The one secret she cares about keeping—her identity—is about to be exposed. Unless Lauren "Panda" Daniels—an anonymous photoblogger who specializes in busting classmates and teachers in compromising positions—plays along with her blackmailer's little game of Dare or . . . Dare.
But when the game turns deadly, Panda doesn't know what to do. And she may need to step out of the shadows to save herself . . . and everyone else on the Admirer's hit list.
Lamar "L. R." Giles writes books for teens and adults. FAKE ID, his debut Young Adult Thriller, will be published by HarperCollins in 2014. He is represented by Jamie Weiss Chilton of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency and resides in Chesapeake, VA with his wife.
Once again, I’ve found a book that ‘my’ students will want to read. I know this because I borrowed Endangered by Lamar Giles from their classroom library. This copy is clearly well-read.
Panda (it makes me so happy when a name and title go together better than peanut-butter and chocolate) has mastered the art of blending-in-until-invisible. A skill she’s particularly proud of. Imperative for tailing someone and snapping a series of not-so-secret photos. Handy for hiding in the hallways between classes.
What began as one, well-deserved, public humiliation has taken on a life of its own. Panda anonymously prowls to expose the not-so-great traits of seemingly superb human beings. Her photo-blog, Gray Scales, is incredibly popular. Her best friend, Mei, is a true fan. But even Mei has no idea that Panda is the person purportedly balancing the scales.
Things change the night that Panda sees so much more than she ever expected. Which happens to be the very night she, the original school-spy, was spotted. And photographed. Sadly, Panda remains unaware of her shadow until her latest sordid shots are available for all eyes on Gray Scales.
While disconcerting, Panda did not find it to be particularly worrisome. At first. She was absolutely not prepared for the murderous rage that soon follows. She’ll need to do her very best detective working to identify the culprit. Her life, and Mei’s, depend on it.
Endangered by Lamar Giles is a YA Suspense novel, in that the main characters are in high-school; but the plot pulled me in entirely. I stayed up stupid-late one night just because I had to know how it ended. Oh-and when I later read a nature article that referenced a “camera trap”, I knew what that was because I’d read this book.
2.5 stars (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)
“How do you get the color Gray? Throw a Panda in the blender and turn it on.”
There was nothing wrong with this story, I just didn’t really enjoy it, and the above quote is pretty gross.
I liked ‘Panda’ and I thought that her heart was in the right place. While what she was doing was wrong to a point, she was doing it for the right reasons, and I appreciated that she was exposing people to make up for their wrong doings rather than to bully them. I think she should have known that posting photos of a girl having sex with her coach would have consequences though.
“Oh. My. God. I recognize him. Anyone who goes to Portside High would. He’s been teaching there for years.”
The storyline in this book was okay – Panda taking photos of people, things going wrong, Panda becoming the one threatened, but for some reason I just didn’t enjoy it. I lost interest quite early on, and even though this book wasn’t long, it certainly felt it. The conversations between Panda and the person blackmailing her seemed to drag, and even though things were happening, I just couldn’t get excited about it.
“How do you like MY work? I call the piece I sent you Dante. Get it?”
The ending to this was okay, and I didn’t guess who the blackmailer was. I really wish I could have liked this story more, but I think this was just a case of wrong-person, wrong book for me. 5 out of 10
This book had an intriguing premise and one that should appeal to young adult readers. Lauren "Panda" Daniels is a high school student with many talents. She is an aspiring photographer. She has stealthy (sneaky) skills. Lauren was once bullied in high school and decided to get even. She photographed the offender in a compromising situation and posted it to her blog, Gray. When she takes a photo of a teacher and student having sex in a car, things change drastically. Lauren has an Admirer and that Admirer challenges Lauren to a game. Only the game gets deadly.
Lauren is really a hard person to like. I understand her motivations, however she has no idea how destructive her actions are. Lauren always seemed to be sneaking around and herein lies one of my criticisms with young adult books - Where do these kids find so much time to solve mysteries? Don't they have school, homework, jobs, chores, video games, organized sports and social networking to keep them busy?
While I understand that this is fiction and we must suspend belief a little BUT if you are getting texts that threaten your friends' lives, would you not go RUN to the police? This is not a little thing. A teenager, even one with stealthy photographic skills couldn't possibly help solve this crime.
