How The Thousandth Floor Put Me Off

October 21, 2016 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 2 stars, Books, Reviews

How The Thousandth Floor Put Me OffThe Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee
Published by HarperCollins on August 30th 2016
Source: Publisher
Genres: Science Fiction, Contemporary, Young Adult
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New York City as you’ve never seen it before. A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible—if you want it enough.
Welcome to Manhattan, 2118.

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose.
Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.
Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.
Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?
Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.
And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.
Debut author Katharine McGee has created a breathtakingly original series filled with high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, where the impossible feels just within reach. But in this world, the higher you go, the farther there is to fall….

So it appears that you can disagree with your co-bloggers on books. While Jenna loved The Thousandth Floor (you can read her review here), I could not stand it.

It started out promising, with the use of technological advancements leading to life with Manhattan in a thousand floor tower. Those who live at the top, such as Avery and her friends, live a charmed life filled with parties, drugs, gossip and opulence, while those who live towards the bottom live a life of poverty. I found the use of technology throughout the novel to be really fascinating, especially when contrasted to the lives of the poorer Rylin who has to work as a cleaner and Eris who has to move to the lower levels.

There’s some interesting concepts here, where everyone wears contacts which acts as super computers. They can watch TV from these contacts, read people’s lips, but the contacts are directed by voice commands. There’s also bars filled with hoverboards, dresses filled with illuminated mirrors and genetically modified flowers that attract light.

The real reason I couldn’t stand The Thousandth Floor however, is also the same reason why I couldn’t continue with the Mortal Instruments series past the first few books – it contains a hefty dose of brother-sister romance, or incest. I don’t care if Avery and Atlas aren’t related by blood and they’re technically step-siblings, but hearing about them pining away for one another made me uncomfortable. And it’s not just a brief mention, in fact most of the book is centered around this and the drama and the fall out from it.


I wasn’t particularly interested in any of the characters either, I felt like they got pretty boring really fast. While on the upside, their dramas and complaints seemed to be valid, it was filled with nonsensical friendship and romantic drama that doesn’t really go anywhere until the last few chapters of the book. Avery pines away for Atlas, Leda and Watt who start dating them wonder why they’re aloof, Eris starts dating someone from a lower floor and Rylin starts dating Cole. It all felt a bit too messy and convoluted and no one really interacted with each other outside of the parties outside of their thoughts.

Watt was probably the most interesting character for me, who has a supercomputer Nadia embedded into his skull. But when he decided to use his skills for picking up Avery and hacking instead of anything particularly useful, he soon lost his appeal. He also felt a lot like Dan from Gossip Girl, the typical outsider who isn’t that attractive but somehow works his way into the in crowd. I didn’t like Dan at all, which also summarises my feelings on Watt.

The heavy use of drugs and alcohol was also rather disturbing here, with Leda as a drug addict recovering from rehab and Rylin’s involvement with people who deal in drugs. Their use of hardcore drugs and partying rarely had any repercussions outside of a simple hangover. You would think for someone like Leda, that this would be handled with more care, but it felt like it was added for more dramatic effect. She used the drugs to cope with the drama but there wasn’t any guilt or much thought around the restraint behind this.


Whether you’d be able to stomach The Thousandth Floor depends on your squick level when it comes to sibling romance and a heavy drug use. If someone told me before I picked this up that hey, there’s a brother and sister romance here (but they aren’t actually related),  I probably wouldn’t have picked it up. As a futuristic Gossip Girl, it lost it’s shine really fast when the character motivations were paper thin and over-dramaticised. While I enjoy a guilty pleasure read as much as the next person, the limited depth in this one just made it drag throughout the book.

Rating: 2 out of 5


Thanks HarperCollins Australia for sending me a review copy of the book! 

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Tiktok@happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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28 responses to “How The Thousandth Floor Put Me Off

  1. Ha – I got here from a link in your 2016 book awards, and felt compelled to say that I agree. I really, really don't like step-sibling romances. (And lol, someone commented on my Goodreads review and tried to convince me that because the two of them weren't related, it was okay, yada yada). Yes, I can admit that technically they are not siblings but they were raised as siblings. So while I wish the book had been as enticing as the US cover, for me it was not. (That yellow cover is not nearly as good, sorry…)

  2. Somewhat Reserved

    Yeah, the cover of the book is gorgeous but I definitely won't check it out. the story seems a little gross…

  3. Hahahahha Jeann I couldn't even FINISH this. Which is why when I saw Jenna absolutely loved it, I was like "Did we read the same book? DID I MISS SOMETHING? Should I have continued?" But glad to see that I made the right decision, because I don't think I could stand for a "brother-sister" relationship (even though like you said, they aren't technically related)

    Awesome review Jeann! I think it's nice that there are two different opinions here!
    My recent post Top Ten Tuesday #97

    • Yeah, that\’s what I was thinking too myself TBH, I came in with such high expectations! The switching povs and the drama-filled plot just didn\’t gel with me, along with the brother-sister relationship.

  4. Squick level is totally a new thing.

    I've had the same issues with books with sibling romance, Forbidden was one of them too although most readers loved it. Even being step siblings with different parents and growing up together, you may not be blood related, but how.could you ever see that person as someone of a romantic interest. Pity to hear about the overuse of drug and alcohol abuse which doesn't sit well with me. I know I was a teen once who was probably worse, but as an adult reading YA it makes me want to box their ears in. Sorry this by work for you Jeann, the premise and concept did sound amazing. Great review! <3
    My recent post My Lady Jane

    • Yeah, lots of people loved Forbidden but I just can\’t bring myself to read it you know? There are just some topics that I feel so uncomfortable with. Haha on this side it\’s so easy for us to judge isn\’t it 😀 Thanks Kelly!

    • Yeah, I couldn't get past the first 2 mortal instruments because of that alone. I know they're not really siblings but I felt so uncomfortable about it.

  5. I have this book on my TBR, and I'm really curious about it, but I admit that the brother/sister kind of romance kind of puts me off. I'd be interested to read it to see about all the interesting technologies and everything, and I really love a kind of guilty pleasure read once in a while. Plus, I like the Gossip Girl vibe that book got. I'm hoping I'll enjoy it a bit better than you did, and I hope your next read will be better! 🙂 Thank you for this lovely review!
    My recent post Review: Here’s The Thing, Emily O’Beirne

    • Yeah, if I had known that the romance was in there at the start I wouldn't have picked it up because I feel so uncomfortable about it! It definitely has like a technological Gossip Girl vibe. I hope you enjoy it Marie!

    • Yeah, I struggled with the POVs especailly at the start of the book. I spent a lot of the book being quite put off by that topic alone, so it definitely affected my enjoyment. Thanks Nick.

  6. Honestly the moment I saw your tweet about the step-sibling relationship I was out. :\ Plus, I'm not a big fan of heavy drug and alcohol usage in YA books. If it were to help with character development or show a message to readers, then sure. Butttt if it's unrealistic (as in having no huge repercussions), then why even bother adding it. I definitely won't be picking this one up!

  7. capitolbooks

    I was going to read this book but I'm so glad that I read your review. I hate reading books with relationships like that so I'm glad that I found out before I brought the book.

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