July 25, 2015

Book review: [sic] by Scott Kelly

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Six teens are devoted to a game with one rule: If a player gets tagged, they must change their life within the next fifteen minutes. The better the player, the bigger the change. One might give their car away, or punch the school bully. Another might change identities or sacrifice their virginity. Anything to keep evolving, to avoid fitting into a label or caring about the junk they own. But their quest for enlightenment has taken a rotten final turn - one of the players has murdered the game's creator, the teen prophet (cult leader?) David Bloom.

Our narrator is being framed for the crime; can he clear his name and discover which of his lifelong friends is the murderer before he takes the fall?

[sic] is a gritty teen murder mystery that delves into the psychology of enlightenment among the criminally dysfunctional. It is a winner of WEBook's Page2Fame award and a cult classic among its thousands of teen fans on Wattpad, some of whom have actually applied Kelly's fictional game to their own lives.

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

I was drawn to [sic] because of its odd title and the premise of the game called Eureka. The idea of having to change one's life because of the game was intriguing, and I wanted to see which direction the book would go.

The verdict: kids, don't try this at home.

If I had to compare the story to a popular movie, I would say that [sic] most closely resembles a mix of Dead Poets Society and The Usual Suspects. However, Eureka's leader lacks the noble intentions of Robin Williams's John Keating character, nor is there a feared villain like Keyser Soze.

Overall, the book was good and thought-provoking. My main complaint was that I couldn't sympathize with any of the main characters. They twisted Eureka for their own selfish gains, so when tragedies befell them as a result, I didn't feel sorry for them. The concept of the game was interesting. However, I wished the author would have shown how people could use the game to improve their lives rather than focusing on the self-destructive choices that the characters often went with instead. The fact that the book's description claims that some of its readers have applied Eureka to their own lives is frankly a bit frightening if they followed the paths taken in the book.

3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.

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