Blurb from Goodreads:
Knives Out meets One of Us is Lying! In this paperback original thriller a group of famous TikTokers find themselves turning on each other when one member of the group turns up dead at their beachfront Malibu mansion.
35 million followers. One dead body.
The six teenagers who make up the Hype House seem to have it all. A beach front Malibu mansion, millions of TikTok followers, model good looks, and sponsorship deals up to $30,000 per post. Everything’s pretty much a Gen-Z paradise. Except that one member of the house has just turned up dead in the infinity pool. And the rest of them are suspects.
When the group TikTok account starts posting cryptic messages about the murder, the police limit their investigation to the members of the house. Now old joke videos are filed as evidence and past rivalries start to look like motives.
As investigators dig into these influencers’ lives beyond their glossy internet personalities, they discover all five had reasons their lives would’ve been easier with Sydney Reynolds dead. But only one of them killed her.
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KILLER CONTENT is an entertaining YA thriller primarily set in a Malibu mansion where a teenager ends up dead, putting her fellow teen housemates under suspicion.
The premise is unique and timely as it follows a group of TikTok famous teens who move into a glamorous location together to boost their collective fame and fortune. I’m not into TikTok myself (I’m old-school, okay, I can’t learn another platform), but given how much money can be made if a TikToker has a large enough following and can hook the right sponsors, it makes sense that the teens in this book are so obsessed with curating the perfect image to appeal to their fanbase. Love it or loathe it, social media has a massive, inescapable impact and I’m enjoying how fiction has gone from using teens hooked on apps as an easy punchline to developing them as legitimate three-dimensional characters with nuance and narrative arcs.
Kat is the most relatable as a girl who got into the lifestyle by accident when her account blew up and she decided to explore where this could take her, but I also enjoyed Gwen who is allowed to be a shallow, girly-girl who likes nice things and uses her good looks climb the social ladder and acquire that rich cushy lifestyle she’s always dreamed of; plus I have a soft spot for Cami, the uptight type-A curvy girl who didn’t fit into the image prized by society and became driven to make a name for herself regardless so that she could be seen and validated. Of the two boys, Tucker is the stereotypical frat-boy douchey character and Beau is the sweet cinnamon roll too pure and precious.
Chapters alternate between the different characters and different time periods, flitting from before and after the discovery of the dead body, fleshing out various social dynamics and revealing the secrets concealed by different group members. I do wish that the writing for the different chapters was tweaked to make it more distinctive so I didn’t have to double-check whose POV I was reading from as the girls’ voices blended together at times. And you’ll need a strong ability to suspend disbelief during the police investigation scenes because that wasn’t realistic at all (surely the kids would be allowed to return home, not remain confined in the mansion with a killer among them)!
An enjoyable and compelling teen thriller that delves into the shiny idealized world of social media influencers and explores the fallout when a desire for fame pushes someone to do the unthinkable.
Disclaimer: physical copy provided free from the publisher for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.