The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Just when you think everything's been done, a startling new idea comes along and shakes up a genre - The Thousandth Floor is that book, and McGee is that author. This amazing debut is sure to create a lot of buzz in the YA world, and rightly so. But what's it actually like? For starters, it's a backwards story - we're teased with an outcome first, then we're taken back to the beginning and led through the build-up, with secret upon secret slowly being revealed. Then there's the fact that McGee has somehow managed to give us a five-way POV without making it horribly confusing. When I saw the chapter titles and realised the book would focus on five different characters, I worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up, but it's actually very well-done. The five characters start of fairly separate, but as the book goes on they start to intertwine more and more, while they each give us an important aspect of the story. It's a risky tactic, but it pays off handsomly as McGee pulls it off with apomb.
Set in the future, we're given a delightful setting in the mega-huge tower, and it's a nicely-built world with realistic additions and revisions to our present. Complementing this futuristic world are the everyday problems of teenagers, families and friends, which will never really change. Fashions will change, but fashion will always be a thing. Love and friendship won't go away, and there will always be drama surrounding them. This is what McGee focusses on, and she does it remarkably well. I didn't expect this to be the first of a series when I read it - for some reason I was expecting a standalone, but then I got to the end, and it is a great end - no real cliffhanger, but an expectation of continuation. Book one is perfectly complete and incomplete at the same time, the ideal series opener. Roll on book two.
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