The Forge School is the most prestigious arts school in the country. The secret to its success: every moment of the students' lives is televised as part of the insanely popular Forge Show, and the students' schedule includes twelve hours of induced sleep meant to enhance creativity. But when first-year student Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill, she discovers there is something off about Forge. In fact, she suspects that there are sinister things going on deep below the reaches of the cameras in the school. What's worse is, she starts to notice that the ridges of her consciousness do not feel quite right. And soon, she unearths the ghastly secret that the Forge School is hiding - and what it truly means to dream there.
©2014 Caragh M. O’Brien (P)2014 Tantor
"The plot is fast paced at the beginning and end." (School Library Journal)
This is a story about a young girl, "Rosie" who attends a private boarding school for the arts. As a fun twist, the students are filmed and their time at the school is a popular 'reality' show. Apparently, there will be "winners" at the end of their tenure at school.
The students are given sleeping pills at night to make sure that they get enough sleep to fuel their creativity. She decides not to take her pill and discovers some disturbing activities going on in the night. The rest of the book is about her journey to find out what is happening.
I love this genre. This book has so much promise and the prose is beautifully written: BUT, it is told in first person, from Rosie's perspective. She supposedly came from an lower socioeconomic class, her parents home is a "boxcar". Her Mom and Dad are un-educated and hold dead end jobs. Her Step Dad hits her when he is frustrated. Rosie's vocabulary was way out of context with that background. She uses terms like "we worked together companionably' " Where did Boxcar Girl get that high dollar vocabulary? I don't buy it. Then when she addresses her Mom she slips into blue collar mode calling her "Ma".
Her "art" is filmmaking at which she seems to have no talent whatsoever. Compared to the other students, I don't buy her getting into this program, especially as a scholarship student. Boxcar Girl should stand out from the other Forge students in vocab, dress, culture etc. But she seems to fit in fine. She says that this opportunity is her best chance for her future. She wants to stay with the program, but she can't stay in bed at night. If it is so creepy then leave. Or at least have the consideration to clue your friends in as they may be in danger.
As the story progresses, she makes choices that put her in danger, eventually she does not have a lick of sense.
The end was tied together sloppily. Are they going to kick her out or not? Why have the meeting with the Board of Trustees if the Dean wants her to stay. Is it a sham? Is it real? What about the voice in her head? What is up with that. Make us believe it, give us more details. I wanted something richer, something more.
At last, I did get a hint of what I was looking for in the last few lines. If you are still listening at that point the "twist" at the very end was awesome. I wish the rest of the book was that gripping. Maybe I am to old for YA.
Very interesting concept, I think the plot needed more development and it would have been more believable if it were set in college rather than highschool.
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