Sabrina Sebastian’s goal in life is to be an investigative reporter. For her first big story, she researches a popular website called Scream Site, where people post scary videos and compete for the most “screams.” While Sabrina’s friends and her sister, Faith, talk nonstop about the creepy viral videos, Sabrina just hopes that covering this trend will get her the internship she’s wishing for. But as she digs into the truth behind the website, she begins to suspect that these aren’t only aspiring actors and videographers at work. Some clips seem a little too real. And when Faith goes missing, Sabrina must race against time to save her sister from becoming the next video “star.”
This is categorized as a YA novel on NetGalley, but I have to wonder if that was a mistake, because it reads very much like a middle grade book. Fourteen-year-old protagonist Sabrina is a likable main character. She’s very goal-oriented, and her tenacity and love of her family are admirable. Best friend Evelyn is a hoot, and steals nearly every scene.
The mystery is intriguing, but requires a massive suspension of disbelief from the reader. The details overlooked by investigating detectives and the reactions from Sabrina’s family members over certain events are just a bit too unbelievable, and the wrap-up comes about quickly and has distinct ‘Scooby-Doo’ overtones. All of this makes me feel like Scream Site is geared more toward middle grade, or at least the lower end of the YA spectrum.
I felt like this book did an excellent job with warning teens not to trust everything they read on the internet, never giving out personal information to strangers, and the dangers of people misrepresenting themselves online. You can never be sure who you’re talking to.
I’d recommend this book for middle grade or lower age range YA readers, but doubt it would hold much appeal for the older YA crowd.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.