Don't get me wrong. I did enjoy this book. While Lauren didn't really appeal to me, I loved her friends Ocie and especially Taylor. Taylor seemed to keep Lauren grounded and was quite helpful in solving the mystery.
The mysterious Admirer had me stumped right up until the end. Well done.
Endangered should appeal to young adult audiences that enjoy mystery/thrillers. It's a pretty quick read so their parents may enjoy the book as well.
Thank you to Edelweiss and HarperTeen for a review copy of this book.
I don't quite hate that Panda/Gray is an annoying MC at the beginning because she does try and redeem herself when her friend Ocie tells her to her face how she feels. I like that. I want to follow Ocie's steps and tell those who think they're better than someone what I really think. (Though I luckily don't know anyone who does that 100% of the time.)
While Panda/Gray may not be humble, she is what a human is. She makes mistakes (though she doesn't want to admit it) and she wants to be liked.
Overall it was good.
3/5 (No romance. There's an ex but he's not a cliché ex in many stories nor is he trying to romance the MC.)
2.5 stars. My feelings on Endangered might be a case of “it's not you, it's me” because this book had some good traits, but for some reason it didn't really grab me.
Panda is a good main character with an interesting arc. She's sarcastic and funny, a bit unlikable towards the beginning but getting more likable over time. Endangered also deserves kudos for the lack of romance and A+ racial diversity.
Pretty much the only solid complaint I have is the writing style, which seemed amateurish and simplistic. It really impacted the book badly, making every event seem comedic. Suspense and dramatic tension feels shoved in and false.
There's nothing else notable about the book. Endagered is solidly “okay”. Not recommended.
I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
Actual rating: 2.5
Endangered by Lamar Giles is a young adult thriller that actually has a pretty great premise, and having loved Giles's last book, I was very optimistic about this novel. In being optimistic, I broke one of my own personal rules: Never go into a book with expectations. While I loved the concept and I even liked the protagonist, Lauren, or more affectionately called, Panda, there were a lot of things that bugged me in Endangered.
I'll start with various aspects I enjoyed about this book. First is Panda. Her spunky personality was great and slightly relatable, being the outsider and all. Her camera skills sound awesome and the way Giles describes some of her photography makes me want to actually have them on hand to look at. Also, I understood what she was doing with her blogging, even if the last people she exposed took things too far. I guess, me being the reader and actually digging what she's doing on her downtime, I was super surprised with others' reactions when the truth came to light. I mean, of course, some people would be angry, but what happens to her is basically bullying--which is ironic, considering all the things she did for so many victims.
The second aspect that I liked about this book was the prose. Despite my issues with Endangered, I have to admit that Giles writes an engaging story and mystery. The pacing is fantastic and I found that I could easily read this in a couple of sittings. I think it's important to have that particular talent with pacing when it comes to writing mystery thrillers, so I was definitely a fan of Giles's style of writing.
Here's where things get frustrating for me. Almost every student in her school is a hypocrite and her parents are ridiculous. Her best friend, while understandably pissed about being kept out of the loop, is another character that annoyed me to no end with her reaction to the truth. And while the novel's concept was so incredibly fascinating, I couldn't get past my intense dislike for all of these characters.
Basically, Panda is treated like a criminal for catching bullies and drug users in the act. She is ostracized by her parents AND the students who once went on and on about this mysterious photoblogger that kept exposing the truth. To make matters worse, Panda begins to doubt her actions. I don't know what this makes me as a person to be on the side of a self-proclaimed fictional vigilante, but all I know is that I couldn't enjoy this story fully because of these incredibly annoying characters not really grasping what it was that Panda did for them. Sure, the last photo-op went too far (I will not deny that), but when she exposed a guy for his cruelty towards freshman that included rope, a chair, and an outfield soon to be full of flying baseballs, or another for his use of steroids, I'm slightly confused about why these characters turned on their "hero". And don't even get me started on when one of these guys acts like he's better than her because of her actions at one point in the novel.
Then, there's this guy (this review is basically all about the characters, since they kind of overshadowed the plot, to be honest), who made her life SHIT a few years before and her best friend is all pals with him because, "He's not as bad of a guy as you think." Sure, he becomes kind of instrumental later in the book, but come on, I was not a fan of how this guy made Panda a social pariah and . It's ridiculous.
