After the ending of ‘Top 8’, it was hard to imagine what the sequel was going to be about. Everything was resolved…or so it would seem. It turns out that Katie Finn had left little Easter Eggs in Top 8 that could help make a second book, like Schulyer’s boarding school backstory and Nate’s old girlfriend drama. And it also turns out that ‘What’s Your Status?’ was my favourite book of the series! Here’s why…
This book revolved around a heist, to capture the prom queen crown that had been stolen by a rival school. I adore spy-themed adventures, so it was excellent to see the characters interacting in surveillance vans and at an ‘HQ’. Everyone had a significant role to play, and nobody got too annoyed about being kept in the dark. It was completely addicting to read, although, like ‘Top 8’, the first half was definitely a slow build.
Pacing and Theme
Although the heist plan was great fun, I felt like the execution was long winded, and that conversations with other characters was just delaying what could just be a simple switcheroo into a major deal.
Plus, the spy theme meant that there were a lot of face-to-face scenes between Madison and her rival that were kind of cliched ‘You’ll never stop me!” villain speeches. Once is good, but when it comes to ‘I’ll get you for this!”, less is more!
I felt like even the minor characters, like the drama club, got their spotlight moment. Madison definitely expanded her friendship group and interacted with a lot of her peers. I love reading about mixed-gender groups, especially ones made up of couples. It’s such a cute and fleshed-out dynamic. All of the characters have very distinct personalities without being exaggerated, which is no easy feat, as sometimes with a big group, characters can all blend into one, or just seem too different.
Moving on from the Facebook parallels, ‘What’s Your Status?’ takes more of a Twitter angle on updates. I love this element in books, and because it was all just statuses, without emoticons or abbreviations, the content was less likely to become irrelevant, seeing as the internet evolves so fast, reading books written in the early 2000s now feels outdated.
So, in ‘Top 8’, one of Madison’s peers was exiled. In ‘What’s Your Status?’ a different peer caused the drama, but they were allowed to remain friends. At first, it seemed a horrible double-standard to be forgiving of one person’s mistakes and not the other, but in the end, Madison was able to forgive both and resume friendly conversation with everyone. Underlying, there were a lot of good messages about forgiveness and moving forward, and learning to trust, which really added to the value of a cutesy contemporary.
Overall, I’d give ‘What’s Your Status?’ 4 stars. It was pretty excellent, but I had a few qualms with it, that stops me giving it a perfect score. So far, this series has definitely been worth reading!