The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

f44 stars 

More commonly known as “a futuristic Gossip Girl,” The Thousandth Floor is a novel about Manhattan in 2118 and centers around the lives of five teenagers living in a skyscraper a thousand floors high.

McGee’s stunning debut spins a tale of drama, lies, and betrayal, leaving us yearning to know what happens next. The five teenagers are drastically different but all end up sucked up into the secrets of the upper floors.

Here’s the official summary:

NEW YORK CITY AS YOU’VE NEVER SEEN IT BEFORE.

A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future where anything is possible—if you want it enough.

WELCOME TO MANHATTAN, 2118.

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. Everyone there wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

LEDA COLE’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

ERIS DODD-RADSON’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

RYLIN MYERS’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will this new life cost Rylin her old one?

WATT BAKRADI is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy for an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is AVERY FULLER, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Amid breathtaking advancement and high-tech luxury, five teenagers struggle to find their place at the top of the world. But when you’re this high up, there’s nowhere to go but down….

One of my favorite parts of the novel was the plot. Right from the start, you’re sucked into this dazzling world that’s not too wild that you could imagine life being like this in 2118.

The technology McGee describes is something that isn’t far-fetched. It’s not teleporting, but things like a simulation that lets you try on clothes without taking your own off.

Back to the plot, the prologue already sucks you in. This isn’t a spoiler since it happens in the first few pages, but someone is falls from the highest floor–the question is, who?

After, you’re flashed back a few weeks and start to get to know the characters. I think the plot and novel pacing is one of the best focuses of the novel. I love mysteries and thrillers like these because you can get sucked into reading about this new world, and McGee does a great job with keeping the reader engaged.

I went through 400 pages on the edge of my seat trying to figure out who went splat on the ground. I admit that I’m pretty terrible at finding the murderer or suspect in mysteries (I get too sucked up in the story to piece together the details) but I think McGee did an expert job of leading up to this. I only predicted who died in the chapter before the act happened.

There’s a perfect balance of description and action and I never felt like I needed a break from the book.

McGee does a great job of developing the characters & their backstories which are incredibly important to this novel. The characters aren’t that dynamic; in all honesty, they’re petty teenagers who make bad decisions ruled by their emotions at times. But it’s fun to read, and that’s what’s important.

Just gonna put this out there, Walt is my favorite character because who doesn’t love a badass hacker with a quantum computer? Smart is the new sexy, people.

As someone who strives to live a drama-free lifestyle, I’m not familiar with what it’s like to be caught up in high class drama, but if I would guess what it was like to be stinkin’ rich (okay, if I was rich, I’d really just buy a lot of books) it would be close to this. It seems so easy to get wrapped up in the luxury of this life, which is why it’s nice to see the fall from grace of one of the main characters, Eris.

The socioeconomic differences between the characters are all addressed nicely, whether it was Watt pretending he lived on a higher floor or Eris trying to acclimate to living on a lower floor where there was a lower living standard.

Some details seem a little dystopian to me, I mean, why would someone on the lower floor have rats in their apartment? It’s the premier building in New York, shouldn’t the rats be in McGregor’s cheap apartments down the street? The entire building should technically be pretty nice since it’s the nicest place to live in the world.

Due to the plot’s intensity, you’re almost in a bubble and there’s not as much information about life outside the building. Likewise, the adults are put on the backburner. We don’t see very much adult supervision and most of them are either clueless or careless, which is not the case for some parents. I think a stronger adult presence would have been nice & kept me from banging my head on the wall a few times when the main characters would make a not-so-smart decision.

This leads me to an important topic to address. If you get easily frustrated by characters making bad decisions, this probably isn’t the book for you. It’s hard to find a book with perfect characters who do everything right because how interesting would that book be? There’s not much room for plot.

These characters are petty, selfish, and have a shit-ton of flaws. That’s what makes them so interesting to read. You’ll end up liking some characters more than others (a lot more than others) and you’ll want to read some chapters from certain POVs more than others.

The Thousandth Floor is told through alternating third person limited POVs of different characters and helps the reader figure out what is happening and how all their lives link together.

There were a few more points I didn’t like about this novel, contributing to the loss of a star.

One of the largest ones was the (this isn’t a spoiler since it’s revealed in the first few chapters) relationship Avery, the girl on the Thousandth Floor, had with her step-brother.

I’m pretty apathetic to plotlines involving step-brother/step-sister relationships, but I don’t condone them or actively try to read them. I personally think Avery should just get over it because there are millions of other fish in the sea (like my baby, Walt), but it’s a key part to the plot.

If this is something that grates on your nerves, I wouldn’t recommend reading this because it’s a major part of the novel. There isn’t much action between Avery and her stepbrother in the first half, but things get racier towards the end.

There’s also around five sex scenes and one rape scene plus the heavy drug and alcohol usage in this novel so I advise younger readers to take caution when they debate if they want to read this book. I would say 15+ is a good age range, but it’s obviously a case by case decision.

It’s a given that these characters aren’t the brightest or the ones who get into the Ivies because they’re smart. They’re a bunch of rich kids who do a ton of bad things and get away with it. It’s a glamorous world that’s not like real life.

The diversity didn’t seemed forced in this novel, which was a nice plus side; Walt is Iranian, Leda is black, and Eris is bisexual. McGee portrays a larger acceptance of diversity in 2118 for both race and sexual orientation.

I would not recommend this to some people. Lovers of Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars will probably enjoy this book. There’s a lot of drama and bad decision making, but the plot is thrilling. I can always finish a book and just go back to real life, but if you’re someone who isn’t a fan of petty drama (which turns more serious) and characters who aren’t down to earth, it’s probably better for you to find something else to read that doesn’t make you pull your hair out.

All in all, I think The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee was a fun and thrilling novel to read & escape reality for a few hours.

compressed gif

Have you read The Thousandth Floor? What do you think of the novel? Feel free to drop any questions, comments, or concerns below in the comments!

UPDATE 16 August 2017: Epic Reads made an awesome character chart below for The Thousandth Floor in their blog post if you’re ever confused!

thousandth floor infographic

 

2 thoughts on “The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

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