#Murdertrending
WELCOME TO THE NEAR FUTURE, where good and honest 8/18 citizens can enjoy watching the executions of society’s most infamous convicted felons, streaming live on The Postman app from the suburbanized prison island Alcatraz 2.0.When eighteen-year-old Dee Guerrera wakes up in a haze, lying on the ground of a dimly lit warehouse, she realizes she’s about to be the next victim of the app. Knowing hardened criminals are getting a taste of their own medicine in this place is one thing, but Dee refuses to roll over and die for a heinous crime she didn’t commit. Can Dee and her newly formed posse, the Death Row Breakfast Club, prove she’s innocent before she ends up wrongfully murdered for the world to see? Or will The Postman’s cast of executioners kill them off one by one?

#Murdertrending Details

Title#Murdertrending
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 7th, 2018
PublisherFreeform
ISBN-139781368010023
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Horror, Science Fiction, Dystopia

#Murdertrending Review

  • Chelsea Humphrey
    January 1, 1970
    I'm between a 3-3.5 star rating here. We've seen oodles of YA novels published with themes of youth battling each other to the death, which is why I'm amazed at how unique and engaging Gretchen McNeil was able to make #MurderTrending feel. In a sea of similarly plotted novels, does it stand out above the rest? Not necessarily, but it was still a really fun read that I would highly recommend to those YA lovers who need something to bust their reading slump. It was incredibly fast paced and action I'm between a 3-3.5 star rating here. We've seen oodles of YA novels published with themes of youth battling each other to the death, which is why I'm amazed at how unique and engaging Gretchen McNeil was able to make #MurderTrending feel. In a sea of similarly plotted novels, does it stand out above the rest? Not necessarily, but it was still a really fun read that I would highly recommend to those YA lovers who need something to bust their reading slump. It was incredibly fast paced and action packed, the type of book that has you gripped with bated breath while sitting on the edge of your seat. I did find some of the character development lacking and the backstory a little underwhelming, but overall those were minor complaints and didn't take away from the fact that this is an enjoyable read. Readers who are squeamish will want to give this one a wide berth though; it is VERY graphic with explicit descriptions of violence of all kinds. If you enjoy the gory stuff like I do though, I think you'll want to pick this one up for the sheer fact that it's so gripping and the plot really draws you in. Gretchen McNeil once again proves that she's a force to be reckoned with in the world of YA thrillers and will continue to hold a place on my list of auto-buy authors. <3*I received a copy for review from the publisher via NetGalley.
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  • Mogsy (MMOGC)
    January 1, 1970
    1 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/08/12/...I hate giving out 1-stars, and if you’ve followed me for a while, you may have already noticed you don’t see that rating here very often. That’s because even if I didn’t like a book overall, there’s usually still something I enjoyed about it. With #MurderTrending though, I think I’d be hard-pressed to find anything too positive to say about this hot mess. It simply did not work for me—on any level.But first, here’s the boo 1 of 5 stars at The BiblioSanctum https://bibliosanctum.com/2018/08/12/...I hate giving out 1-stars, and if you’ve followed me for a while, you may have already noticed you don’t see that rating here very often. That’s because even if I didn’t like a book overall, there’s usually still something I enjoyed about it. With #MurderTrending though, I think I’d be hard-pressed to find anything too positive to say about this hot mess. It simply did not work for me—on any level.But first, here’s the book’s premise for some context of everything I’m going to discuss: It is the near future, and the President of the United States is a former reality TV star who thought it would be a great idea to outsource the justice and penal systems to a psychopath television producer known only by his internet handle, The Postman. Court trials have become a farce where anyone who is merely suspected of murder is pronounced guilty and sent to a prison island near San Francisco, dubbed Alcatraz 2.0, where every inch and corner is surveilled by cameras mounted on robotic birds. This live footage is streamed 24/7 to millions of viewers around the world tuning in to see the prisoners executed in the most brutal ways by federally sanctioned killers with names like Gucci Hangman and Molly Mauler, whose cheesy names and shticks are an attempt to drive up their popularity on social media.The book follows Dee Guerrera, a teenager who was sent to Alcatraz 2.0 after being wrongfully convicted of murdering her stepsister. She becomes the next victim of Prince Slycer, one of the island’s executioners whose gimmick involves dressing up his executionees as princesses from Disney movies, immediately earning Dee the nickname #CinderellaSurvivor when she manages to escape his clutches. Determined to find her stepsister’s true killer, Dee teams up with other teens on the island in order to expose the reality of Alcatraz 2.0 and bring down The Postman.Oh boy, where do I start? As an avid reader of sci-fi and fantasy I consider myself to be pretty good at suspending my disbelief. But this book was beyond ridiculous. If it weren’t for the over-the-top gore and violence, I would have thought this was written for six-year-olds on account of how juvenile and ludicrous it sounds. Even leaving aside the more nonsensical elements, in today’s world where you pretty much can’t show anything on the television without getting someone up in arms over it, the idea of a 24-hour snuff show garnering wide acclaim and approval from the public isn’t just eye-roll inducing, it makes me want to bash my head against a wall.And then there were the characters. Had they been written well, perhaps I could have put aside my incredulity of the premise. Unfortunately, at no point in the novel did Dee actually feel like a real person to me. She seemed detached and strangely unconcerned with her circumstances from the moment she arrived on Alcatraz 2.0. Sure, there might have been a brief flash of “Oh crap, I am screwed”, but this was quickly replaced by her utter conviction that she will find her stepsister’s killer—even though she has absolutely no resources on the island, zero places to start, and every reason to believe she’ll be up next on the literal chopping block. Yet there was no fear or sadness. No hopelessness or despair. This isn’t badass. This is bad characterization.But maybe, just maybe, these characters were actually meant to be caricatures? After all, there was a character whose one memorable trait was his penchant to quote action movies from the 80s and 90s, and even as his friends were dying slow torturous deaths, he was busy channeling Rambo during the rescue mission. I mean, something this fucking goofy has got to be a joke…right? In fact, this entire novel was so absurd and extreme with its irreverence when it comes to violence and death, I was half convinced it was supposed to be ironic. But try as I did to see this novel as satire—a playful mockery on social media and the American obsession with Reality TV, perhaps—it was probably giving it too much credit. If this was meant to be satirical, then the author lacked the delicate expertise to pull it off properly. There was a desperation in the way her narrative attempted to justify the premise (with very flimsy logic) or to endear readers to the characters (by giving them very annoying quirks), and while sometimes exaggeration can be used as an effective device, in this case it was a complete disaster.There were so many other problems with this novel, not least the fact the story gets even more unrealistic and ridiculous towards the end (believe it or not). Suffice to say, I think I’ve covered all the major disappointments so I’m just going to wrap this up by saying I probably won’t be picking up anything else by the author. I’ve heard that being this insanely over-the-top is part and parcel of her style, and clearly I am not the intended audience.
