Something Sinister Behind the Scenes
Still impacted by her father's suicide, Mica has struggled in school and in life ever since. Both her mom and stepfather worry for her, but Mica has more important things to worry about; one of them being the strange behavioral program they just signed her up for, Storybook, Inc. which is also the name of this book by new author, Parker Pace.
Suggested by her own principal, Storybook, Inc. is a program so illusive that only a select few know about it. That alone should've been a red flag, but the real strange occurrences happen before Mica even arrives. After her train is highjacked by violent criminals, Mica escapes with Roman, a boy just as mysterious as the program Mica believes the robbery may be connected to. On her way home to Seattle, disturbing events too unreal to be simple coincidence appear around every turn. When Mica begins to suspect Roman to be in on the crime, she is faced with the adventure of a lifetime. Will she break free of the script her life's become, or will she succumb to the madness?
I didn't expect much from Storybook, Inc. Boy, am I glad to be absolutely wrong! Storybook, Inc. is a book that will have you expecting one thing, throw a turn at you, make you feel safe, and then have you question everything again. It's hard to explain without spoiling the best part of what Storybook, Inc. has to offer, but please, please trust me on this.
In one chapter, one of the main-ish characters Roman brings up something called ARGs. And oh my lord, I absolutely love ARGs. Let me explain. ARG stands for Alternate Reality Game, and is basically when a story is told using real life things. It's a bit hard to explain, but the book defines it pretty well: "In an ARG, the platform for the story is the real world. There's no dress rehearsal, no stage. Only one chance to get it right. Picture a story that is truly interactive. One that has no predetermined outcome. Where the thoughts and perceptions of the characters can and do alter the storyline." Of course, most ARGs aren't as extensive as in Storybook, Inc. They're usually held online through websites and social media, and are chalk full of puzzles and riddles. The players unlock the storyline, as well as affect it, by solving these puzzles. They're very fun, and I hope to start one of my own some day,
But that's almost a spoiler in itself. And basically a useless fact. Almost. But enough on that.
I have to say, I did have a problem with some of the characters. Mica, the main character, is a good example of how to write a character with depression, and I appreciate that. Nowadays we have more mental health awareness as a society, but with that we also have a lot of people faking mental illness for attention, as well as the media romanticizing it. It's true Mica has depression, but she's clinically diagnosed, as well as having a good reason to be. Unlike some characters, being depressed isn't her entire personality, neither is it the entire story. Mica may not be the most relatable character, the way she is portrayed makes up for that. She's interesting in a way, which made me intrigued to finish the end of the book.
Roman is barely worth mentioning, not because he's a minor character, but because I don't like him. My opinion changed a bit when it's revealed who he is but that still doesn't excuse the fact his character was a jerk to Mica. I had no idea why Mica was harboring a crush on him even though he was a two-faced mess that would be nice one second and scream at her over the TV next. He wasn't nice, but I guess that just supports my theory that if you're attractive you can get away with anything.
For the next part I would like to discuss the big reveal at the end of the book, as well as how the Storybook, Inc. company is problematic. But that's a humongous spoiler, so that's why I'm landing the (SPOLIER) here.
Ok. So at the end of the book when it's revealed why everything is happening to Mica, I have to say, I didn't get it. If all this stuff was happening to me -- I was chased by a secret society, believed bad people were after my money, and saw not one-but TWO people shot dead in front of me, one of them being my mom -- I would immediately want to jump out a window. Why put an already severely depressed through an extremely traumatizing experience to make her feel even more insane? (SPOILERS OVER)
To make a long story short, Storybook, Inc. is an extremely interesting book with an amazing twist. Parker Pace outdoes herself here! It's the number one example not to judge a book by it's cover, which in this case, did not do this book justice. Storybook, Inc. is now one of my favorite books and I would recommend it to any fan of action and thriller.
Please go support the author!