I received this book for free in return for an honest review.
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.
I really enjoyed this book and thought that it was a fun read. The exploration of social media and the effects of cancel culture was interesting and made me reflect a lot on how the book community online treated authors who made a small mistake.
But there was nothing left to explode, Cassie reminded herself. Nothing left to be taken from her.
The tone of this book was light hearted and fast paced, with many twists and turns. However as good as the characters and plot are, they are very secondary to the themes in the book. When Cassie becomes condemned we see what the onslaught of online abuse does to her, and how it doesn’t just affect her but those around her as well. While no individual message is too much, it is the volume that gets to her and allows others to think that it is okay.
Pulling the flowers out of her garden, leaving a graveyard of colours on the street.
The physical manifestation of this online culture in the hive mobs is an apt reminder of how stupid these things are. Often we say things online that we would not dare say in public, and that is highlighted in this book. I was also intrigued by the way that innocent mistakes and bad taste actions that are no doubt performed by many hundreds if not thousands of people daily suddenly become reprehensible when one person is publicly called out and shamed for that act. The spiral that the news and social media can have on the significance of an act is examined really well in this book.
You’ll be a martyr which isn’t a great life because … well, because you’ll be dead.
I did think that, interestingly enough, the scenes in Cassie’s school at the start of the book, with the bleeding of actual events into online spaces and back out again into the real world was a close representation of the real school experience (though obviously exaggerated for effect). I think that that works really well to highlight how juvenile this whole thing is. Overall all I would say that this book is a light hearted examination of online culture that takes things seriously without being an overbearing read.