100 Hours

I stumbled upon this series quite by accident, having misremembered a recommendation from a friend. However, I am so glad I found it, as I wasn’t able to put it down! This duology features a girl named Genesis Valencia and what happens to her and her friends when she decides to disobey her father and spend Spring Break in Colombia.

100 Hours is the first book in this series, introducing readers to the myriad characters that factor into the story. Initially reveling in the euphoria that comes from breaking the rules, Genesis and her wealthy friends are enjoying their time in Colombia. Meeting new people, accepting strong drinks, and forgetting their worries back home in Miami are all part of the Spring Break experience. When Genesis convinces her companions to join her on a hike through the jungle, however, all their luck changes. They must dig deep to find the strength and tenacity to survive their unexpected circumstances and rescue countless others from impending harm. Please see my full review here.

I love the way this story unfolds. Alternating between the perspectives of Genesis and her cousin Maddie, readers are able to observe more of the story than they could through a single protagonist. Their antithetical personalities add flavor to the narrative, especially as they both grow through their shared experiences. Fast-paced and action centered, this story keeps readers turning the pages until the very end.

I’m also a sucker for romance, and this story was satisfying in that regard, as well. After all, with danger and adolescence comes raging hormones and a desire to live in the moment, so these teens capitalize on all those elements. Though initially flighty and unapproachable, characters gain depth and dimension as the story goes on, connecting readers more deeply to their experience.

The second and final book in this duology is 99 Lies, which begins immediately after the first book ends. Genesis is still living in a nightmare in the Colombian jungle, and only some of her friends have made it to safety in the United States. Unfortunately, many of those on the cruise ship Splendor were not so lucky. Using ingenuity and teamwork, Genesis’ companions in Miami capitalize on the power of social media and high profile connections to help bring her home. But the troubles in the jungle almost seem favorable to the onslaught that comes from widespread media attention and the weight of innumerable lies. Please see my full review here.

While the first book focused primarily on action and suspense, this second book pertains more to the personal development of the characters following their harrowing experience over Spring Break. Told from both Maddie and Genesis’ perspectives once again, readers experience the internal struggles and strength of both as they navigate their new realities. The other characters also undergo transformations, shifting alliances and using their particular skills and connections to try to make a positive difference.

I appreciate duologies because they wrap the narrative up nicely without having to invest in a third installment. Because this story focuses more on emotion than action, it does not read as quickly as the first book, but it is satisfying nonetheless as each plot point finds a reasonable resolution. While the characters in this story are privileged in one way or another, they become more grounded because of their experience and are able to better help others when circumstances necessitate doing so. Underage drinking, sex, drugs, and violence are all wrapped into this narrative, connecting readers to some of the darker aspects of the American teenaged experience.

This is a fast-paced series for young adults and older readers who are looking for an enjoyable escape, especially over spring or summer vacations. Enough connections to reality exist for readers to sympathize with the characters and their myriad challenges, while sufficient fiction allows readers to find themselves transported to another place. Fans of dramatic tales with danger, romance, lies, and justice are sure to enjoy the 100 Hours series.

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