Unfriended, by Rachel Vail

20893312Last year I heard Rachel Vail read the first chapter of her middle grade novel, Unfriended, at a NYC Teen Author Reading Night and she totally stole the show. In both her writing and the way she read, Rachel completely nailed the voice of an eighth grader. The ambitious novels switches perspectives between sixth eight-grade characters, and reveals their individual struggles, preoccupations, and anxieties. The author makes it look easy, but I have a suspicion juggling so many different characters within one story was anything but. The anchoring story centers on Truly being asked to sit at the popular table, which creates a chain reaction that messes up much of the eight grade social order. As the title suggests, the effects of social media and the Internet are made use of in the story. But one thing I REALLY liked about this book, is that it doesn’t pretend like cliques and bullying and exclusivity all developed because of Internet culture. It instead shows how teens harness the power of the new technology to do the same things to each other they’ve always done, just in a much more public/wide reaching scale.  Continue reading “Unfriended, by Rachel Vail”