A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Thousandth Floor is a teen mystery novel set in the year 2118. The large cast of characters exhibits a wide range of good and bad behaviors, with everyone being imperfect and a mixture of both. Older teens drink frequently, with meals and parental approval and to excess at parties and social gatherings, with little consequences except hangovers and remorse. They also do a lot of recreational drugs with nonchalant attitudes. One character is recently out of rehab for drug addiction; she gets high again, and it's described positively from her point of view but has disastrous consequences. Passionate kissing and making out are described a few times; romance and hookups are major plot and character elements. Strong language is not frequent but includes "f--k," "s--t," "asshole," and more. The main teen social circle is a very elite, extremely wealthy, and highly glamorized group, but we see that even for the cream of the crop, life is not perfect or trouble-free.
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What's the story?
In the year 2118, a girl in New York City falls from THE THOUSANDTH FLOOR to her death on the street below. Flashing back several months, we meet a large circle of high school juniors and seniors, most of them extremely wealthy, enjoying lives of privilege and seemingly endless possibility in the upper stories of the Tower. But life at the top isn't all fun and games. As we get to know Avery, Leda, Watt, Eris, Rylin, and others, we learn that sometimes climbing higher just means you have further to fall. So which friend paid the ultimate price, and why? Was it an accident? Did she jump? Or was she pushed?
Is it any good?
This strong debut is a fantastic balancing act few first-timers pull off: The futuristic setting is realistic, fully realized, and fascinating, and the large cast of characters is very well-developed. The weaving back and forth between points of view keeps the pages turning, and it's always easy to keep track of who's who. Also, not knowing who the victim is adds a level of suspense that lasts to very end.
Teens will be drawn to the hyper-glamorized lifestyle of these wealthy, elite characters. But everyone in The Thousandth Floor has a dark side, too, which adds heft and relatability to all the teen drama. Although the future setting might make it seem like a fantasy, prevailing lax attitudes about drinking, drugs, and sex make it best for teens grounded enough not to be seduced by the "cool factor." The ending surprises, satisfies, and leaves the door wide open for more, which fans no doubt will eagerly await.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether The Thousandth Floor glamorizes drinking and drug use. Does it seem realistic or exaggerated? What are the negative consequences?
Does the strong language seem realistic to you? Do teens really use that much strong language, or do books, movies, and other media only make it seem like they do? How much is OK?
Watt uses the money he gets from illicit hacking to save for college. Does that make it OK? What choices or opportunities does he have to get into college?
- Author: Katharine McGee
- Genre: Mystery
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, High School
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Harper
- Publication date: August 30, 2016
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 13 - 17
- Number of pages: 448
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: May 17, 2019
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