3 out of 4 stars
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OMG by Jenny Pivor is a thriller that follows Kylie Maynard, a young woman in her mid-twenties with a brilliant idea. Kylie comes from a wealthy family, and though her father wants her to follow in his footsteps and take a job in his business, Kylie has other plans. With a Harvard MBA and money from her trust fund, Kylie seeks to create a new app, OMG, which will help people make the best decisions possible for their lives. Imagine an app that could give you all the information available about a potential partner or a potential employer! Luckily for Kylie, a skilled programmer falls into her life and offers to build OMG for her. With the program up and running, Kylie realizes access to this type of information could be deadly in the wrong hands. As she seeks to sell her app to her political hero, she must simultaneously use OMG to help the FBI foil a dangerous plan involving chemical warfare.
The most enjoyable part of OMG is its main character. Kylie is an unlikely protagonist for a thriller: she doesn’t have any special skills and she isn’t a genius. In fact, Kylie is the total opposite of what one would expect from this genre. She is young and insecure, exhibiting many millennial traits some might find unflattering. For instance, Kylie is a trust-fund baby, with a Harvard MBA, trying to develop a best-selling app so she doesn’t have to get a real job. Although Kylie might sound unlikable at first glance, due to the expert development of her character, her flaws are what make her an enjoyable protagonist. Additionally, Kylie is driven, ambitious and caring; all of these positive traits further make her a character worth reading about. As a young woman, I could easily connect with Kylie’s fears about relationships, passion about politics, and strained relationship with her parents.
Moreover, many of the secondary characters are equally well developed. For instance, Simon, the geeky and somewhat-untrustworthy programmer Kylie employs to create OMG, added a touch of humor and a sense of suspicion to the story. Similarly, the quasi-villain, Lily, is given a detailed history to elicit some sympathy for her situation. Even Janice, the FBI agent tasked with protecting Kylie, is a fully-formed character with wants, desires and fears, instead of a carbon-copy detective like those that typically appear as a background character in a thriller. Pivor’s ability to create vastly different and equally interesting characters across the storyline brought this novel to life.
While the characters are enjoyable, the pacing is the shining star of OMG. The author skillfully presents Kylie with dangerous and time sensitive situations, but is careful not to drag any scenario out for too long. Further, there are many surprises in the plot that kept me feeling excited about the story. Espionage, political intrigue, advanced technology, difficult relationships and current events are all expertly wound together to create the webbed plotting that makes up OMG. Although there are a few occasions when one must suspended their disbelief to fully enjoy Pivor’s plotting, I had a hard time putting this book down and found all of the thematic elements to be well developed.
As much as I enjoyed the interesting characters and exciting plot, it is clear that OMG is in need of editing. OMG reads as a first draft in some places, with misplaced words appearing frequently and incorrect spelling of the main character’s name appearing occasionally. The errors became more apparent as the book went on. Though this book has a great story, the grammatical errors were overly distracting in places, mainly due to their frequency. Unfortunately, the errors force me to give an otherwise exceptional novel 3 out of 4 stars. Readers who enjoy fast-paced thrillers and those who prefer a realistic protagonist, especially a female protagonist, are sure to enjoy Pivor’s OMG.
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