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  • Dennis
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars In a world where The Purge and The Hunger Games collide— #MURDERTRENDING shows us a society crippled by reality television and instant social media validation. Seriously folks, this book is a lot of fun and all too real for me. Dee Guerrera is wrongfully convicted for the murder of her step-sister Monica and sent to Alcatraz 2.0 for punishment. Alcatraz 2.0 is a man-made prison island off the coast of San Francisco where the worst convicts imaginable are sent to live out their days i 3.5 stars In a world where The Purge and The Hunger Games collide— #MURDERTRENDING shows us a society crippled by reality television and instant social media validation. Seriously folks, this book is a lot of fun and all too real for me. Dee Guerrera is wrongfully convicted for the murder of her step-sister Monica and sent to Alcatraz 2.0 for punishment. Alcatraz 2.0 is a man-made prison island off the coast of San Francisco where the worst convicts imaginable are sent to live out their days in fear. They must work, they are provided housing, and they are able to maintain their lives accordingly. However, the prison is run by The Postman—businessman and reality television producer who enlists the help of a rolodex of infamous serial killers to provide excruciating executions of the convicts; all captured on the The Postman app that viewers can tune into. Dee awakens on Alcatraz 2.0 and immediately realizes that she's fallen victim to the show and must fight in order to survive. She knows that she was wrongfully convicted and wants to prove her innocence before it's too late. She meets a group of other young, attractive people in Alcatraz 2.0 and starts an alliance with them. #DeathRowBreakfastClub Time is running out for the newly established group, because as everybody knows—nobody gets out of Alcatraz 2.0 alive.Gretchen McNeil, I truly love the sick and twisted world you provided in #MURDERTRENDING . I really didn't think this book would be as fun as you made it for us. The pacing of #MURDERTRENDING is fast, action-packed, and edge-of-your-seat thrilling. The story starts off with a bang, but it doesn't stop from there so I urge you to plan the day accordingly (seriously, this book is unputdownable!). I had a few critiques about the story, which is why I couldn't give #MURDERTRENDING a higher rating. I felt that the backstory was a little weak and unbelievable. The foundation to the overall arc of the story was a little flat and could've been handled in more detail. I can't comment more about that without ruining the story for you, so after you read #MURDERTRENDING , talk to me! I also felt that there were serious plot holes and continuity issues that were made to keep the story going at it's fast-paced level. I wanted more story foundation, rather than continuous action—I actually rolled my eyes several times at how the situation was randomly handled and that definitely affected my rating. Maybe if the backstory was handled more and the secondary characters had a POV, the development of the story could have been more persuasive for me. Even though I had some critiques about the story, #MURDERTRENDING was fabulous in the most disgusting way possible! It's very, very, very graphic at times so if you can't stomach gruesome violence, maybe give this one a pass! My boyfriend thinks I'm totally messed up in the head for enjoying this book, but what can I say?! I urge you to pick this story up if you're interested in a YA story with an original spin on a dystopian society. P.S.: Don't think I didn't notice all the Rupaul's Drag Race references! Love, love, loved that!Thank you Netgalley for my advanced copy in exchange for an honest review. #MURDERTRENDING will be released August 7, 2018.
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  • Helen Power
    January 1, 1970
    This book was amazing! There were so many twists and turns in the plot that I was riveted the whole way through. I'm obsessed with things prison-related, San Francisco-related, and twisted reality TV show concepts, so this book was just my cup of tea! I couldn't put it down (both because I was participating in a reading marathon and because it was just so good!). Full review to come soon.Thanks to NetGalley and Freeform for giving me a digital ARC of this book.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    Bad enough she’d lost her sister, then been wrongly convicted of the murder; now she was going to be humiliated, forced to prance around the island in these stupid clothes while millions of people gawked and laughed and placed bets on how many days she’d survive until her blood was spilled in the name of entertainment. This is one of those books that is just pure fun. The concept is neat mixing murder with reality tv in a near-future where death row means being sent to Alcatraz 2.0 where a psyc Bad enough she’d lost her sister, then been wrongly convicted of the murder; now she was going to be humiliated, forced to prance around the island in these stupid clothes while millions of people gawked and laughed and placed bets on how many days she’d survive until her blood was spilled in the name of entertainment. This is one of those books that is just pure fun. The concept is neat mixing murder with reality tv in a near-future where death row means being sent to Alcatraz 2.0 where a psychotic killer will hunt you down and end your life - all while being live-streamed for the entire world’s viewing pleasure. And if they’d like, there will be replays available and forums where you can discuss your favorite murders or murderers. Interesting, right?Dee Guerrera wakes up on Alcatraz 2.0 after her hearing. Three weeks ago, she would’ve never seen herself here. It actually makes no sense because she didn’t kill her step-sister regardless of what the jury said. Will Dee be killed off before she can prove she didn’t actually commit the crime?If you think this sounds thrilling and fast-paced, you’re right. It could’ve been better if there was more development to the characters. I was more in the need of a palate cleanser read, so I didn’t mind it. I was in this for the murdery fun. I didn’t care about the lack of believability or the predictable moments. I still liked the journey of figuring out whodunnit regardless of how obvious it was.I did love that Dee was constantly given Disney princess outfits. It made for some fun references throughout the action and gore. Now that I’m seeing there is a sequel, I am curious where it will go. More horror is always welcome. Since I enjoyed this and Ten, I’ll have to read more McNeil.
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  • Stacee
    January 1, 1970
    Oh man, I loved this book, but I knew I would. Gretchen’s words are always a favorite and she writes murdery goodness like no one else. I loved Dee. She’s smart and somehow levelheaded and much more of a bad ass than I would have been. The Death Row Breakfast Club is just as awesome. I loved Ethan’s movie quotes and Gris’s sarcasm, and Nyles had me at being British.Plot wise it’s quite unique, yet also a bit of a commentary on current events. It was fast paced from the beginning and doesn’t let Oh man, I loved this book, but I knew I would. Gretchen’s words are always a favorite and she writes murdery goodness like no one else. I loved Dee. She’s smart and somehow levelheaded and much more of a bad ass than I would have been. The Death Row Breakfast Club is just as awesome. I loved Ethan’s movie quotes and Gris’s sarcasm, and Nyles had me at being British.Plot wise it’s quite unique, yet also a bit of a commentary on current events. It was fast paced from the beginning and doesn’t let go until the end. I know this is fairly vague, but I don’t want to spoil anything. Overall, it was a quick read with characters I was rooting for right from the start. The ending was satisfying and I’m wondering if there will be more. Regardless, I’m 100000% here for Gretchen’s words. **Huge thanks to Freeform for providing the arc free of charge**
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  • Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)
    January 1, 1970
    Leave it to McNeil to deliver something as exciting as it is frightening. With her unique take on murder mysteries and exploring the unknown and most of the time, horrifying, I can always count on her for an action packed and somewhat bizarre read.Set in a very much realistic time and place, #murdertrending was something that you could see happening today in a world full of social media and reality TV, which is also what made this such an interesting and hard to put down read. With twists and tu Leave it to McNeil to deliver something as exciting as it is frightening. With her unique take on murder mysteries and exploring the unknown and most of the time, horrifying, I can always count on her for an action packed and somewhat bizarre read.Set in a very much realistic time and place, #murdertrending was something that you could see happening today in a world full of social media and reality TV, which is also what made this such an interesting and hard to put down read. With twists and turns and danger literally around every corner, this was something fun and thrilling and completely different and I couldn't get enough of it. Fans and new fans alike, old and young, will all be able to get lost in this one and enjoy it up until the very last page. *ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
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  • Lauren Stoolfire
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.When eighteen-year-old Dee Guerrera comes to in a warehouse, she realizes she’s about to be the next victim of The Postman app, which allows citizens to stream the executions of convicts from Alcatraz 2.0, a suburbanized prison island. It's one thing knowing that the worst of the worst are facing justice at the hands of legalized serial killers, but Dee isn't going to pay the ultimate price for a crime she didn’t commit. Will Dee I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.When eighteen-year-old Dee Guerrera comes to in a warehouse, she realizes she’s about to be the next victim of The Postman app, which allows citizens to stream the executions of convicts from Alcatraz 2.0, a suburbanized prison island. It's one thing knowing that the worst of the worst are facing justice at the hands of legalized serial killers, but Dee isn't going to pay the ultimate price for a crime she didn’t commit. Will Dee survive long enough to prove her innocence? Or will The Postman’s cast of executioners pick her off?#Murdertrending is my first novel by Gretchen McNeil, but I liked it well enough with some minor snags. My favorite aspect of this story is that I felt like I should have been eating a big bag of movie theater popcorn while I was reading this action packed near future thriller. It's a fun and fast paced ride that feels like it meant for the big screen. I also particularly liked that it feels so current with the language, the app, and the social media usage. Plus, I have to admit that the dash of politics (and overall future world) we get don't come across as all that far fetched at the moment actually. The only place where it really stumbled for me was the character development - it's a bit lacking and everyone is little too flat for my taste - and that pacing is a bit choppy from chapter to chapter.Overall, #Murdertrending by Gretchen McNeil is an over the top, bloody, and darkly hilarious YA mystery thriller. If you like The Running Man, Scream Queens, Battle Royale, The Hunger Games, and bloodshed with a side of Disney princess references, then you may want to try McNeil's newest release. I think I'll have to read for more her work in the future such as Ten and Relic.
