Published: September 4th 2014 by Hodder Children's Books
For sixth-form student Grace Becker, The 100 Society is more than just a game; it's an obsession. Having convinced her five friends at Clifton Academy to see it through to the end, Grace will stop at nothing to carry out the rules of the game: tagging 100 locations around the city. With each step closer to the 100-mark they get, the higher the stakes become. But when the group catches the attention of a menacing stalker - the Reaper - he seems intent on exposing their illegal game, tormenting Grace with anonymous threats and branding their dormitory doors with his ominous tag.
As the once tight-knit group slowly unravels, torn apart by doubt and the death of a student, they no longer know who to trust.
With time running out, Grace must unmask the Reaper before he destroys everything she cares about for ever...
"'You must have--' He stopped mid-sentence as the flashing cursor began to move across the dialogue box, leaving a trail of text behind it. 'You have been tagged. Let the games begin'"Thank you Hodder Children's Books for providing me with an advanced reading copy for review.
Before my encounter with The 100 Society, I'd never stumbled upon a young-adult thriller. I'm not the kind of person who would read that kind of book that's filled with mystery and a hint of horror. Because of that, I'm actually really surprised with Spradbery's debut novel.
Plot-wise, The 100 Society is depicted by many as a combination of I Know What You Did Last Summer and Point Horror. I don't know much about Point Horror, but when it comes to the other one, this book surely felt like it was based off it. There were so many similarities between the two it was almost impossible not to compare the two. It especially contains one particular resemblance when it comes to the characters in this book. The one where the characters are naive, dumb and act like any other cast of characters would in a horror movie. Instead of thinking twice before they do something, they rush themselves into danger. Afterwards they are surprised they would have gotten into trouble if things headed another way. I know it wasn't Spradbery's purpose to do so, but it surely created some laughable moments for me.
Besides the fact that they are a perfect horror cast, it's obvious all the characters seem to lack in depth. It wasn't rare in the first half of the book that I got confused and mixed up several characters because of the similar personalities. None of these characters had a background or interests besides art and The 100 Society. As the story progressed, some characters started taking little things such as a kiss way too seriously when there were way worse things going on. Deaths were being handled as something they'll forget after a while and they would just go on with their lives. The group quickly fell apart when they needed each other the most, and no one seemed to care. They held much potential to be a nice group I'd be happy to read about, but they were all too shallow for that to happen. I don't have much to say about Grace as the protagonist, because she was actually really nice. I was taken aback by her likable character and her driven passion to join The 100 Society, even though she was just as shallow and stupid as all the rest.
The 100 Society is a book you would fit into the mystery/thriller genre, and it definitely deserves to be there. It was meant to be creepy and filled with mystery, and the premise of it doesn't disappoint. Honestly, the mystery in this book almost killed me. Right from the start it escalates and slowly works its way up, and while doing that it still managed to keep me intrigued. It is all the more reason why the ending is the best part of the entire novel. At a certain moment the action jumped in and left me speechless when I read who the Grim Reaper was. It certainly was one hell of a surprise. My guesses of who it was changed multiple times while reading, yet in the end there wasn't a single time when my guess was correct. I absolutely loved when the culprit decided to show his/her true colours and his/her motivation behind it all. So despite some predictable events in the beginning of the book, I never expected the book to head the way it did.
As stated in the synopsis, this book is centered around a group of teens who'll do anything to belong to a secret society called The 100 Society, in order to become famous and get their art recognized. I've always had a thing for secret societies, but I did came across a struggle I've had with this one in particular. It weren't only the characters who lacked in depth, but this society as well. I would have loved if there had been a little more to learn about The 100 Society itself. What happens when you complete all the tags? What is the purpose if you finally belong to it? How did they get in touch with it in the first place? Why did Grace, a spoiler girl out of all people, wanted to be a part of it so badly? If only I could have gotten more insight on it, I wouldn't be struggling with all these questions. There's definitely a lack of explanation, and I would have loved to have gotten something more than I have now.
I'm beyond glad how little impact romance had in this book. What we did get to see, didn't really qualify as romance but dramatic teen love problems. It was obvious from the start how it would all turn out, and how obvious Trick's and Grace's relationship was used as a plot device -- instead of wishes of the characters themselves -- in discovering the identity of The Grim Reaper. Because of that, it didn't came across as lovely or something to root for. Even the author herself knew very well how the typical teen relationships develop. Especially the types of relationships that suddenly escalate into an everlasting romance where they promise each other to be together forever. I'm curious for the break-up.
If I ever had to write a list of key-words about The 100 Society, words like action-packed and thrilling are on the top of my list, but I can't ever forget others like stereotypical teen romances, and undevloped characters. Despite that, I'm curious to see what this kind of genre has in store for me, to say it by the least. Here's a short life lesson before you decide to pick this up: do not trust anyone, including the author.