Next, it's Panda's father, who hates his daughter for her actions so much that he flirts with the line that separates parental responsibilities and parental abuse. Her mother isn't any better. I mean, and this is kind of a spoiler, but not really, WHAT KIND OF PARENT GROUNDS THEIR KID EVEN MORE FOR GETTING BEATEN UP BY CLASSMATES?!?!?! Seriously, what the eff.
I'm clearly not very happy about all of this because while Panda is getting bullied by everyone, she STILL has a psycho on her ass. Her parents are useless (and don't even get me started on how they end up treating her and what they do to her), her best friend is useless, the police in this book are useless, and the teachers at her school are useless. Frankly, I'm amazed the cops even believed what happened at the end--whether they had audio proof, or not.
So, while yes, the pacing is quick, I didn't guess who it was until near the end of the novel, the mystery was admittedly fun and the photographical aspect was intriguing, it was the characters who completely ruined this book and protagonist for me.
Sure, it's great to have a biracial protagonist (being biracial myself), and she was awesome, but it sucks that the greatness of this book was so greatly flawed by the minor characters around Panda's life.
Quick & Dirty: Endangered started off great with witty, diverse characters and a dangerous mystery but the second half of the book was a let-down.
Opening Sentence: I’ve haunted my school for the last three years. I’m not a real ghost; this isn’t one of those stories.
This book had so much potential, I honestly thought it was a solid 4-star read, until I read the last few chapters.
The writing was witty, the characters were interesting and there was plenty of suspense, so what went wrong? For me, it was everyone’s reaction to Lauren’s double life. Yes, she went a bit far with her photography and trying to bring about justice and the fact that her art might have had a hand in someone’s death was unfortunate but I think everyone overreacted just a tad bit.
I didn’t think her intentions were as malicious as they were made out to be. Until Keachin’s death Gray’s site was the talk of the town and it wasn’t as if Lauren killed her! Prying into someone’s personal life and sharing their secrets wasn’t right, of course, but Lauren realised her mistake. She apologised profusely, took down the site and came forward when she realised the ‘admirer’ was dangerous – why wasn’t that enough? She was taking pictures of bullies and the sort, for crying out loud, she wasn’t a government spy!
The only person that had a justified reason to be furious was Mei, considering she ended up almost dying on numerous occasions because of Lauren’s secrecy. Her irritation at not being in the loop was understandable, but Mei also had her secrets in terms of being friends with Taylor, which could be seen as hypocritical.
‘I love Ocie like a sister, but here lies the problem in having a single, solitary best friend. If she’s not down for the cause, there’s no one else to draft. I have to convince her.’
I thought that Lauren’s parents’ reaction was a bit over the top, with the constant surveillance, freezing her out, confiscating every piece of technology she had and shipping her off to the aunt. Their reaction was odd, I would have thought that her father would try to discipline her rather than send her off for someone else to deal with. If I didn’t know any better I would think that Lauren was an undercover assassin rather than a photographer.
I think that’s enough of a rant for now, so let’s move on to the positive aspects of this story. The storyline and mystery surrounding the ‘admirer’ and Keachin’s death made Endangered a very quick read for me; I was anxious to know who the ‘admirer’ was and what they would do next so it definitely kept me on my toes. I was hoping the ‘admirer’ would be someone more… I don’t know… important to Lauren but I don’t want to reveal too much so will leave it at that.
Lauren, aka Panda, was a brilliant MC, I loved her blunt and hilarious banter with Taylor and Mei. Her passion for photography was borderline obsessive but at the same time inspiring. Her work was her life and yes, that was unrealistic for a teenage girl, but this is YA people! I loved her sense of adventure and competitive nature and the fact that the author highlighted her imperfections, even though I do think he was a leeetle harsh on her.
I enjoyed the diverse cultures of the main characters and incorporating German into the dialogue. The constant talk of cameras, capturing the perfect shot and the photography ‘game’ has inspired me to buy my own professional camera (although I’m not sure if I want to splurge so much money on something I don’t have a clue about; stick to books Zed).
In conclusion, I could have loved this book if the ending wasn’t such a disappointment but alas, it was not meant to be…
Here’s the part that Keachin doesn’t know about herself; she’s a Raging Bitch Monster.
I’m sure she suspects it, but not in the way, say, a meth-head might suspect that smoking chemicals brewed in a dirty bucket isn’t the best move, thus triggering thoughts of a lifestyle change. Keachin, as best I can tell, does not have such moments of clarity. To her and her pack, bitchiness seems to be something more altruistic. An act of kindness because, otherwise, peons might not know their place.
