First, I will say this: this book has nothing to do with the movie of the same name. (That's the #1 question I got while reading it. Heh.)
Why did you pick this book?
This one, like Wolf in White Van was a book that I kept hearing about and running into (it was also on the 2015 ToB Long List).
I bought it at a great little bookstore in Harbor Springs, MI called Between the Covers (I'm sure you've been there, since your family vacations in HS) and I started reading it on the beach when I was there. When I got home, I put it on the TBR shelf where it sat for... well, yes, a long time. When I picked it up again, I had no idea what was going on, so I restarted it. This was the first of many times I said, "WTF?" while reading this book and then chuckled to myself saying, "Good title!"
I finished it a few months ago and have little recollection of it now, I must admit. Let's see what I've got...
Give a quick overview of the characters and plot.
I just looked on Good Reads to get the synopsis and refresh myself on it and, first of all, just reading the book's description, I thought, "WTF?" and then I had to laugh at this question from a reader about the book: "Is this the start of a series of novels because this one did not have a logical conclusion?" Bwahahaha.
All right -- this description is scraped from Good Reads:
Three young adults grapple with the usual thirty-something problems—boredom, authenticity, an omnipotent online oligarchy—in David Shafer's darkly comic debut novel.
The Committee, an international cabal of industrialists and media barons, is on the verge of privatizing all information. Dear Diary, an idealistic online Underground, stands in the way of that takeover, using radical politics, classic spycraft, and technology that makes Big Data look like dial-up.
Into this secret battle stumbles an unlikely trio: Leila Majnoun, a disillusioned non-profit worker; Leo Crane, an unhinged trustafarian; and Mark Deveraux, a phony self-betterment guru who works for the Committee.
Leo and Mark were best friends in college, but early adulthood has set them on diverging paths. Growing increasingly disdainful of Mark's platitudes, Leo publishes a withering takedown of his ideas online. But the Committee is reading—and erasing—Leo's words. On the other side of the world, Leila's discoveries about the Committee's far-reaching ambitions threaten to ruin those who are closest to her.And that description actually makes waaaay more sense than actually reading the book, because the way it happens is that you meet each of those three characters totally separately, in pretty long, convoluted chapters of their own and then sloooowly, they meet up and join into a single story line.
I'll admit that it took me awhile to get into the story... because the characters' chapters were each so long, when we got back to another one, I'd think, "Wait... what's going on with this person again?" but it was good, once they came together.
And the "come together" part is not covered at all in that description, but I'm not going to tell you about it cause it's a pretty fun read that I think you might enjoy and I don't want to spoil it. Also, I don't really remember the allll of the convoluted business very well. Ha!
What it is like to be in the “world” of this book? How did you feel while reading this book?
The answer to both of these questions is that "WTF?" was a Very. Good. Title. I'd say it's a real "thrill ride" of a book. Sometimes I get lost with dark/underground/spooky bad guys, but I was able to keep up with most of the weirdnesses in this one.
What’s something you thought the book did really well? How was it accomplished?
Bringing the three separate plot lines together. It took awhile to get there, but once they did, I was glad to have so much "back story" on each of the characters.
What is one thing that needs improvement in the book?
Maybe the mysterious ending. I don't think it "ruined" the book or anything, but it did feel a bit unfinished. But... sticking the landing is obviously difficult, as I don't think that most books do a very good job of it, honestly.
All right! Time for a bonus/think-y question. Not sure if I'm going to be able to pull quotes for this, but I'll take:
Tone/Mood/Theme: what is the author's attitude toward the subject of the book and the emotions that surround the story?
The author was totally going for a feeling of "WTF?" the whole time, and he nails that. Weird secret groups, impossible scenarios, changing people's identities, remote hideouts, etc. So I think his attitude was "this is going to be crazy!" and he definitely does that.
Overall, it was a fun read. It's hard to write an in-depth review of "fun reads," but I read it, enjoyed it aaaaand... this post is DONE. Wheeeee!