There are times when Heather, Aly & I finish a book, but don’t have time to write a full, comprehensive review… or even a shorter “flashbulb” review. BUT we still want to share our thoughts with you on what we’ve been reading. That’s why every Saturday we’ll be featuring 3 “snippet” reviews — short, sweet, to-the-point reviews that we’ll try to keep to 2-7 sentences. So we hope you enjoy these!!
Bekka Black’s iMonsters series is something truly in a class all its own. Clever and innovative both in style and formatting, Black’s reimagining gothic horror classics in a wonderfully creative and imaginative way, seamlessly incorporating her own interesting twists and adaptations for a modern YA audience. In this particular instance? Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Drawing on the original epistolary format of Shelley’s novel, Black updates it by telling her story through emails, texts, chats and browser windows; combining both the verbal and the visual to create a unique storytelling experience. Though it isn’t a particularly long retelling, and though the style is perhaps a bit spare due to the economy of words modern communication tends to engender, the depth of story, detail, character building and atmosphere Black conveys in iFrankenstein impressed me.
Black’s version of the gothic tragedy features Victor Frankenstein as a modern high school student; a computer genius competing for a much-coveted scholarship. To win the competition, he must create a chatbot that converses as a human would; an AI interface that can “think” on its own. Despite the deadline fast approaching, Victor unfortunately finds himself on (an inconveniently timed) “vacation” with his best friend Elizabeth and their parents. Victor becomes distracted, distanced from his family and friends; obsessed with creating his “Virtual Victor,” oblivious to Elizabeth’s interest (and distress), oblivious to his friend Henry’s struggles, finding insignificance in all of the unique opportunities that surround him. Victor is blind to anything but his own success — never thinking of the ramifications of his work, never questioning what might happen if his creation does exactly what it was intended to do. Or what might happen if it decides to become more.
Overall. Highlighting themes of friendship, obsession, hubris — as well as functioning as a modern cautionary tale about the internet, privacy, and lack thereof — Bekka Black’s iFrankenstein is a wonderfully innovative and visually captivating reimagining of Shelley’s gothic classic.
A little preview of what the iFrankenstein iPhone app looks like. Click to enlarge.
In typical Cora Carmack fashion, Finding It sucked me in quickly and made me devour this story. I really enjoyed getting to know Kelsey more than I thought I would. While I hoped there was more to her than we saw in Losing It, I didn’t even imagine the depths we would find in Finding It. In some ways, I liked this story better than Losing It and even Faking It. This story was more gritty, the characters more raw, and it truly made their love story more gripping and remarkably poignant than the previous ones. It is more mature in both language and sexual content however, and I got a little snagged by Kelsey’s language, but that’s mainly a personal issue. Overall, Finding It was a very enjoyable and wonderfully moving story. And Cora, if you see this…I want Milo’s story! 😉
Mom Moment: This is a New Adult title, therefore it is more mature than most of the books we review on the blog and therefore I would not recommended for young teens.