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We Didn't Ask for This: 05/25/20

We Didn't Ask for This

We Didn't Ask for This by Adi Alsaid is set in the Kingdom of Thailand at the Central International School. Once a year the seniors get to take over the school during a night time "lock-in." This year, though, things will go horribly wrong.

The lock-in, being planned by Peejay, is hijacked by Marisa Cuevas and her group of eco-protest students. They want to draw attention to a construction site that is threatening a reef. They have a list of demands and no one will be released until they are met.

In Let's Get Lost (2014), Alsaid handles multiple characters by giving each one the chapters they need as they make their way through the narrative landscape. Here, with everyone jumbled together in CIS he choses to let more than one character have the POV in every chapter. With about a dozen characters all vying for attention it's hard to focus on anyone or their individual goals.

But it wasn't the confusing jumble of characters POVs that put me off this book. In the end it was the time line. Each chapter starts with a time stamp to give a sense of the flow of time. Typically in such a set up, one can expect the narrative to take approximately twenty-four hours. Here, maybe fifteen or so — the over night hours of the now enforced lock-in.

Not so. At the halfway point, there's an inserted page: "One week later." It's at that page that my ability to believe the scenario presented ended. There is no way a small group of kids — even rich kids — could take control of a school for an entire week.

Three stars

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