I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Unfriended by Rachel Vail
Narrator: Corey Allen, Ramon De Ocampo, Nora Hunter, Cassandra Morris, Adrienne Rusk, Devon Sorvari
Length: 6 hrs and 40 mins
Published by Penguin on September 25th 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Social Issues, Friendship, School & Education, Girls & Women
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In middle school, nothing is more important than friendship.
When Truly is invited to sit at the Popular Table with the group she has dreamed of joining, she can hardly believe her luck. Everyone seems so nice, so kind to one another. But all is not as it seems with her new friends, and soon she's caught in a maelstrom of lies, misunderstandings, accusations and counter-accusations, all happening very publicly in the relentless, hyperconnected social media world from which there is no escape.
Six eighth-graders, four girls and two boys, struggle to understand and process their fractured glimples into one another's lives as they find new ways to disconnect, but also to connect, in Rachel Vail's richest and most searching book.
Why Did I Listen To Unfriended by Rachel Vail?
Confession: I love middle grade books. I mean, sure in the circles that I run in, young adult gets all the credit. I can see why, YA is so awesome. However, middle grade turns out to be pretty decent as well — especially middle grade fantasy. However, this book, Unfriended by Rachel Vail is not a fantasy book. Yet, it contains a subject that I actually really enjoying talking about and reading about – social media. For me, I find stories like Unfriended interesting because they are outside the realm of my middle school experience. When I was in middle school we did not have social media. We did not even have AIM yet. It was chatrooms for days and email. Part of me is kind of glad that I did not have all those things, now that I read Unfriended. Of course, I listened to this book because I like audiobooks with multiple narrators. In all, this is an okay book, just I felt a bit old for it.
What’s The Story Here?
So, Unfriended is about a girl named Truly who finally gets her turn at the popular table — considering she used to be good friends with one of the girls, but then that girl ditched her. Unfortunately, along with the invite, apparently Truly pisses off her current best friend, Hazel I think her name was. And so, Hazel acts like a dick and sabotages Truly. Meanwhile, there’s another girl who is popular but genuinely nice, I forget her name. OH and her ex friend is Natasha who I actually did kind of like, despite also being sort of a jerk. There’s also some crushes going on – including a guy who narrates who has a crush on Truly because she is smart — imagine that!
How Are The Characters?
Okay, so Truly is the main character and the drama essentially unfolds around her. I think that she’s a solid character. She worries about being too much of a nerd and changes herself to fit in –again, true to her age. I also liked that she allows herself the chance to make new friends.
Hazel is a total weirdo. I get that she’s wicked smart. However, I think that what she does to sabotage her friend is the worst. She’s not a true friend because friends should not ever do that. I was just not feeling her character, even though I guess I kind of understand the resentment and the jealousy toward Truly.
Nastasha, the former friend, is also a bit of a pot stirrer. I sort of liked her though. She loves her current friend group and I think it is important to find a group of people you can gel with. Also, Natasha even has these moments where she is lacking in her own self confidence.
And then, honestly, I do not really remember the other characters so they just were not written all that strongly for me, I suppose.
Let’s Talk Middle School And Friendships:
Okay, so like I said in the beginning, when I was in middle school we did not have social media. I am an old. In fact, I began those middle school grades in a different century (1999 what up). So, listening to this book brought a new perspective to me of what kids go through. Some of what Hazel does takes place over social media and email. It is awful. At the same time though, I get being jealous when your one friend finds other friends. However, that is bound to happen. People don’t remain the same forever.
You might read this book and think wow the middle school pecking order is awful. You would be right. The hierarchy is a tough thing. People don’t always have your best interest in mind — and that’s pretty much what happens in this book. But at the same time — some of the characters were ones that you would make a snap judgement about like oh she is a mean girl, but then come to find out she is actually nice and kind, as well.
I thought that from what I could remember, Unfriended, does a nice job illustrating the different turns friendship can take and the impact of social media on those friendships.
How’s The Narration?
Unfriended by Rachel Vail is a multicast audiobook. The narrators are Corey Allen, Ramon De Ocampo, Nora Hunter, Cassandra Morris, Adrienne Rusk, and Devon Sorvari. Rather than being like a full cast audio where the narrators will read every time their character has a bit of dialogue, the narrators only read when their character has a chapter from their perspective. I actually quite liked this because I find that when it is an audio where there’s prose and then dialogue and the dialogue is read by different people, it is jarring. The audio is 6 hours and 40 minutes.
Sum It Up With A GIF:
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