Watch the amazing Locus juggle several books at once, and try not to drop any! Free admission.
Welp, that was... odd.
I won't post spoilers or discuss the ending too much, because hopefully others reading this for YA Book Club will chime in during the next weeks. For me, though, the "big reveal" felt incomplete. And I know this is, in part, because this book is setting up the ones to follow (hence the title); and it's hinted that all will be revealed in time. It just felt a bit flat.
There's also a class theme that pops up around the end, where the boys (who are obviously wealthy) say that the school they'll be attending is bad because many poor students go there; and that just felt yucky. There's a bit of elaboration to that idea in the reveal at the end, but as a former educator, it left a sour taste in my mouth. Schools are much more complex than that.
My final comment for now, and this is something I actually liked, is that the entire setting feels oddly creepy; there's an artificial rhythm to the way the neighborhood and school behave that may or may not be intentional, but I liked the surreal aspect of it. Kind of a Stepford vibe.
Will I keep reading the other books? The first chapter of the next book is included at the end of this one, and I'll read that, but I might not pursue the rest of the series. There's just so much else I want to read. But I can see myself picking up again between heavier reads, since this was ultimately light and fun.
My low rating is mostly because the protagonist was a doormat all the way through, with little change by the end of this first book. Also, because I find detailed descriptions of what people are wearing (down to brand names, which mean zero to me most of the time) to be lazy writing.