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  • Clemlucian (🏳️‍🌈the brooding reader)
    January 1, 1970
    "It was dangerous to appeal to the most vulgar instincts of humanity, to normalize something as horrific as state-sponsored serial killers. But that's what you got when a former reality star was elected president."Rating: 3/5 starsSYNOPSIS: A wrongly accused teenage girl founds herself in Alcatraz 2.0, in which the worst murderers await for their ultimate death by state-sponsored serial killers on tv for everyone to see. Dee finds herself fighting for her version of the story to be heard, only t "It was dangerous to appeal to the most vulgar instincts of humanity, to normalize something as horrific as state-sponsored serial killers. But that's what you got when a former reality star was elected president."Rating: 3/5 starsSYNOPSIS: A wrongly accused teenage girl founds herself in Alcatraz 2.0, in which the worst murderers await for their ultimate death by state-sponsored serial killers on tv for everyone to see. Dee finds herself fighting for her version of the story to be heard, only to discover a bigger conspiracy behind Alcatraz 2.0 and its creator, the Postman. REVIEW: While I enjoyed Murdertrending and the message behind it, I thought it suffered from fake advertisement, comparing this book to the like of Hunger Games and other battle royale/ dystopian type of books. So be aware before adding this to your TBR, this isn't a book about people killing each other, but rather about people being hunted down by serial killers. So my rating is partly related to this false advertisement, I'm not gonna lie, I was disappointed to learn that people won't kill each other. But the book was mostly fine, the intrigue was compelling, the characters had distinct personalities, and the writing style was strong. However, the overall plot isn't all that strong, I found it ridiculous to believe that a country will hire serial killers to kill lesser criminals when they should be killing off the serial killers they hire? I mean, the serial killers are obviously the biggest threat to the community and yet they're the one who can come and go as they wish? That part seemed unrealistic to me, especially once you start to realize how much of a psycho some of those killers are. The Silence of the Lambs type of psycho. I counted over 9 info dumps, and I'm sure I missed some. Those info dumps are usually, one or two Ebook pages long, and it honestly felt like I was reading some history course for class. I think this book also lacked of Alcatraz mentions, I mean, if you're gonna call a prison Alcatraz 2.0, I'd hope there'd be subtle references to the original prison or jail-break, and I was so disappointed in that regard because I also picked this book up for the name of the prison.The characters had all distinct personalities but it also felt like they were caricatures of themselves, taking the archetypes of the Breakfast Club -the characters are named the Breakfast Club in the book by the fans of the show- with the jock, the princess, the nerd... I also noticed some choices and reactions that were out of character or overproportioned, in the most dramatic way. However, this is still an enjoying ride, with decent tension and foreshadowing and with a compelling concept so if you're looking for a quick murder story to calm your own murderous thoughts, this will do the trick.
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  • Jessica *The Lovely Books*
    January 1, 1970
    HOLY HELL! This was f’n amazing. The Hunger Games meets The Purge meets The Breakfast Club. Yesssss! I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I first picked up this book. (Thank you Cassie for sending me the galley!) the book hooked me from the very first page. In the very near future, crime is handled much differently than it’s handled now. For one, you get sent to a prison island known as Alcatraz 2.0. Two, you’ve pretty much dead as soon as you set foot there. Dee has been sentenced to the HOLY HELL! This was f’n amazing. The Hunger Games meets The Purge meets The Breakfast Club. Yesssss! I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I first picked up this book. (Thank you Cassie for sending me the galley!) the book hooked me from the very first page. In the very near future, crime is handled much differently than it’s handled now. For one, you get sent to a prison island known as Alcatraz 2.0. Two, you’ve pretty much dead as soon as you set foot there. Dee has been sentenced to the island of doom for murdering her step-sister. She’s now in a reality tv show shown to the masses of the world. There’s an app called The Postman where people can subscribe to their favorite serial killers and chat with everyone else about who deserves to die, etc. But Dee will not go down without a fight—especially for something she didn’t do. We’re introduced to so many quirky and amazing characters. In fact, their known as Death Row Breakfast Club. The scenes were absolutely perfect! With some of them being a little too gory for my tastes but hard to look away from all the same. As much as I loved this, there are some questions I still have about the entirety of the book. So I’m hoping we get a companion novel or something. With the way the book ended...Overall, this was fun, it was thrilling, and I seriously read it in one sitting. It was that good! If you’re looking for something fast-paced and a good set of characters, I can’t recommend this one enough!*Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy for an honest and unbiased review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Bookteafull (Danny)
    January 1, 1970
    Actual Rating: 4.5 StarsHow to summarize this book in one sentence: The Purge meets Deadman Wonderland meets Saw meets the The Breakfast Club. Despite reading and watching similar storylines in various forms on media (i.e. Btooom, Battle Royale, The Hunger Games, and all the ones previously mentioned), McNeil still manages to engage the reader with this gruesomely fun read. The fact that I had such a hard time putting this novel down is why it's deserving of such a high rating. I'm a sucker fo Actual Rating: 4.5 StarsHow to summarize this book in one sentence: The Purge meets Deadman Wonderland meets Saw meets the The Breakfast Club. Despite reading and watching similar storylines in various forms on media (i.e. Btooom, Battle Royale, The Hunger Games, and all the ones previously mentioned), McNeil still manages to engage the reader with this gruesomely fun read. The fact that I had such a hard time putting this novel down is why it's deserving of such a high rating. I'm a sucker for themes revolving around prisons, convicts, and jigsaw kill schemes; I'm not quite sure what that says about me - but McNeil is a author after my heart after using all the horror tropes I approve of. She's become an #automaticbuy for sure. #Murdertrending was refreshing, creepy, and suspenseful in just enough ways to have me on the edge of my seat (which doesn't happen to me often tbh). I do wish we could have seen more interactions with inmates outside of the #DeathRowBreakfastClub and had a more elongated ending, as it felt rushed compared to the rest of the novel. I also think scenes with the serial killers could have been amped up a bit to make the situation more challenging as they were kind of easy to circumnavigate toward the end. I don't know if you caught on, but all my criticisms have to deal with wanting more from the novel because it was already that addicting. I highly recommend this book to people in need of a fast-paced, action-packed, and tension-filled read. People who are squeamish about gory scenes should probably hold off on reading this though, just fyi. Thank you, NetGalley for providing me with an ebook version of this story. Yet another awesome read urging me forth to purchase the actual physical copy. #ReaderStruggles
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  • may ☆彡
