Top 8

Book review by
Terreece Clarke, Common Sense Media
Top 8 Book Poster Image
Popular with kids
Cautionary teen tale of gossip and social networking sites.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 14 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Friends gossip behind each other's backs. There is discipline for various examples of naughty behavior even though the parents aren't a major focus in the story.

Violence
Sex

Some kissing, talk of "hooking up" and making out, but overall it's pretty tame.

Language

This book has a few swear words that are pretty typical for most teens, though usage isn't excessive.

Consumerism

Car makes and models, some designer clothing and commercial store references, but nothing like most teen novels.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Students talk about wild, underage drinking parties when parents are out of town.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there are some discussions on making out, hooking up, and underage drinking. The majority of the story, however, involves the reprecussions of gossip and Web 2.0.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 13 and 13-year-old Written byGlamnGlitterGrl May 16, 2009

It was okay, very funny but some iffy stuff.

My daughter has read this a number of times, so one day I wanted to see why she liked it so much. After finishing it, I was horrified. Madison's profile... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byErinVJordan June 9, 2012

A+++++++++++++++++

This book was really intriguing. A few, just a few, references to drinking, drugs, smoking, and the "d" word scattered around here and there, but I th... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byhamstergurl09 March 24, 2012

Not for Me

I didn't like this book. It was too much of a chicklit (literature for chicks, meaning girls). It was really boring. I didn't really like the main cha... Continue reading

What's the story?

Madison sets off for spring break safe in the knowledge that she's got great friends, a cute boyfriend, and an active social life. She dreads the time away from her cell phone and computer access will be almost non-existent, but she's almost made peace with not being able to log on to her Friendverse account. When she returns home, she realizes her site has been hacked and all of her secrets are out there for the world to see. The fall-out is epic. Friendships are ruined, relationships busted up, and Madison's world is upside down. Now she's got to find and stop whomever is doing this, get her boyfriend back, and try to make it up to her friends.

Is it any good?

TOP 8 is a great book for teens on what NOT to do in the world of social networking. Online bullying has gotten a lot of attention lately and for good reason. Bullies can do a lot of harm without coming near another student in school, which makes this book timely and helpful. It also shows teens the dangers of allowing too much information and faith placed in social networking sites. Author Katie Finn does a great job in highlighting the fast pace and often frantic environment teens have within their online community. Timeless vices like gossiping, jealousy, and frienemy releationships are magnified and information is forwarded at a pace that provides too many kids with opportunities for instant notoriety. The dialog is authentic, sounding very much like conversations one might overhear at the local coffee shop after school, while the cat-and-mouse game Madison plays with whomever is out to destroy her keeps the audience interested.

What doesn't work is Madison's character. While she learns great lessons on honesty and how to put friendship above popularity, she still isn't completely likeable. Though there is character growth, she's still pretty narcassistic and can be mean. Who knows if the author meant for her to have some residual entitlement issues, but it can get annoying.

 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the importance of being honest with your friends. How does the saying "Never say anything about a friend that you wouldn't say to their face" apply to Madison's situation? How did Madison gain the respect and trust of her friends back? Families can also talk about social networking Web sites. How do sites like MySpace, Facebook, etc., affect social happenings in school? Have you heard of anyone beling bullied online? What can teens do to model responsible Web use?

Book details

  • Author: Katie Finn
  • Genre: School
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Point
  • Publication date: October 1, 2008
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 14
  • Number of pages: 244
  • Last updated: July 13, 2017

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