A freak weather event sees seven teenagers trapped inside Blackpool tower. Mourning the loss of her mum, 17 year-old Bo has dropped out of school and is working on the social media of a competitive scientific show called Ecopreneurs. The filming of the semi-final rapidly descends into chaos as a freak magnetic pulse leaves the teens trapped in the buildings trying to piece together what is happening. Secrets are revealed and characters clash as Bo wryly recounts the events. Structured almost like a script, with directions and camera shots setting the scenes, ‘blackloop’ highlights Bo’s interest in filmmaking. Although the camera directions at the start of each chapter or scene was a succinct way of establishing the setting, I was a little thrown by their use in conjunction with a 1st person narrative account for the storyline in the beginning. This isn’t a style I’ve seen before so it took me a few scenes to adjust. I think that because the action takes place in a relatively small area, ultimately the structure works. Over the course of ‘blackloop’ we see Bo’s character develop. She’s struggling to deal with her homelife with an alcoholic father and the loss of her mother, and the events of the book seem to help her realise she’s stronger than she thinks, which was nice to read. The contestants of Ecopreneur deliver a varied cast of characters, and we get to hear more about their backstory in their time trapped inside Blackpool Tower. Bo’s crush on one of the contestants, Karim, adds a relationship element to the storyline, but will she have the confidence to say anything before it’s too late? A quick read, ‘blackloop’ is an interesting sci-fi, eco-thriller for older YA audiences that touches on friendship, love, grief, corruption and corporate greed.
Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading4Kids Ambassador