Monday, October 28, 2013

Halloween Double-Trouble: Identity Theft & Defriended

Happy Halloween, Everybody!

Well, on Thursday, that is.

In honor of the spooky holiday, I am reviewing TWO of Scholastic’s Point Horror novels, YA suspense.

First up is Identity Theft by Anna Davies.

Hayley gave up what is considered a normal teenage life a while back to pursue what she felt she did best: academics.

As a finalist for a prestigious college scholarship, she is getting closer to her goals and believes soon all of her sacrifices of friendship and free time will be rewarded with a great future.

But she has to continue to keep a spotless profile in the meantime.

When a Facebook profile in her name suddenly shows up online with pictures of her partying and altogether NOT acting like herself – she is astounded. Clearly someone is using Photoshop to sabotage her.

But things get more disturbing when pictures of a birthmark no one knows she has appear in the pictures and the Facebook page seems to appear and disappear randomly.

Something is going on that Hayley, for once, does not understand…

Though at times Identity Theft bore strong resemblances to certain Lois Duncan books, there is a building suspense here that is very enjoyable to read. It’s a creepy and fun mystery that confronts some of the more obvious theories head-on.

Identity Theft has a moody, eerie atmospheric tone and is a great Halloween read. And even though the end is a bit cliché for a horror story, it has enough of a wink-wink feel to keep me satisfied.

Next up is Defriended.

Jason has met the perfect girl. Her name is Lacey.

She’s into all the same music as him. They agree on class lessons, they have similar senses of humor. They can talk for hours.

But it’s all online.

Jason wants to meet Lacey in person, but she always seems to avoid his request.

Then, one day, he gives in and does a Google search on her. He’d avoided it before because it always felt kind of stalker-ish.

Of all the things that he could have imagined finding out about her, he’s dumbfounded by what he discovers.

Apparently, Lacey died almost a year earlier.

Suddenly, Jason is thrown into a disturbing puzzle.

Either someone is playing a bizarre trick on him, or he’s suddenly talking with the dead…

Defriended started off intriguing enough, but never really became scary.

The concept was a little TOO unbelievable to me. Without giving away too much, I’ll just say that the things Jason becomes willing to do is a little odd – and the mystery itself, I felt, was very muddled.

Plus, once the resolution becomes clear – I felt there were quite a few holes and things that didn’t make sense earlier on in the story. But, that’s just my opinion.

So, of the two, my recommendation would definitely lean toward Identity Theft – though both could potentially be campy, cyber fun.

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