Title: We Didn’t Ask for This
Author: Adi Alsaid
Rating: 3 out of 5
Every year, lock-in night changes lives. This year, it might just change the world.
Central International School’s annual lock-in is legendary — and for six students, this year’s lock-in is the answer to their dreams. The chance to finally win the contest. Kiss the guy. Make a friend. Become the star of a story that will be passed down from student to student for years to come. But then a group of students, led by Marisa Cuevas, stage an eco-protest and chain themselves to the doors, vowing to keep everyone trapped inside until their list of demands is met. While some students rally to the cause, others are devastated as they watch their plans fall apart. And Marisa, once so certain of her goals, must now decide just how far she’ll go to attain them.
Alsaid writes quirky characters that I like but can’t always relate to. Which is fine. Everyone is different, and I like reading about people different from myself. The writing is solid, as is Alsaid’s writing in other books of his I’ve read, but one thing made this fall squarely on the unbelievable side of things: a teenager is holding a bunch of kids hostage in a high school for a week, and the cops aren’t involved.
Even taking into account cultural differences—this story is set in an unnamed international location—this is so far-fetched as to make for a stumbling block I hit against roughly every three pages as I was reading it. The cops aren’t involved—and the parents who are all wealthy and important people—are okay with that? I find that highly unlikely, and if the basic premise of a story breaks the “rules” of the world the story in set in, well, that destroys the author’s credibility in my mind.
Adi Alsaid lives in Mexico City. We Didn’t Ask for This is his newest novel.
(Galley courtesy of Inkyard Press in exchange for an honest review.)