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. It’s not so much that I’m confused, it’s just a lot to take in. Okay, so here we go.#murdertrending is an amazing book. I absolutely loved it!! So many plot twists that I never realized were coming (and I’m normally really good at figuring out the mystery before the main character does)! I feel like the end of this book hit me all at once and I was just sitting dumbfounded for over 2 days, trying to comprehend what had just happened. This is a shockingly good, well-written story that kept m Wow. It’s not so much that I’m confused, it’s just a lot to take in. Okay, so here we go.#murdertrending is an amazing book. I absolutely loved it!! So many plot twists that I never realized were coming (and I’m normally really good at figuring out the mystery before the main character does)! I feel like the end of this book hit me all at once and I was just sitting dumbfounded for over 2 days, trying to comprehend what had just happened. This is a shockingly good, well-written story that kept me on my toes the whole time. I don’t normally read horror-y books (because I’m not really that kind of person) but as soon as I read one page in the bookstore I was immediately hooked and couldn’t put it down. It was so fast-paced and interesting and all of the characters had depth and mystery to them. I have to admit, Alcatraz 2.0 and that whole media world that was created in the story definitely freaked me out. I would never want to live in that kind of horrifying place. But what was the scariest to me was mostly the fact that the Postman app and watching people die in terrifying ways was a normal thing to do. And people that are a lot like the Postman exist in our world today. But I digress. #murdertrending is a really great read that just keeps you guessing until the very end. I loved the #DeathRowBreakfastClub and the dark and mysterious plot. Definitely recommend!!
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  • Taschima
    January 1, 1970
    "Well, she knew one thing for sure: one of The Postman's psychos was about to shed her blood. Who would it be?Would she end up as the main ingredient in one of Hannah Ball's cannibalistic casseroles? Or starting in a Cecil B. DeViolent splatterporn re-creation of Gone with the Wind? Was Gucci Handman at that very moment constructing a designer noose for her neck, expertly crafted to match her complexion and outfit and the latest trends from New York Fashion Week while it slowly strangled the lif "Well, she knew one thing for sure: one of The Postman's psychos was about to shed her blood. Who would it be?Would she end up as the main ingredient in one of Hannah Ball's cannibalistic casseroles? Or starting in a Cecil B. DeViolent splatterporn re-creation of Gone with the Wind? Was Gucci Handman at that very moment constructing a designer noose for her neck, expertly crafted to match her complexion and outfit and the latest trends from New York Fashion Week while it slowly strangled the life out of her? Or was Molly Mauler about to flood the room with water and piranhas and make her choose death by suffocation or mastication?"I am currently skipping down my street screaming "I love it, I love it, I love it" at the top of my lungs. Was #Murdertrending perfect? YES Objectively, perhaps not, but it was full of murdery fun!#Murdertrending may sound a tad ridiculous, modern day prison (Alcatraz 2.0) which televises live executions of murderers for the enjoyment of MILLIONS. Sounds crazy... right? But quite honestly, everything is possible these days, and #Murdertrending acknowledges this fact while blowing it out of proportion. It is a dark commentary on our current state of affairs, yet one I thoroughly enjoyed. ACTION FROM BEGINNING TO GORY END! I did however believe that #Murdertrending was a little too fast paced. The entirety of the novel spans about 3-4 days from Dee's arrival at Alcatraz 2.0; a little more build up in every asset could have taken #Murdertrending to the next level. Nevertheless I did enjoy the constant action, extravagant murder scenes, and quirky set of characters. Main character, Dee, is by far the most developed of the #DeathRowBreakfastClub team. She has a traumatic, dark, and twisty, backstory. She loved her step sister, didn't kill her, and was framed. She wants to find out the real murderer, but how can she when she is stuck on an island with no connection to the outside world?The rest of the crew, while quirky and fun to read did not enjoy much character development #MurdertrendingShortfallsThere is the jock who enjoys acting out lines and scenes from his favorite action movies (even though we don't know why or how this started), the hot girl who is kind of a bitch but not a total bitch (who is also a hacker, who might have murdered her best friend and boyfriend in cold blood), the British guy who was on his way to becoming a doctor when tragedy struck his door (death of his parents, yet doesn't seem that broken up about it), and finally the genius, almost Sherlock like, girl next door who might just have the answers Dee needs to stay alive. I enjoyed the characters, and their banter, immensely, but I do admit they barely had a background story and you basically just had to take them at face value.Just be ready to suspend your disbelief with this one. At some points it was hard for me to believe that Dee could even stay alive that long in the island as death was lurking behind every corner, literally! And yet, she is the heroine of our story, so per the rules she needs to conquer her demons and kick ass while wearing glass slippers #CinderellaSurvivorFinally while the ending is open to the possibility of a sequel, I am not sure how it could continue the tale. All of Dee's ghosts have been dealt with, so I would be curious to see how McNeil could pull off a sequel. I don't think it needs it honestly, but I will still read it if ever comes to fruition.I would recommend #Murdertrending to anybody who needs a boost of something fun, kind of dark, and just oh so easy to get through. I could totally see this book turning into a movie, and that would be a ticket I would totally buy.Now excuse me while I go hunt down other Gretchen McNeil books...
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  • Nicole (FearYourEx)
    January 1, 1970
    I received an e-galley from the publisher via Netgalley. The views expressed in my review are my own.#MurderTrending is absolutely full of potential. The concept is absolutely amazing. Everything just needs a bit of fine tuning. The logistics of Alcatraz 2.0 were a bit unbelievable for me and I think that brought down the rating of this book the most for me.This book starts out right away full of action and it stays like that pretty much the whole book. Maybe a chapter here or there is a tad bit I received an e-galley from the publisher via Netgalley. The views expressed in my review are my own.#MurderTrending is absolutely full of potential. The concept is absolutely amazing. Everything just needs a bit of fine tuning. The logistics of Alcatraz 2.0 were a bit unbelievable for me and I think that brought down the rating of this book the most for me.This book starts out right away full of action and it stays like that pretty much the whole book. Maybe a chapter here or there is a tad bit slow, but we needed some character development of course. Dee was a nice, strong character but her personality fell a bit flat for me. The rest of her friends in Alcatraz 2.0 all had plenty of potential but needed a bit more development as well. The different "painiacs" in the book were the most interesting to me and I wish we learned a bit more about them since they seemed to have the most unique and thought out stories out together and weren't used to their full potential in my opinion.Other than that the story was still entertaining and action packed even if it was very predictable. I would potentially recommend this book to friends as a fun and quick read.
