It seems that subversion might be the new black.
In the vein of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four, Kimberly Hix Trant’s #Hashtagged holds a secure place in the canon of paranoid fiction. Common to the aforementioned genre where motifs of illusion and a mash up of literary styles are used to tell a story, #Hashtagged cleverly borrows upon such devices and successfully develops an intriguing plot where social media acts as a representative index of humanity.
The crux of the novel centers around the notion that the world’s most popular social media platforms store every instance and mundane moment. Such instances could then potentially (Spoiler alert: they are!) be used as a tool for ‘Big Brother’ to monitor and take action as required to maintain societal order. Reminiscent of some other popular young adult fiction novels, #Hashtagged finds the heroine Maddy Smith on a cross country journey to find the elusive group known as the Dinner Club who has a specific set of knowledge about her deceased father and the hidden teaching he was conducting.
Evenly paced and witty, Trant’s #Hashtagged is ambitious and creative. She does not shy away from asking provocative questions about the prevalence of social media and its potentially dangerous uses. Stylistically mature, Trant’s use of imagery and motifs presents a world not unlike the one we all live in. However, she manages to execute a story that is not trite or dystopian; in fact, she does the opposite. She has created a world where the storage of information, regardless of the context and platform in which it is acquired, can be potentially deadly. She brings paranoia into the modern age, and rather frightfully, onto whatever piece of technology in which you happen to be using to read this review.