Additional Notable Scene:
I say, “I was until you showed up. Are you, like, stalking me?”
He looks taken aback. When he speaks again, the sorrow has worn away. “Stalking you? You’re… you’re unbelievable.”
Enough. “What’s with you, lately? We haven’t spoken this much in years. Am I radiating openness? Do you feel the warmth of springtime sun when I’m near? If so, please understand that sensation is actually my fiery disdain.”
The muscles in his jaw clench, like he’s biting back rogue words. A deep breath later, he says, “The way things have been going, I thought you could use a friend.”
“Do you have a head injury that might explain the nonsense that’s coming out of your mouth?”
FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Endangered. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
With it's engaging and diverse characters and captivating plot, Endangered is a must read!!
When Laurens ex makes fun of her in front of the entire school, she decides to get back at him. Why should she be humiliated and not him? She takes a photo of him and engineers a blog called Gray. She posts the photo and everyone sees it, score one for Gray. Lauren then figures, why not try to humiliate the people who bully us! She then proceeds to take photos of the wrong doers and posts them on the site. Everyone loves Gray but no one knows who Gray is!
Lauren's recent photo is one of a teacher in an uncompromising position with a student, Keachin. Things start to spiral out of control from the moment the picture is posted. Then to top it all off, Lauren gets an email with only a photo of herself on it. Thing is, it's a photo of Lauren taking the photo of Keachin with the teacher. Someone knows her secret and is willing to post it unless she takes part in his game of Dare. Laurens life is about to change forever but can she find out who wants to expose her before it's too late?
Lauren, "Panda", was an awesome heroine. She is by no means perfect and I loved that. She isn't mega popular, nor is she one of the ones being bullied all the time, she is a normal teenage girl with a strong sense of who she wants to be. She loves photography and wants to be a wildlife photographer when she grows up. When her ex does what he does to her, it's by sheer luck that she has her camera with her when she sees him picking up dirty laundry from the gym. She decides to create a site and posts the picture with a witty caption. It takes off and as they say, the rest is history. She does it to make the people who are bullying realise what it feels like. I admired what she tried to do.
There was one thing that really really annoyed me with this book and that was how Laurens parents reacted to what she does. I thought they overreacted big time!! She is their daughter and both of them treated her like she was contagious. I know that if any of my kids were in that position that you would definitely take away their equipment but you would also understand why they did it and you would talk to them, not ignore them. Lauren did everything they wanted, and more, yet they came down on her so hard. I wanted to give her a cuddle and tell her that it was OK.
Anyway, now that thats out of the way, I loved the plot of Endangered. The mystery and suspense surrounding the Admirer was awesome, though I did have my suspicions. The game of Dare was unique and frankly, quite scary! Having to climb the building is something I never could do!! The freakishness of the Admirer was crazy. What he did and then sending the pics to Lauren was horrible. Can we say Stalker!!! As I was reading it, I wanted to read it faster so I could see what happens next! I couldn't flip the pages fast enough.
In all, an action packed and thrilling read. The Admirer gave me chills and the plot had me on the edge of my seat. I loved everything about this book and can't recommend it enough.
I've always been interested in the YA genre that has hacking and computer thriller types of things in it so I was pretty excited to read Endangered. I didn't read any reviews before starting this book so I kinda went in blind. I'm not really disappointed per se but I was really hoping for more.
This book started off really quickly and never slowed down. However, it started so quickly that I was never able comprehend what was happening. And nothing was really fully explained.
I liked the idea of the main character but she didn't really seem fully developed as a character. Also, as the book went on and I learned more about her, she really seem so likable or nice. She seemed bitter and mean. I liked the idea that she would expose teachers for doing bad things but I didn't like how she would be vengeful with fellow students, no matter how much they "deserved it".
Overall, this book was just okay for me. I couldn't really get into it and by the end of the book, I thought there was so much unnecessary drama and the overall plot seemed a little pointless. This book is definitely just for entertainment value and not for a critical reader like myself.
Overview Panda (Lauren) is a photographer whose mission is to expose the secrets of the assholes at her school. It's initially fun until a mysterious classmate exposes Panda's secrets.