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  • Mandy
    January 1, 1970
    **Thanks so much to the publisher for sending me an e-ARC via Netgalley! It did not change my opinion of the book at all!**WARNING: THERE IS QUITE A BIT OF GORE IN THIS NOVEL. Like, it's actually YA horror and not the fake kind?? So, it brings the gore and the gory descriptions. There is, um, also a lot of murder. If you didn't catch that already.I think I have to be one of the most contradictory person when it comes to horror things. I refuse to watch horror movies because I can't deal. My para **Thanks so much to the publisher for sending me an e-ARC via Netgalley! It did not change my opinion of the book at all!**WARNING: THERE IS QUITE A BIT OF GORE IN THIS NOVEL. Like, it's actually YA horror and not the fake kind?? So, it brings the gore and the gory descriptions. There is, um, also a lot of murder. If you didn't catch that already.I think I have to be one of the most contradictory person when it comes to horror things. I refuse to watch horror movies because I can't deal. My paranoia for scary stuff is already at an ultimate high, and seeing things with actual jump scares? Yeah, no thanks. However, give me a horror book? And I might be down. And for this book? I was really down.If I had to describe this book, I would call it The Purge meets Scream Queens with a dash of Disney Princesses? If that even makes any sense? But honestly, that's the only way to even describe it. This story brings in a wonderful message of just how much we are sensationalizing violence and gore in this country in kind of a cool and unique way that just happened to feature my beloved Disney ladies. This story tackles our obsession with violence and the sensationalism that comes with it. It also had some interesting notes on what is happening in America right now especially regarding the presidency. It was certainly an interesting look, and to tell the truth, the story got a little scarier page by page because I could honestly see this becoming a thing in our future which each passing day. Which made this a bit of a scary read, tbh. I thought everything about the premise was really interesting. I thought the villains were unique and so morbidly intriguing. There were just so much creativity between each one. Basically there was so much creativity just jam-packed into each and every thing in this book. I can't even begin to describe everything, but McNeil managed to think of a lot and bring a new game to horror.Also, the writing was pretty good. As always, I could have done without the gory descriptions - which I did quite often - but I know they are a key point in the horror genre. Besides that, McNeil did a wonderful job with creating suspense, intrigue, and more. As I said, there was a ton of creativity and some humor which was super fun. I could have done without some things and the past moments I wasn't a fan of even though they were a bit crucial to the story. There were some good plot twists in the story as well and I didn't fully get everything that was happening.The characters were okay. I think that's a lot where the 4 crowns come in instead of the 5. I liked them. I thought Dee and the sidekicks were good...but they weren't great. I mean, I never really connected with any of them. They were a lot of just being there and being okay. I rooted for them, but I mean, I was never invested in them. They definitely quite a bit flat despite being likeable. And Gris totally felt like way too much of a cliche at parts for me. But again, I rooted for them and liked them. Um, also, THERE WERE SO MANY MENTIONS OF DISNEY PRINCESSES. Like, this is a horror book from Disney publishing, but I never expected all the Disney Princess horror. One of the killers dresses his victims up as Disney Princesses and him their prince, and our MC gets stuck as the "princess" character on Murder Island. GUYS AND GALS, I JUST CAN'T. SO AMAZING. Can they be in every horror novel?????Overall, this was such an interesting, quirky read that was YA horror done right. If you are not a fan of gore or horror, this book is not for you, but as a person that usually hates it, I did very well with it - enough for a four crown rating! It definitely was so intriguing and unique and I was in SO deep with it. It takes a hard look at the way our culture is going with violence, but it does so in the most interesting way. Plus, Disney Princesses. DISNEY PRINCESSES IN HORROR. 4 crowns and an Ariel rating!
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  • Mekiah Johnson
    January 1, 1970
    WTFWTFWTFWTFWTF!!!!! What the faaaa!!!!! This sounds so freaking interesting! 2018, NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!
  • The Library Ladies
    January 1, 1970
    (originally reviewed at thelibraryladies.com )Special thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book!One of my cinematic weaknesses is Arnold Schwarzenegger movies from the 1980s. The best way to give me a great day is a glass of champagne and a marathon of movies like “The Terminator”, “Predator”, and “Commando” (and maybe toss in “Kindergarten Cop” just to lighten things up a bit). But if I had to pick the one that I like the most just based on cheese factor, it’s going to be (originally reviewed at thelibraryladies.com )Special thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book!One of my cinematic weaknesses is Arnold Schwarzenegger movies from the 1980s. The best way to give me a great day is a glass of champagne and a marathon of movies like “The Terminator”, “Predator”, and “Commando” (and maybe toss in “Kindergarten Cop” just to lighten things up a bit). But if I had to pick the one that I like the most just based on cheese factor, it’s going to be “The Running Man”. For the uninitiated, the plot is that Arnold is a fugitive who gets roped into a reality show in which convicts are hunted down and killed by flamboyant ‘stalkers’, all in the name of entertainment. Richard “Family Feud” Dawson plays the nefarious TV show host Killian, and Minnesota’s own former Governor Jesse Ventura plays retired stalker turned Aerobics Coach Captain Freedom. “#Murdertrending” wants to be “The Running Man” with sprinkles of “The Breakfast Club” thrown in, and while it had the ambition to combine the two, it falls a little short.But first I will start with the good. Given that I am a huge sucker for these deadly dystopian stories involving death as entertainment, “#Murdertrending” was going to always have the advantage right out of the gate. Honestly, if you have a story where people are being killed on a reality show and it stands in as a critique of society, I am going to be here for it. And McNeil has created a world that feels familiar enough so the reader can relate to it, but removed enough that it can definitely be considered future dystopia. Dee Guerrera is thrust into Alcatraz 2.0 at the beginning of the book, and it’s the perfect way to slowly reveal the world building in an organic way. One of my favorite aspects of this book was the social media bookends to each chapter, with viewers and ‘fans’ of the show chatting on message boards and Twitter-like sites. It was a good way to show how the world reacts to and perceives the show they are watching, and also shows how their perceptions start to change as Dee and her allies on Alcatraz 2.0 try to survive the island. The tech on the island was fun too, with cameras and drones being used in creepy and interesting ways. The stakes did feel fairly high, as McNeil did a good job of showing consequences and how deadly they could be if you made a wrong move on the island. In terms of plot and world building, “#Murdertrending” was an addictive and fun book.But when it comes to the characters in this book, aka the Death Row Breakfast Club, I was left a bit underwhelmed overall. Dee was fine for the most part, but a lot of the time (given that it’s first person) she slips into the ‘I’m snarky and sarcastic, isn’t that cool?’ attitude that we see far too often in YA thrillers and horror. I wasn’t all that invested in her story, be it surviving the island or clearing her name in the murder of her stepsister, and while I liked how she interacted with some of her fellow prisoners (specifically Nyles, a British teen who is geeky as heck) I wasn’t worried about her well being. I also felt that some of her backstory involving a kidnapping didn’t quite mesh well with other parts of her character, and I wish that it had been integrated a bit better. The group mostly fit a bunch of familiar tropes: the jock, the bad girl, the nerdy boy, the weirdo, etc, and none of them felt like they were much more beyond their tropes. If I was pressed to pick a favorite character, I’d probably go for Griselda, the snarky and mean bad girl who is clearly the Bender of this Breakfast Club. But even that was more because I LOVE that character trope of ‘damaged bad boy/girl who is actually hurting’ and less because of who she was as a full person. Even when a big reveal came near the end of the book, while I didn’t necessarily see it coming I didn’t really have an “OH MY GOSH WHAT?!” moment from it either. And oh man, the ending. I hate endings like this one. I won’t spoil it, but just know that it was frustrating to get to the last page and have that tossed out there.“#Murdertrending” had a lot of positives going for it and a couple negatives as well, but I did find it to be an entertaining read that kept me going. If you aren’t so worried about characterization and are just here for straight up thrills, it’s a good book to end the summer with!
