Publisher: ABRAM Kids
Date of Publication: March 8th 2016
Dates Read: December 2nd to December 3rd
Paloma High School is ordinary by anyone’s standards. It’s got the same cliques, the same prejudices, the same suspect cafeteria food. And like every high school, every student has something to hide—whether it’s Kat, the thespian who conceals her trust issues onstage; or Valentine, the neurotic genius who’s planted the seed of a school scandal.
When that scandal bubbles over, and rumors of a teacher-student affair surface, everyone starts hunting for someone to blame. For the unlikely allies at the heart of it all, the collision of their seven ordinary-seeming lives results in extraordinary change.
Note: I received an ebook copy of this book from ABRAMS Kids via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
My Rating: ★★★★★
Oh. My. God.
I am physically, not just mentally, breathing heavily. This book was such a roller coaster of emotions, and I loved every second of it.
I’m going to be honest: my expectations weren’t very high for this book. At the very least, I didn’t expect to love it as much as I do. I requested it because I loved the colourful cover, and I was intrigued by the fact that it was inspired by the seven deadly sins.
But this book has so much more substance than I anticipated. My heart feels so heavy and fulfilled after reading it. I am so emotional right now.
Okay, onto some actual reviewing and away from the chattering fangirling, shall we?
Characters: God, you guys, the characterization in this book is just so well done. Yes, there are seven different perspectives, but Riley has written each one so well that you don’t even need to read the chapter heading to know who you’re reading about. Each person had a distinct personality, different ways of thinking, that often contradicted another character’s personality/way of thinking. Not one person was the same, and not one person was perfect. I also love that Juniper Kipling’s chapters were poems, and that Matt Jackson’s conversations were just thrown into paragraphs. It just suited their characters so well, and really helped me get to know them better. Gosh, I am so attached to them.
The plot: listen, I don’t imagine this kind of plot is for everyone. As one of the other reviewers pointed out, this book isn’t hyper-realistic. It does read more like a Degrassi episode with all the drama and the events. But then again, is that not why shows like that are so popular? The drama? The twists? Even though the plot wasn’t as well defined as a lot of YA plots are, I was much too intrigued by this story to stop reading it. The lives of these seven high schoolers were woven together in a neat little basket, so not having a true path to follow worked out really well. The story shapes itself.
This book also touches upon topics like sl*t shaming, pansexuality, briefly on gender being a social construct, reliance on alcohol, and so many more. I am so glad to see a lot of these in here, because I rarely see any of them in the books I read. Maybe I just haven’t read the right books (yet – I’m working on getting there), but I feel like this is a good place for me to start.
Honestly, this was written so well. I felt everything along with the characters. In fact, I could feel my eyes threaten to tear up around a really emotional part. I never cry reading books, and to have this happen really says something about how strong this book is. I gasped and flailed my arms in panic and laughed and nearly cried. It was so much more than I expected it to be, and will definitely be one of the best books I’ve read all year.
Overall: SO GOOD. I NEED A PHYSICAL COPY LIKE NOW.