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Climb Your Way To The Top

Craving more drama in your literary landscape? Take in the view from The Thousandth Floor.

Climb Your Way To The Top

BOOK REPORT for The Thousandth Floor (The Thousandth Floor #1) by Katharine McGee

Cover Story: Cue the Sax
BFF Charm: A World of Nay
Swoonworthy Scale: 3
Talky Talk: The CW
Bonus Factors: Gossip Girl, The Future
Anti-Bonus Factors: Series Starter, Flowers in the Attic
Relationship Status: Superficial

Cover Story: Cue the Sax

While the artwork is certainly sleek and sophisticated, I took one look at this cover and immediately heard a deep, sexy voice of a narrator in my head over the soaring sounds of a saxophone. In other words, this looks like it could be an ad for an Elizabeth Taylor perfume. I'll let you decide if that's a compliment or not.*

*It is. OBVS.

The Deal:

In the year 2118, Manhattan real estate has changed drastically. Most of the city's residents live in the Tower, a soaring, monstrous structure that (to my 2016 mind) feels more like a space station than a building, with a thousand floors that house apartments, restaurants, bars, hotels, boutiques, an aquarium and even Central Park, Ver 2.0. And because people are still people in the future, there's a social hierarchy to go along with the Tower's levels: Folks on the lower floors, like Rylin Myers, who dropped out of high school after her mom died to take care of her sister, are struggling with poverty, while the top floors are inhabited by the bluest of blue bloods, including Avery Fuller, whose genetic perfection was bought and paid for by her parents.

Though the social boundaries are clearly marked by physical layers, that doesn't always prevent the riffraff from mixing with the upper crust, whether it's a rich kid (Cord) falling for his maid (Rylin) or a lover spurned (Leda) dropping major dough on a scrappy tech wiz (Watt) to spy on her obsession (Atlas, Avery's brother). And the resulting drama is so big, even the Tower can't contain it.

BFF Charm: A World of Nay

The Thousandth Floor is basically a soap opera, which means the characters aren't here to make friends, they're here to make things as bananas as possible. Everyone is flawed, though some more than others (I'm looking at you, Leda), and it's easy to identify the so-called heroes because they're the most boring people in the book. Agendas are shallow, decisions are rash, and if I had a nickel for every time I rolled my eyes at the garbage behavior, I'd be richer than Avery's family. (And they live on the highest floor, y'all.)

Swoonworthy Scale: 3

Without complex characters, it's tough to build compelling romance, although the relationship between Cord and Rylin (he takes her to Paris! Oh la la!) is fairly sweet. The sensationalized style of the book renders any and all sexy scenes garish, and the lack of emotion makes all declarations of love ring hollow. Oh yeah, and then there's the sister and brother who have the hots for each other. That... really kills the mood.

Talky Talk: The CW

Katharine McGee must have her eyes on the prize, because this whole novel feels like a pitch for a glossy, ultra-juicy show on The CW. I can see the taglines now: "A Thousand Secrets Kept. A Thousand Hidden Motives. A Thousand Backs Stabbed. All on THE THOUSANDTH FLOOR." As the chapters rotate the focus between about a dozen characters, McGee pumps the story full of scandalous behavior and extremely poor decisions. The result is literary candy, easily consumable pages full of empty mental calories.

Bonus Factor: Gossip Girl

Just like the adventures of S and B, these kids live a life that is as sensational as it is privileged. I LOVE reading about people being rich, and McGee really delivered a ride on the lap of luxury, with luxe penthouses, swanky shindigs and the finest couture.

Bonus Factor: The Future

Though the trashy bits were fun, I most enjoyed all of the cool gadgets and innovations of the future. It's obvious that McGee is a real nerd for this stuff, and while some readers might find all of the details distracting, I was constantly delighted by the technology of 2118, from napkins that automatically change color to match your pants to bubbles of cocktails that float around the bar--just stick in a straw and take a sip. (YES PLEASE.) 

Anti-Bonus Factor: Series Starter

I had no idea this book was the first in a series until I hit the last page and WTFOLed. Why you gotta play me like that, McGee? Oh right, because you're aiming for a deal with The CW. 

Anti-Bonus Factor: Flowers in the Attic

Look, Avery, I realize that Atlas is your adopted brother, not your real brother, but NOPE. NOPE NOPE NOPE.

Casting Call:

Elle Fanning as Avery

Kiana Ledé as Leda

Santiago Segura as Cord

Blake Jenner as Atlas

Relationship Status: Superficial

Book, we both know that this was just a one time thing. You provided an amusing distraction, but let's face it, there's nothing there. No feelings, no sparks, just the pleasant passing of a few hours, the memory of which will fade faster than an incandescent.*

*A flower genetically engineered to attract light, which only lasts a few hours. Just one of the many cool things to look forward to in 2118.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Harper Teen, but got cocktails nor money in exchange for this review (dammit). The Thousandth Floor is available now.

Posh Deluxe's photo About the Author: Sarah lives in Austin, TX, where she programs films at the Alamo Drafthouse. Sarah enjoys fancy cocktails, dance parties and anything that sparkles (except vampires).