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  • Amber
    January 1, 1970
    #murdertrending was shocking but believable.Plot: Gretchen McNeil snapped with this one. In a not so distant future, the United States elected its first reality-star president who sold the Department of Justice off to an entertainment company. Thus was the end of due process and the beginning of Big Brother-style murders. As a fan of McNeil's other thrillers, I was instantly drawn to the author's take on reality TV/The Breakfast Club/social media. The basis for the plot was fascinating, but the #murdertrending was shocking but believable.Plot: Gretchen McNeil snapped with this one. In a not so distant future, the United States elected its first reality-star president who sold the Department of Justice off to an entertainment company. Thus was the end of due process and the beginning of Big Brother-style murders. As a fan of McNeil's other thrillers, I was instantly drawn to the author's take on reality TV/The Breakfast Club/social media. The basis for the plot was fascinating, but the pacing was just a bit off for me. The first half was mostly Dee getting acclimated to Alcatraz 2.0 and then McNeil hit the ground running and didn't quite let up. While the ending was exciting, the wrap-up felt a bit far-fetched and rushed.Characters: Dee had a hard life. Her father had to relocate them across the country, her stepsister was found murdered, and she was charged with said murder. I wouldn't say that Dee had much development, but I liked how McNeil slowly unraveled her past. My favorite characters were her fellow inmates at Alcatraz 2.0, some of them read like caricatures, but they were fun and brought some humor to the murder and social commentary. Worldbuilding: What made #murdertrending so trippy was that it didn't feel too far-fetched. McNeil perfectly captured internet culture and how desensitized we've become to the horrors of the world. I wanted to explore the bizarre world of Alcatraz 2.0 where inmates worked 9-5 jobs and tried to outrun state-funded serial killers a bit more. The most we got was Dee's workplace (a delightful ice cream shoppe) and her home. Short N Sweet: #murdertrending was a great idea but the execution didn't leave me feeling satisfied.
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  • Hannah (Vamp of Savannah)
    January 1, 1970
    I really wanted to like this. I really did. The premise was amazing. The reviews are through the roof.I reaaaaally didn't like it. The concepts were there, but it lacked depth. I wanted more development from Dee. She went from quivering mess to a Ripley-esque badass with no real character journey.This feels like a decent debut, but the author hasn't arrived. Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC of this book.
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  • Sophia (Bookwyrming Thoughts)
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I don't know if this is something related to psychology, but #Murdertrending is both creepy and engrossing at the same time. I found myself reading this quicker than I normally would have (if we're not counting the days I procrastinated), and while I should have turned away from this book in horror instantly, I didn't. Maybe that says something about me I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. I don't know if this is something related to psychology, but #Murdertrending is both creepy and engrossing at the same time. I found myself reading this quicker than I normally would have (if we're not counting the days I procrastinated), and while I should have turned away from this book in horror instantly, I didn't. Maybe that says something about me or human nature in general. 🙈 #Murdertrending gives off Hunger Games vibes We have Dee Guerrera, a girl who is supposedly guilty of murdering her stepsister and is sent to Alcatraz 2.0, a prison for those who are convicted of murdering someone. The entire prison is full of killers, and they never know when they'll be the next person whose murder will be publicized for all to see. It's Hunger Games without fighting amongst the inmates, or rather capital punishment for the entertainment of millions of people.(And Death Row Breakfast Club, which is a fitting name for Dee and her friends.) I can't tell if I'm disappointed in the last few scenes. #Murdertrending gave off that video game vibe sometimes - Press X and get a reagent! - as Dee found herself facing off against the government-sanctioned killers who are in charge of killing the inmates one by one. Fortunately for Dee and the reader's cruel enjoyment, she still has some obstacles in her way. To be honest, this felt tied to current politics in the US Maybe this is me being very critical and overthinking, but McNeil's latest book felt really relevant to what is currently going on today (added on with the social media snippets). Only this one is more fictionalized and brutal with a lot more death and blood. And heads rolling, among other disturbing things. #Murdertrending is very plot-driven If you're looking for character development, there won't be much of it. McNeil's latest novel is plot-driven to the core, fast-paced and action-packed. That ending though... I did NOT see that coming - I mean, I should have, but I didn't. McNeil kept me distracted from what was really going on in the story - there is so much going on that I didn't focus on being a step ahead and putting it all together before the story came together on its own. This smells of a sequel?!?!?! I have no clue if this is true or not (sounds like it is according to various sources and Google searches), but I am all for a sequel if it happens since I am immensely curious about what happens to the characters who survive the first novel. (Do I sound like a horrible person now?) #Murdertrending is deliciously dark and twisted - it's very plot-driven and action-packed that will keep you turning the pages despite how gross it may make you feel. This review was originally posted on Bookwyrming Thoughts
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Freeform Books for the free advanced copy in exchange for my honest review. When I saw the cover for this one, my attention was immediately caught. I then read the synopsis and had to dive in! #MURDERTRENDING is a very a unique read with some memorable characters. Dee wakes up in a warehouse and knows the worst is about to happen. Millions of people are tuning in to watch her die. She has been convicted for a gruesome crime that she didn't commit - the murder of her stepsister. The Pos Thanks to Freeform Books for the free advanced copy in exchange for my honest review. When I saw the cover for this one, my attention was immediately caught. I then read the synopsis and had to dive in! #MURDERTRENDING is a very a unique read with some memorable characters. Dee wakes up in a warehouse and knows the worst is about to happen. Millions of people are tuning in to watch her die. She has been convicted for a gruesome crime that she didn't commit - the murder of her stepsister. The Postman App like streams life on what is being called Alcatraz 2.0. Convicted criminals are sent there and are then murdered by different killers on the island. Justice being served, right?I will say that I really enjoyed the different killers and their gimmicks. This definitely made me think of THE RUNNING MAN by Richard Bachman (Stephen King). Not necessarily in what they did, but the fact that there were different character names and methods for each killer. As Dee tries avoiding death on Alcatraz 2.0, she meets other teens that were convicted of murders they didn't commit. I will always love seeing social media being incorporated into thrillers. The author did a great job illustrating the impact that The Postman App has on the public. Many justify these killings because it is justice being served and these are criminals. There are the others that are convinced this is all a big set up and have their conspiracy theories. If you're looking for a YA thriller novel with a unique concept and some memorable characters, then I would highly recommend this one. I give this 4/5 stars!
