Release Date: August 30th, 2016
Page Count: 437
Series: THE THOUSANDTH FLOOR, Book 1
Rating: 4/5 Stars – Really Liked It
Note: I was given a free ARC by the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.
In the year 2118 in New York, there exists a thousand-story skyscraper. At two and a half miles tall, it is essentially its own city, full of apartments for rich and poor alike, shopping, schools, parks and more. It is from the top of this building that a young woman will fall to her death. But who was she and what led to her tragic demise? To understand that, we must go back two months, when the lives of several teenagers, some already friends and some strangers, began to slowly intersect in a web of relationships and secrets. A girl who’s made a startling discovery about her family. Another with a brother who has suddenly returned to the Tower after a year’s absence. A young man with an illegal AI. A teen who takes a job as a maid for a wealthy family in order to support herself and her sister. And the queen bee of the social scene whose just returned from a stint in rehab, after a heartbreak sent her into a tail spin. All these threads will come crashing together to result in that tragic night.
THE THOUSANDTH FLOOR is a good old-fashioned soap opera set against the backdrop of a futuristic world, just far enough ahead to be fantastic, without being unrelatable. To be honest, the setting is a huge primary draw for me, as McGee has done an excellent job of building out a society that has adapted to life inside of one building. From the literal social stratification of the floors to the way teens (and everyone else) text and communicate via implants that display directly onto your retinas, the Tower feels like a real place. One can live and work within the Tower and never need leave, and even the parks have little micro-climates where they can make it rain on command. The Tower is as much a character as the teens themselves.
How much you enjoy the actual plot of THE THOUSANDTH FLOOR is going to depend on how much you enjoy the teen soap staples of love triangles, parties, hookups and drugs. The stakes range from “I’m a single parent for my little sister and had to drop out of high school to support us” to “This guy I’m in love with doesn’t love me back.” Driving it all, however, is the knowledge that by the end of the book, someone will be dead. Watching the story threads come crashing together in the final act, and knowing that only tragedy can come of it, creates that beautiful “Nooooo don’t do it” feeling. The book ends only a few pages after the death, meaning that book two is going to deal with the fallout of that death – and the resulting black mail from covering it up. I, personally, can’t wait.
THE THOUSANDTH FLOOR is a cup full of soapy YA drama, and if that’s your cup of tea, prepare to drink deep from this excellently crafted world. It’s full of tropes that may not be for everyone, but for the right audience, it’s hard to go wrong with this one. The Tower is a lovely place to visit – just stay away from the rooftops.