The protagonist in Endangered is a Black girl and she's on the COVER!!!! Several of the characters are minorities and none of them live in the ghetto, become pregnant, live with a single mother (well one does but that's statistically sound), and they all speak proper English. YAY!
Endangered focuses on the secret of the popular girl and the other ones are told in flashbacks used to justify the protagonist's actions. The teens in this book have plausible issues which make this a juicier story.
There were moments of snoozefest but there were also moments of action and suspense. I think the action was a bit too unbelievable considering this is an eighteen year old we're talking about. She was just a bit too clever to be real. This isn't the first book to do this and it won't be the last but it still doesn't make it conceivable.
Panda goes to her parents when the situation has, excuse the pun, gone too far. Teens never go to the parents in YA fiction.
The writing was okay, it was thrilling for the most part, and the secrets were more salacious. However, the protag was a bit too clever, the action was a bit too unlikely, and the motive was too over the top.
A very interesting premise, but it lacked the tension I was expecting.
Lauren was a decent enough MC. Her inner monologue was just okay. The best part was her passion for photography, that really came through. There are a few secondary characters, but Lauren keeps everyone at arm's length, so I didn't feel like we got to know anyone.
I loved the idea of a revenge/karma photo blog and the repercussions of being found out. Sadly, the "dares" weren't that shocking and the reveal wasn't surprising. I can see how people will really like it, but I wanted more.
**Huge thanks to Harper Teen and Edelweiss for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review**
Fun, light-hearted YA suspense with a Veronica Mars style main character. I liked the inclusion of a biracial character and parents who are, refreshingly, in love. Amateur detective stories always require some suspension of disbelief. Overall, it was a fun read.
Lauren is a photographer named Gray who secretly runs a blog about people in her school. She takes pictures of students who she deems deserve to be exposed. Some of the pictures aren't exactly what they seem, but as long as the picture makes the bully/bad student look bad, Gray will post it. No one knows that she runs this, but the whole school is always tuned into this blog to see who will be posted next. Then she posts a picture of a mean cheerleader having sex with a coach, and it absolutely blows up. This is the first time that she ever caught a teacher for her blog, and the teacher gets fired for his actions. The cheerleader automatically goes from the top of the social pyramid to the bottom, and then she dies in a car crash. Lauren is getting mysterious messages from a fan and thinks that she knows who might have committed the crime. She will have to reveal herself to inform the police though, which may lead to repercussions for her.
I don't think that the way this story played out was entirely realistic. Gray takes a pretty graphic picture of a student having sex with a teacher, I don't think that this would have just flown over everyone's heads because they disliked the teacher and were so into the drama. Realistically, someone would have been trying to go after Gray for posting inappropriate pictures of a barely-legal girl and a man together. And also, the school would have probably tried to shut Gray down long before. I remember at my high school there were just a few fake Snapchat accounts going around spreading rumors about the school, and the administration actually contacted Snapchat to have the pictures taken down. No way that Gray would have flown under the radar for so long if so many students were being affected.
The second part of the story that seemed unrealistic to me was how the end played out. It just....didn't quite make sense? I don't know how to explain it, but I definitely did not like the villain being who they were. It was so random, and I wanted it to be more than that.
Other than these issues, I really liked this book! Lauren as a character was great, I always had a soft spot for those stories about the outcast-turned-secret ______. She also shows readers her photography knowledge throughout the book, which I thought was a neat way of giving her character more depth. She really knew her stuff! The only thing that she could have done better was that last battle, but that wasn't really her fault.
There isn't much romance in this, even though Lauren teams up with her ex-boyfriend for a long time in this novel. I think I preferred the lack of romance. If there was more romance, it might have clogged up the actual story and characters. The main drama actually comes from Lauren and her best friend Ocie fighting, which was bound to happen. I only wish we had had some sort of conclusion to that at the end of the novel. If there was a sequel I might feel differently, but this was a standalone.
Overall, I don't hate this novel, but I don't love it. It was addictive, but by the end, I just wanted it to be over. Some parts seemed really realistic while others just didn't portray high school well. I think I would have also liked the book more if the "last battle" had a different outcome.
I wouldn't necessarily recommend or not recommend this book, but if you have extra time and want to look at a new YA thriller, this might be something that you are interested in.