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  • Kristina Lenarczyk
    January 1, 1970
    I received an e-arc copy of this novel to review from NetGalley, but that does not influence my opinion. Oh man, did I hate this book. So many times I was tempted to give up and call it a day, but I am not a quitter when it comes to reviewing books. The synopsis of this novel caught my attention immediately when it was announced, and I was so excited to have been approved for the arc, but now I regret having wasted my time. The idea of changing the criminal justice system in this way stuck out t I received an e-arc copy of this novel to review from NetGalley, but that does not influence my opinion. Oh man, did I hate this book. So many times I was tempted to give up and call it a day, but I am not a quitter when it comes to reviewing books. The synopsis of this novel caught my attention immediately when it was announced, and I was so excited to have been approved for the arc, but now I regret having wasted my time. The idea of changing the criminal justice system in this way stuck out to me as something that seems realistic in our future, but the tone and the setting were very much set a decade behind our times. Our main character Dee is your typical character in a dystopian - starts off as unimportant and then of course she becomes the centre of everything and all of her friends give up their safety for hers. She was such a boring character to read that didn’t see any gradual development, and instead just seemed to change overnight. For the first while of the novel she was timid and shy, flying under the radar, and the next minute she’s leading her posse ready to start a jail break. There was no transition, so development, and no interest from me. This novel was so unrealistic and over exaggerated, and the only reason it was so long was because the author used the same descriptive sentences over and over and over again. Overall, this was a terrible read and I have to (regrettably) say that I won’t be picking up another one of Gretchen McNeil’s works in the future. I was so looking forward to finding a young adult horror/thriller author, but this was beyond juvenile for my taste. I really wanted to enjoy this, but without the proper depth and development, it’s not worth the read. Check out my entire review (rant) on my blog!http://theprincessgummybearreviews.bl...
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  • Kelly Hager
    January 1, 1970
    Holy crap, this book. It is insane in all the best ways. It's sort of Hunger Games meets the Running Man, and it is both incredibly entertaining and also completely unsettling. (My friend Meredith and I were reading it the same day and we had identical reactions to the same page [page 289 and "HOLY CRAP"]. I think it will be everyone's reaction. More sensitive readers may literally throw the book across the room, but we are horror movie fans and we aren't squeamish. But if we were? Page 289 woul Holy crap, this book. It is insane in all the best ways. It's sort of Hunger Games meets the Running Man, and it is both incredibly entertaining and also completely unsettling. (My friend Meredith and I were reading it the same day and we had identical reactions to the same page [page 289 and "HOLY CRAP"]. I think it will be everyone's reaction. More sensitive readers may literally throw the book across the room, but we are horror movie fans and we aren't squeamish. But if we were? Page 289 would've killed us.)Gretchen McNeil's books are always fun but this one may be her best yet. And there is a sequel, although we have to wait forever (next August) to see what happens. Either way, I am here for it.Recommended.
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  • ElphaReads
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book!I am a huge sucker for the movie THE RUNNING MAN starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, as I love the over the top craziness, the flamboyant characters, and the idea that a reality TV show would showcase criminals being hunted down and killed by costumed goons all for the sake of entertainment. So when I heard about the book #MURDERTRENDING by Gretchen McNeil I was immediately on board with it. So I sat down on a day off and pretty much read Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book!I am a huge sucker for the movie THE RUNNING MAN starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, as I love the over the top craziness, the flamboyant characters, and the idea that a reality TV show would showcase criminals being hunted down and killed by costumed goons all for the sake of entertainment. So when I heard about the book #MURDERTRENDING by Gretchen McNeil I was immediately on board with it. So I sat down on a day off and pretty much read it in one sitting. Always a good sign for a thriller.Dee Guerrera was wrongfully convicted of killing her stepsister Monica, and was sent to Alcatraz 2.0, a prison island where inmates are stalked and killed for a hit reality show run by a mysterious man known as The Postman. But when Dee arrives, she successfully kills the first of these television killers she encounters. The show she is on has a huge social media following, and Dee makes a splash, and starts to make tenuous alliances with other prisoners on the island. As Dee and her new 'friends' fight to stay alive, they start to wonder if The Postman has a new approach to this show, and if a conspiracy is afoot. Now it's crucial that Dee proves her innocence as a voracious audience watches.#MURDERTRENDING is a solid and entertaining thriller that easily pulls the reader in. It feels like “The Running Man” meets a John Hughes movie, and its a combination that McNeil finds a lot to work with. The world building was well laid out and it felt realistic enough to be relatable. From the descriptions of the reality show to the social media commentary, the plot was immersive and addicting. The characters themselves were pretty standard tropes, however, and I wasn’t particularly attached to them. The most important part was that it was a gripping and entertaining read, and entertained I was.#MURDERTRENDING was a fun read that would be great poolside reading. As long as you are willing to sacrifice character development for popcorn thrills, this will be a good choice to get your hands on.
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  • Angie Crabtree-Liezel and Angie's Book Blog
    January 1, 1970
    This book is highly addicting!! You have been warned! This book was so unique. I have never read a story quite like this. I have to be honest and say I was hesitant but I’m so glad I didn’t let that deter me. This is one of the best books I’ve read this year. From the characters to the unique setting I was hooked. I loved all the characters even the ones you love to hate. I have to say that I was thrown off guard about who the Postman was and that made the book even more satisfying. I’m not easi This book is highly addicting!! You have been warned! This book was so unique. I have never read a story quite like this. I have to be honest and say I was hesitant but I’m so glad I didn’t let that deter me. This is one of the best books I’ve read this year. From the characters to the unique setting I was hooked. I loved all the characters even the ones you love to hate. I have to say that I was thrown off guard about who the Postman was and that made the book even more satisfying. I’m not easily shocked. I’ve never read anything by Gretchen McNeil before and I can say that this book won’t be my last. #instafan Her writing style completely captivated me from the first chapter. These characters felt real and it’s so easy to daydream about them. I can’t wait for #MurderFunding!!
