Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Review: Wickedpedia by Chris Van Etten

Author: Chris Van Etten
Genre: Point Horror, Young Adult
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: June 24, 2014
Links: Goodreads Amazon

It's the return of Point Horror for the Internet generation! Don't open the door. Don't answer your phone. And whatever you do, DON'T turn on your computer. . . .

Cole and Greg love playing practical jokes through Wikipedia. They edit key articles and watch their classmates crash and burn giving oral reports on historical figures like Genghis Khan, the first female astronaut on Jupiter. So after the star soccer player steals Cole's girlfriend, the boys take their revenge by creating a Wikipedia page for him, an entry full of outlandish information including details about his bizarre death on the soccer field.

It's all in good fun, until the soccer player is killed in a freak accident . . . just as Cole and Greg predicted. The uneasy boys vow to leave Wikipedia alone but someone continues to edit articles about classmates dying in gruesome ways . . . and those entries start to come true as well.

To his horror, Cole soon discovers that someone has created a Wikipedia page for him, and included a date of death. He has one week to figure out who's behind the murders, or else he's set to meet a pretty grisly end.

Review
I, like many, grew up reading the Point Horror books from Scholastic. I have fond memories of staying up late into the night reading books by R.L. Stine, Caroline B. Cooney, and Diane Hoh just to name a few. Naturally, when I heard that Scholastic was bringing back the Point Horror books I was excited. When I heard of Wickedpedia, I knew it was one I'd definitely have to read. 

Unfortunately, while the idea for Wickedpedia was intriguing, it failed to capture the essence of Point Horror fiction for me. Here's what I found to be the problem with Wickedpedia, it was way too predictable, too safe and once the threads came together (which was fairly early on) I was left with very little to do but go through the motions reading until the end of the story. 


I think, however, my biggest issue with Wickedpedia was Cole and his obsession with his ex-girlfriend. I saw nothing redeemable in Winnie as a person and that made it really hard to understand why Cole was struggling so much with losing her. If Winnie had been a decent person and genuinely broken up with Cole because the relationship wasn't right for her at that time, OK, maybe but it's made pretty clear early on she used him as little more than a placeholder until someone else better came along. Personally, I just can't get behind someone like that. 

Now one thing I did actually like about Wickedpedia was the use of Wikipedia as kind of the glue that held the story together. The entries were quite funny even if they were foreshadowing how people were going to die. If anyone has ever read Wikipedia you know anyone can edit pages, that's sort of the whole point of the site. So the fact a killer was using it as a way to communicate who would live and die was sort of terrifyingly brilliant. 



Final Thoughts
Wickedpedia could've easily been Point Horror's saving grace and ushered in an entirely new generation to the genre but that simply can't happen if you aren't able to outwit your readers and you solely rely on following the pattern of the books of this type that came before you. 

However, despite it's faults, I'm still happy to have read Wickedpedia even if just for the nostalgia factor. Could it have been better? Sure. Would I read Wickedpedia again? Eh, maybe. I didn't hate it so never say never. So, I guess that begs the question, Would I recommend Wickedpedia? Yes, however, unless you collect Point Horror specifically, I'd suggest borrowing from a friend or library before purchasing. 

With that being said, I'll be rating Wickedpedia by Chris Van Etten
 ★★.

 *Copy reviewed provided by publisher.  All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in an which way  for providing them.

About the author
Chris Van Etten is a writer for the beloved television show One Life to Live. He is also one third of David Van Etten, the writing team behind the Likely Story series.

5 comments:

  1. Ha I loooved those Point books like hard! I used to beg the library to order the next one and the next one lol! Too bad this wasn't as good - it sounds like Cole would irritate me, too. I need to understand WHY when someone acts that way. Also, I know it's related to the story but the title of this book make me laugh every time >.<

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  2. I think I just expected something new and fresh and instead this followed a very predictable formula. Not awful, just done already.

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  3. Ohhh I just loved those books back in the day too! So I'm sorry to see that this one was a bit of a letdown. Let's hope they come up with something as good as the point horror books of yore!

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  4. I think Scholastic has 3 Point Horror books releasing this year so here's hoping.

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  5. I love that tagline. I actually don't know if I'm familiar with the Point Horror books. I'll have to go look those up.

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