Review for The X Factor by Ivan Sivec!
Quick View Review
Characters: **** (4/5)
Plot: ***** (5/5)
Writing Quality: **** (4/5)
Amazon Rating: **** (4/5)
Maja is a normal highschool girl. She trusts her family, does her homework, and likes to party. Until one Saturday, when Maja ditches her normal life for one full of glitz and glamour. Her boyfriend Klemen invites her to a party of Slovenian media A-listers, and one of these entertainment powers is about to forever change Maja’s life… And not necessarily for the better.
Maja enters the harsh world of modelling, her dream of becoming famous driving her to starve herself, take drugs, and question herself when she had always been a confident person.
Maja, being underage and without a mentor, is naïve and searches desperately for someone to trust. But in a world where all anyone cares about is personal gain, it’s nearly impossible to find anyone who truly looks out for your best interests, so will Maja be able to trust anyone and succeed in completing her dream or will she end up shamed and deemed a failure?
Wow. This book was tough to get through, yet was incredible (I finished it in one sitting… Oops). It demonstrated the aspect of today’s society that is disgusting and completely corrupt, the one that Louise O’Neill exaggerated (although after reading The X Factor, I realized just how slight the difference between Only Ever Yours’ society and today’s world truly is). However, there was something that held it back from being 5 stars. It’s the first time I’ve read a novel and not been able to pinpoint what I thought could’ve been better (I know, I’m not being helpful at all), but oh my god, it’s KILLING me not being able to figure out what was missing.
The characters, although there weren’t that many, were mostly amazing. I loved Maja and could completely relate to some of her insecurities. Sometimes I didn’t understand her decisions (ok, most of the time I wanted to SCREAM at her and ask her what the heck she thought she was getting herself into), but I absolutely loved how she learned from her mistakes and became less naïve by being exposed to the cringe-worthy views of those around her. The one character I didn’t quite understand was Svetlana. She was just there and then gone, and I didn’t think she added anything to the story except that she started Maja’s drug addiction. I wish we had found out what happened to her: whether she succeeded, whether her and Maja ever found each other again, and just in general how she turned out. Also, similar to Louise O’Neill in Only Ever Yours, I wish Sivec had shown a nicer side to some of the people. Yes, we did see Monica’s, and trust me, I was absolutely ecstatic, but other than that, everybody was so self-interested and no one ever really demonstrated that they cared about ANYONE other than themselves. It was only slightly upsetting, but other than that, my applause goes to Sivec for creating characters who were relatable and who fit the picture I think he was trying to create.
The plot: OUTSTANDING. It twisted and turned at just the right moments, and the ups and downs had me cringing and screaming… repeatedly. There wasn’t any suspense, but this novel didn’t need any to keep you turning the page: there was something truly compelling and intriguing about Maja’s story, and it was impossible to just stop in the middle. You were constantly shocked and utterly disgusted, but you just had to keep reading… I think for me it was because I was always hoping that something would give, that someone would prove to be completely genuine. Were my hopes fulfilled? Well, you’ll have to read to find out ;).
The writing style: nearly perfect. I think this was the thing I couldn’t pinpoint the problem with, because it was great, but the writing quality just wasn’t quite there. This frustration is likely just a personal problem because I’ve never read a book that’s been so close to my favorites shelf but that I just can’t quite imagine being there.
Overall, this book was totally shocking and educational. The characters were mostly incredible, the plot was one-of-a-kind and absolutely jaw-dropping, and the writing quality was so close to perfect. I recommend this book to all teens, but especially those who spend a lot of time on social media. This book will change your life and completely affect your opinion the next time you see any kind of ad or billboard. I can’t even look at them without thinking of the absolute horror those models must be going through.
Make sure to come back next Wednesday for a new review!