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  • Kathryn
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley, the publishers, and the author for allowing me to review this book in exchange for an honest review.PlotPicture a world where your president is a reality TV star. Now picture that same world where that same president makes some terrible decisions about the criminal justice system and hands the keys over to a different reality TV star. Are you nervous yet? Gretchen McNeil created a story that 100% plays up some crazy stuff going on in over very own government but with a si Thank you to NetGalley, the publishers, and the author for allowing me to review this book in exchange for an honest review.PlotPicture a world where your president is a reality TV star. Now picture that same world where that same president makes some terrible decisions about the criminal justice system and hands the keys over to a different reality TV star. Are you nervous yet? Gretchen McNeil created a story that 100% plays up some crazy stuff going on in over very own government but with a sinister twist. The year is somewhere in the near future and we follow the main character, Dee Guerrera, as she fights to prove her innocence on a murderous island. Some man called The Postman created a new jail system that lets citizens go on an app and watch live executions of convicted felons. The app has millions of views daily, the executioners have crazed fan clubs and merchandise, and the convicts face torturous deaths at the hands of people named The Hardy Girls, Prince Slayer, and many more crazies. The island is called Alcatraz 2.0 and is located off the coast of San Francisco. Our main character Dee finds her self there despite being wrongfully convicted for the death of her sister Monica. Dee and some other inmates that fans dub, #DeathRowBreakfastClub, have to fight for their lives because things aren't always what they seem on reality TV. Also, The Postman creates stories for the inmates that they have to live out while on the island. Dee is a princess, wardrobe and all. This is YA but this is YA Horror and it doesn't shy away. There is gore, blood, and gruesome deaths. But it is also so funny. McNeil literally created The Purge meets The Breakfast Club. The plot will have you second guessing everything and solving the case like Spencer Reid in Criminal Minds. I always love when an author can completely shock me and really surprise me with their twists and turns. I saw none of the twists and turns coming besides the ones the author allowed me to. And the ending set me up for the perfect WHAT moment that had me running to add the sequel to my to-read list on Goodreads.WritingThe writing was really good for the genre and plot. It didn't need world-building or stunning prose. It didn't need to be this methodical piece of literature that I could break down and decipher. It was just perfect with what I was promised. It was YA so, I got witty teens that can't help but say a wise-ass remark to a psychotic killer because why the hell not? It was a mystery so, I got twists and turns that left me second guessing things and trying to piece everything together with Dee. It was a horror so, I got the gore, sketchy scenes, sketchy people, double meaning dialogue, blood, and crazies in masks. It was a comedy so, I got hilarious teens trying to stay alive, be subtle with romance, and of course, make fun of each other. Lastly, it was a satire, so I got a story that used irony and comedy to create a conversation about our presidency and people's sensationalism and desensitization towards violence. Every genre that this falls under had exactly what it was supposed to. The dialogue was engaging and interesting. The voices of the teens really reminded me of the breakfast club teens. The violent scenes were like something out of Saw/The Purge/The Strangers/Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I honestly could see this series become a movie because it was so good. Everything was clear and easy to read. And as a social app and a story about society and use of technology I LOVED the tweets and forums throughout the story. Yes, there is minor romance. When I say minor I mean minor. It is barely there and really doesn't take away from the plot at all which in this type of story is very refreshing. Characters (In quotes is who they would be in The Breakfast Club)Dee is 18-years-old. Her name and her real name (read to find out) sound Latinx so I think it is safe to assume she is Latinx. Which is really exciting representation for me and makes me excited that the author made this choice. What I really loved about her character is she is truly a regular teen trying to survive. I mean her part in The Postman's game was the princess (Claire- the princess). The author did not make her some warrior ready to take on killers. She never held a weapon and she did not magically know how to fight. She survived because of her will to survive and her brain. It felt more realistic that those she killed died because of how she thought things out rather than her fight them head-on. Nyles (Andrew- the geek) is a British teen who had been on the island the longest out of the group. He is kind of nerdy but he is so cute and full of optimism. But he has moments where he gets serious and you see a different side of him. Griselda (Bender- criminal) is literally Bender from The Breakfast Club. She mocks Dee, calls her princess, has snarky remarks but, deep down she has a heart and we get to see it at moments. She was so funny honestly lol. Ethan (Brian-the jock) was honestly my favorite. He was a big buff dork. He quotes movies all day which hey I do that to so we would be best friends. He is fearless and dives head into things to protect his friends. Mara (Allison- the basket case) was Dee's neighbor on Alcatraz 2.0. She was shy, quiet, and knew the most about all of The Postman's hired killers. I won't say much about the antagonist but just know you are not ready and again nothing is as it seems. I loved this group. They were funny and filled these hilarious stereotypes but at the same time, they were completely unique and not the stereotypes. You have to read it people trust me.
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  • Resch Reads
    January 1, 1970
    *Book Received in Exchange for Honest Opinion/Review*I don't even know how to start this review...because this book was so good it left me speechless. A stunning mix of suspense, mystery, and horror artfully blended with friendship and romance had me captivated from the moment Dee woke up in Prince Slycer's maze. I was hooked by the hype and the app and while a work of fiction, it was a nice blast of just how much of a wrong turn things can take when power is in the wrong people's hands. The plo *Book Received in Exchange for Honest Opinion/Review*I don't even know how to start this review...because this book was so good it left me speechless. A stunning mix of suspense, mystery, and horror artfully blended with friendship and romance had me captivated from the moment Dee woke up in Prince Slycer's maze. I was hooked by the hype and the app and while a work of fiction, it was a nice blast of just how much of a wrong turn things can take when power is in the wrong people's hands. The plot was action packed and I was getting whiplash from the constant twists and turns that had me clinging to the pages with anticipation of what could possibly happen next!Dee is the perfect heroine, with a traumatic past and plenty of determination, she fearlessly faces Alcatraz 2.0. Her will, wit, and instincts ensure she survives...at least through the night. Then weird things start happening, far too many things to be coincidence. So Dee and her rag-tag team of criminals start to search for the answers to their convictions and how they ended up here to begin with. And let me tell you, when everything was revealed, I was left reeling! I had to re-read the last 4 chapters several times because I simply could not believe it.Also I have to warn readers that based on the title, don't be a fool like me and become emotionally invested in characters because you don't know who the executioners will get next. I was left devastated after one of my favorite characters was offed. And it is hard to do because the secondary characters truly make the story. Nyle's easy going charm, Griselda's bad-*ss personality, Ethan's macho man, larger than life persona, and Mara's meekness burrow under your skin until you are routing for them all to safely make it off the island of h*ll.But once the pieces start to fall into place, Alcatraz 2.0 isn't what it seems. I honestly feel betrayed by Gretchen, she had me fooled completely. I cannot get over the plot twists, like I CAN'T. Don't even get me started on that ending...there is more?! How in the ever loving heck could more possibly happen? Haven't they been through enough Gretchen?! I cannot recommend this book enough and I can't wait for the next one!
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  • Kathy Martin
    January 1, 1970
    Dee Guerrera is the main character of this story. She was accused of killing her stepsister, quickly convicted on flimsy evidence, and then sent to Alcatraz 2.0 where she will be hunted by serial killers while being constantly available on the App that covers Alcatraz 2.0. In this near-future science fiction story, a man known as The Postmaster runs this part of the criminal justice system. Fans stream and comment on the gruesome deaths and form fanclubs for the killers.Dee has to find a way to Dee Guerrera is the main character of this story. She was accused of killing her stepsister, quickly convicted on flimsy evidence, and then sent to Alcatraz 2.0 where she will be hunted by serial killers while being constantly available on the App that covers Alcatraz 2.0. In this near-future science fiction story, a man known as The Postmaster runs this part of the criminal justice system. Fans stream and comment on the gruesome deaths and form fanclubs for the killers.Dee has to find a way to survive Alcatraz 2.0 and she would really like to find out who actually killer her stepsister Monica who was a big fan of Gucci Hangman who uses Gucci scarves to hang his victims. Being an Alcatraz 2.0 brings flashbacks of her kidnapping at age 11 when she was held prisoner in a white room by a fourteen-year-old psychopath. After her rescue, her father moved them both and changed their names.Dee is met by Nyles who is the one assigned to show her around Alcatraz 2.0. Nyles is currently off the victim list as his case is being appealed and he has diplomatic immunity. Nyles introduces Dee to her new job at the local ice cream parlor where she meets Griselda and Blair. Blair tells her the rules to prolong her survival. The number one rule is to trust nobody. Dee soon believes that her kidnapping has a direct relationship to her current situation. She and her friends are special targets of the killers. I enjoyed this story despite the fact that the many murders were quite gruesome. I thought the comments from fans of the feed were interesting and adding a new viewpoint to the story. I liked that Dee was smart. I liked the way the kids managed to outwit the killer. The ending resolved most of the story but had enough of a cliffhanger to allow for more books. This would be a great story for readers who are obsessed with social media and who want to read a mystery too.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    FUCK
  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoy this book. It was very hard to put down. I hope for a follow up for the book soon. Did post an review on my blog, https://abellafairytale.wordpress.com
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