Lyga, Barry and Morgan Baden. The Hive.
Lyga, Barry and Morgan Baden. The Hive. Kids Can Press, September 2019. 416p. $17.99. 978-1525300608
3Q * 5P * S * NA
In a near-future United States, social media platform BLINQ is mandatory for all adults. Ratings on the Heuristic Internet Vetting Engine (H.I.V.E.) determine who gets condemned to public acts of violence. Hive justice can escalate to a death sentence. Cassie McKinley, known as CassieMcK39, who is biracial, still mourns her father's death as she starts her senior year of high school. A gifted coder like her famous father was, Cassie joins two groups of friends--the Beautiful People and the Techies. Then Cassie posts one offensive joke to impress the Beautiful People, and the fast-paced plot turns terrifying a quarter of the way into The Hive. Cassie must fight for her survival, helped by a resistance group. Meanwhile, the NSA is tracking her mother, who teaches at Microsoft BuzzFeed University, in search of information Cassie's father left behind.
Primarily told in Cassie's first person narrative perspective, The Hive also alternates with her mother Rachel's third person view. The stylistic merging of coauthors Barry Lyga and Morgan Baden is based on a concept by Jennifer Beals and Tom Jacobson. The Hive highlights the worst aspects of going viral. Hashtags and screengrabs show the Hive Mob's zeal to assault and kill Cassie (#killonsight #HasCassieSurfacedYet?). As in The Purge series, sanctioning of vigilante violence uncovers hatred and misogyny. This dystopian novel offers warnings about surveillance, social media, popularity, and privacy loss. Didacticism is generally avoided, but unfortunate representation of a quasi-fictionalized president distracts. Watch out for Hive justice before it comes for you next.--Amy Cummins