Keystone – Katie Delahanty – Entangled: Teen – Published 7 January 2020
When Ella Karman debuts on the Social Stock Exchange, she finds out life as a high-profile “Influencer” isn’t what she expected. Everyone around her is consumed by their rankings, in creating the smoke and mirrors that make them the envy of the world.
But then Ella’s best friend betrays her, her rankings tank, and she loses—everything.
Leaving her old life behind, she joins Keystone, a secret school for thieves, where students are being trained to steal everything analog and original because something—or someone—is changing history to suit their needs.
Partnered with the annoyingly hot—and utterly impossible—Garrett Alexander, who has plenty of his own secrets, Ella is forced to return to the Influencer world, while unraveling a conspiracy that began decades ago.
One wrong move and she could lose everything—again.
I went through a whole range of reactions while reading Keystone. I couldn’t have hated the beginning more. I was disconnected, confused and ready to put the book down and never pick it back up. However, I reasoned I was very busy at work and was only reading the book in short fits and I really should give it a better chance to capture my attention. I’m glad I did. One week into my holiday, I picked it up again. There were sections in the middle that made me cringe, but the story comes together and I was intrigued by the mix of social commentary, dystopian story and heist novel. By the end, I was hooked. What a fabulous turn around. The end reads like a thrilling action movie. I’m intrigued about where the series is going to go next.
Keystone dumps the reader right into the middle of the plot and action. So much so, that I actually stopped reading and went to check if this was a second book in a series. The story starts in the middle of big events for Elisha, the main character, and readers must just go along for the ride, picking up details about who she is, why she’s just jumped off an exploding yacht, who and what the Disconnects are, the slightly futuristic world, and what on earth is going on, along the way. This sudden start makes it hard to connect or care about Elisha’s trauma (because we are not sure what really happened anyway) or grief (how can we mourn characters we never met?). It only gets more confusing from there, as she somehow joins (or has already joined??) a group of spies. After reading on a bit and some backstory is provided via journaled flashbacks, it made a lot of sense for the book to start after Elisha (or Ella) has left her Influencer life as she is rather unlikeable before and that is more palatable as she reflects on her mistakes and how she wants to change. I would have liked a few more details about what she knew of the Disconnects and Keystone as she started there, but I did eventually figure out the essential details.
There were so many awesome ideas in this book, and the premise was so exciting. I love the reflection on a social media addicted world and how this was explored in its extreme. I loved the idea of a training centre for spies. I loved the idea of reverting to old technology. And then there were just awesome things, like a hidden village in the tree tops. Sadly, I was a little distracted by the lack of details about Elisha and why she was joining Keystone, so my advice to readers is just take it as it comes, the details and backstory come later.
There were a few things that got on my nerves. There needs to be a massive trigger warning for the attempted suicide that is outlined in detail and real time in the story. I think that could have been handled better for readers, but sadly the shock value is achieved. Elisha’s attraction to Garret and her love triangle with Adam is rather cringe worthy. She does attempt to resist the endless attraction, which I appreciated, but she is often distracted and I thought that detracted from her awesomeness as a naturally gifted spy.
The ending ramps up the tension and the sexual attraction, leaving the story well placed for a second instalment.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Young adult fiction
Genre: Science fiction – Dystopian
Themes: Social media, communication, thieves, social issues, romance, sex, friendship, parents, secret societies.
Reading age guide: Ages 14 and up.
Advisory: Occasional coarse language, bit** (1), pi** (3). Frequent sexual references to sharing beds, hooking up, kissing and making out. Implied sex scene. Frequent consumption of alcohol. Detailed descriptions of an attempted suicide. References to death by explosion.
Published: 7 January 2020 by Entangled: Teen
Format: Paperback, ebook. 390 pages.