. 

But when she comes back her whole world collapses. Most of her friends will not speak to her, she’s been unfollowed and blocked by her friends, her profile is completely changed with lots of spelling mistakes, her profile says she likes weird things, she dumped her boyfriend Justin on a post, shared a bunch of pics from a friend’s party (getting him grounded), reveals the story of her friend Schuyler getting a nose job, revealed that her two couple friends cheated on each other, propositioned one of her best friend, Lissa’s, boyfriend, propositioned another guy, said a lot of bad things about the drama kids, was mean to all her friends, insulted the head of the prom committee, and more.

WHAT!

Obviously someone is framing her and trying to destroy her reputation But who? And why?

She meets up with her friends: Schuyler (the one she revealed about the sailing accident/nose job), Ruth (her best friend), and Lissa (her french loving friend who’s boyfriend the fake Madison hit on). She convinces them she didn’t do it, and they decide to help her root out who did this. First, she has to deal with the fallout: try to mend things with people, and then starts a list of who would want to destroy her…

Suspect 1) Kittson Pearson

Kittson is the most popular and beautiful girl in Putnam High. She is head of the prom committee, can get anything she wants, and is now dating Justin, Madison’s ex? Could she have done this to Madison to engineer their breakup? She may look like a blonde bimbo, but she is cunning, talented, and a whiz with computers-making a pretty professional looking prom website.

Hmm…

Suspect 2) Conner Atkinson

Conner Atkinson wanted to be secretary on student government and was beat by Madison, demanding a recount. He also asked her out but was rejected as Madison was dating Justin. Could he have done this to get rid of her and take over her student government spot? Did he break up her and Justin as he wants to be with her? He is the school’s Internet Liaison and could have found a way to get into her profile.

Suspect 3) Travis MacDonald

Travis is Madison’s annoying little brother who likes to do all he can to make her life hard. Her “Q” isn’t working (I feel you Madison, my E is having issues unless I hit it hard) and her parents let her use her brother’s computer to write her report on Queen Victoria. When she goes in his room she sees a note of her brother’s-him trying to figure out her password. Could he have figured it out and hacked her profile? When they were in Galapagos they had to pay an arm and a leg to go online-something Madison wasn’t going to do, but Travis spent a large portion of his time online. Is he the one who messed up her Friendverse Account.

Hmmm…

Suspect 4) Sarah Donner

Sarah Donner and Madison have been competing for the leads in plays their whole high school lives. She had beat Sarah out for several leads in he past but Sara really wanted this one. Sarah has been campaigning for her to be moved from understudy since day one-Madison is too tall, she doesn’t look farm girl enough, she’s not off book, she’s too pitchy, etc. Could she have done this to freak Madison out so she doesn’t want to do it? Try to get her kicked out of the play for her against school rules profile?

Hmmm…?

Madison was intent on winning Justin back, but she ends up spending more and more time with Jonathan “Nate” Ellis, the guy she met on the Galapogas Islands, and has a lot of fun with him. He tries to help her find out who her mystery hacker is-but mostly is just what most 2008 teen girls dreamed in a guy.

Madison and her friends investigate but it turns out Kittson is actually pretty nice and fun, the two becoming close friends-she even gives Madison a quick makeover and tries to help her win Nate. Conner is revealed to be a great guy and Madison matches him up with her friend Schuleyer (they are adorable together). And Travis just has a crush on a girl and was trying to email her (adorable). Sarah was just extra jealous and Madison and her work out their problems.

With that, Madison has no one left on her list? Who could hate her so much they want to hurt her so badly?

Thoughts After Reading:

I love this book!

I love how Madison learned a lot from what happened and reformed her character, no longer gossiping or talking bad about others. But also how she wasn’t the best judge if character, Justin? Really, this brainless caveman? Or how Kittson is her nemesis, but after one afternoon with her she realizes she was wrong about her and they become good friends.

The mystery is good- I knew half of the answer but I didn’t see the rest of it coming. I love it and recommend it.

For more Young Adult mysteries, go to Ruby in the Smoke

Sew Deadly

SewDeadly

Sew Deadly (A Southern Sewing Circle #1) by Elizabeth Lynn Casey

Victoria “Tori” Sinclair has just moved from Chicago to small town Sweet Briar, South Carolina to be the town’s new librarian.

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It is a huge change for her, but after her last relationship tanked, her fiancé cheating on her during their engagement party, she needed to get out and far away.

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Tori is eager to run her own library, being full of ideas,

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but she is definitely going to be faced with some serious issues. She is from the North (a Yankee), was not born in Sweet Briar, and has just ousted one of the town’s favorite people when she was hired to become the new librarian.

badfeeling

Tori visits with some of the town folk, Leona a more recent addition to the town and the antique shop owner; and Georgina the mayor. While Georgina and Tori are talking, they discuss sewing, and Tori is invited to join the sewing circle. Seems like things are going great.

fantastic

But not quite. Someone is sabotaging her, stealing the lightbulbs on her porch, giving her a flat, and the former librarian is going around talking smack about her.

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While the sewing meeting starts off to a shaky start, the former librarian boycotting; and Tori not bringing a baked good like she is supposed

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When she shares her ideas of starting a children’s room in the library, everyone jumps in promising to make dress up clothes for the kids.

wow

Just when things look like they are going up, Tori falls into another pitfall. Her appointment book was swiped and she finds herself unprepared for Mr. Wentworth’s third grade class’ usual appointment of story time and craft. Luckily she manages to think her way out and come up with a butter making idea. As the kids are working hard, Tori talkes to Miles Wentworth, single, tall, dark, and handsome.

Smirkity smirk smirk

Smirkity smirk smirk

The next sewing circle doesn’t go as well as the first. Former librarian Dixie Dunn came and is trying to get everyone against Tori. Luckily the move the conversation to Miles and discuss the sad state of his singlehood since he became a widower, along wit the beauty queen, recently moved back resident, Tiffany Ann. Tiffany Ann was always obsessed with Miles ever since she was 12 and he was her tutor. She doesn’t care about the 13 year difference but promised she would marry him.

Obsessed

Obsessed

After a lot of hard work, Tori has finally cleaned out the storage room set for the new children’s corner. Nina, her assistant, has to leave but Tori is determined to finish cleaning everything for the board meeting and show off where she wants everything to be. As she heads to the dumpster to toss in the final pieces she’s cleaned out, all her plans change. In the dumpster is the body of Tiffany Ann.

StarTrekTheOriginalSeriesHesDeadJim

Now the police investigator stupidly believes that Tori killed her, in her anger of becoming part of a love triangle, no one will talk to her, and Tori has to solve this mystery before whoever kills again and causes her to be run out of town.

dearlordhelpme

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Thoughts After Reading:

So I thought this book was pretty good.

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I liked the characters of the book and felt it was interesting. The only thing I don’t like is the way they make the police investigator so incompetent.

Really Mike?

Ugh.

I hate when they do that in mystery novels. Why would they choose Tori when she has no reason to kill Miles? There is no love triangle, no hatred, no revenge, no money, etc.

seriously

There is bound to have been someone else in the town, but instead of making the character intelligent, she makes him like the one in Bloom and Doom, incredibly incompetent.

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For more love triangles, go to Cream Puff Murder

For more on May Vanderbilt, go to A is for Alibi

For book reviews, go to A Study in Scarlet