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Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Viral by Helen FitzGerald

So far, twenty-three thousand and ninety six people have seen me online. They include my mother, my father, my little sister, my grandmother, my other grandmother, my grandfather, my boss, my sixth year Biology teacher and my boyfriend James.

Title:               Viral
Author:           Helen FitzGerald
Published By: Faber & Faber
Date:               28th January 2016
Link:               UK: Amazon   US: Amazon

My Review

The first thing I heard about this book was the shocking first line. As this really happened to a girl and a video did go viral I thought it was an interesting premis to go with.
The story starts with Su-Jin who was on holiday with her younger sister Leah and her friends. Leah doesn't really like her sister but her mum forced her to let her go on the holiday.
Su-Jin is a very studious person and Leah is determined to get her drunk and encourage her to try other sordid things that Magaluf has on offer.
After taking part in a horrible event in a club Su-Jin is horrified to find that it was filmed and the video had gone viral. She is far too embarrassed to go home and needs to sort her head out.

Back home her mum Ruth is horrified but doesn't blame Su-Jin at all and she appeals for her to come home. As a Judge, Ruth is determined to find out that a crime has been committed and starts an investigation of her own, she also blames Leah for not helping her sister.
This book was really unexpected as although the main focus is the event that took place and the devastating repercussions that followed, it opens up to talk about the history of Su-Jin and where she came from. Also the difficult relationship that Ruth has with one of her daughters and how that came about.
The book is gripping and races along wondering what will happen next and with the horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach every time the number of views goes up or every time someone recognises Su-Jin or a member of her family. It was such a horrible situation for them to be in and there is such a strong argument for there to be laws about this sort of thing which is horrendous and ruins people's lives.
I completely agreed with Ruth about the crimes she insisted were committed.
I felt some of the scenarios that followed with Ruth were a little far fetched but they would be exactly the sort of things that you would want to do if this had happened to a member of your family so I still enjoyed those bits.
Character wise I loved Su-Jin she was such a resilient lovely girl who really didn't deserve any of what happened. I enjoyed going on her journey to fulfilment which helped her to understand what was important in her life and I absolutely loved the ending.
This is a great book with a lot of food for thought regarding social media and anti social behaviour which is treated like a game in some of these places.
Highly recommended for a fast paced controversial read.
Thanks to Faber and Faber for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

Book Angels x

About the Author

Helen FitzGerald is the bestselling author of Dead Lovely (2007) and nine other adult and young adult thrillers, including My Last Confession (2009), The Donor (2011), The Cry (2013), which was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year and the Guardian's Not the Booker Prize, and The Exit (2015). Helen has worked as a criminal justice social worker for over ten years. She is one of thirteen children and grew up in Victoria, Australia. She now lives in Glasgow with her husband and two children.

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