Photographer and self-appointed teen vigilante Lauren "Panda" Daniels runs a website to avenge teen and faculty misdeeds. When Mean Girl Keachin steals a disabled girl's crutches, Panda exposes Mean Girl in a car with their gym teacher. Then Keachin is killed. Panda races to discover the culprit, who may be the same person stalking her.
Lamar Giles has a talent for creating strong, multidimensional, kick-ass female protagonists. Lauren is such a great character because she also has a strong narcissistic streak, and can be selfish toward her friends, especially Mei/Ocie. As most vigilantes, her avenging angel schtick is more about her ego than those she claims to be avenging. I love that the parents Giles writes are full fledged people and active in Panda's life (though they do miss a lot of clues). I appreciated the diverse cast of characters as well.
ENDANGERED hooked me from the first sentence, drawing me into the plot. Giles writes with a strong, believable plot and the identity and reasons for Admirer's actions weren't obvious, yet made a lot of sense.
The one point that bothered me is that high school students, even those over eighteen cannot consent to sex with teachers. Teachers are in positions of power, even if the student is not in their class. It's rape, not sex. Rape is a crime of power and control, the sex organs are used as the weapons. Even if a student throws herself (or himself) at a teacher, that teacher is still responsible. It's the law. Blaming the student or saying she (or he) is at fault is part of rape culture. I wish writers wouldn't call it "sex between a student and teacher" or an "affair" or "sexual relationship". The media does it too, and I write news producers and anchors whenever I hear it, which has resulted in change.
Off my soap box. ENDANGERED is a great, diverse mystery that will appeal to male, female, enthusiastic and reluctant readers.
What happens when the game Lauren and her secret admirer are playing turns deadly? Can you figure out who wants to kill high schooler Lauren's (aka Panda, Gray) classmates and friends before she does in this story about karma (aka what goes around comes around and what comes around goes around)?
Originally published on Rich in Color in August 2015
I had heard only great things about Lamar Gile’s latest book so I had high expectations and they were surely met. Endangered is a fun summer read that I picked up at just the right time. The novel moved at a quick pace as Panda tried to discover who the Admirer is, while her life spins out of control due to her own actions. I am often a bit wary of mysteries because I try, like most readers, to figure out “who done it” before the main character, and with Endangered, I didn’t figure it out who the Admirer was until Panda uncovered the clues. I love mysteries such as Endangered where the reader is consistently second guessing everything and being wrong. Once the Admirer was revealed, I thought back to the little clues that Giles left and marveled how the answers were there all along, but he masterly misdirected the clues keeping Panda, and the reader, guessing.
One of the many aspects of Endangered that I loved was the YA tropes that Giles subverts throughout the story. The first is Panda’s relationship with her parents. Both of her parents are involved, to a certain extent, in her life. Like any modern teen, Panda does have her secrets but when she realizes she needs their help, she doesn’t hesitate to share her knowledge with them. She confesses her double identity and her “game” with the Admirer and how it relates to the murder to a student. This creates tension between her and her parents throughout the rest of the book, but I greatly enjoyed that the parent/child relationship was realistic and present in the novel. Another trope that was inverted was the “romance” angle, if you could even call it that. Panda’s ex-boyfriend Taylor Durham, whom she clearly hates, re-enters the picture and ends up helping her sort out the mystery. While her feelings towards him change through the story, from animosity to friendship, he clearly still has feelings for her. She does recognize her old feelings for him, but the hurt he caused her keeps her guarded around him, initially. Through the events of the story, they slowly rebuild their friendship by forgiving each other and becoming honest with each other. It’s a very mature relationship and also very realistic. I guess, based on these two aspects alone, that I loved that fact people actually communicated with each other in the novel. One of the YA tropes, or rather literary tropes, that bug me is that in order for much of a novel to make sense, people don��t communicate their knowledge with each other creating misunderstandings to drive the story forward. Giles throws that trope out the window effectively showing us that a story can be exciting and entertaining even when folks are honest and communicate.
I loved the characters, Panda, especially. She is fiercely smart girl who believes she is handing out justice, while not realizing she’s doing the very same thing she accuses the bullies of. The reader completely understands Panda’s position and emotionally connects with why Panda exposes the dirt on her classmates, as some of them are truly despicable people. When her life starts to fall apart because her identity is exposed, Panda’s heartbreak and her desire to repair the hurt of others, specifically her friends, is really what makes Panda real. This line “We’re all something we don’t know we are” is repeated throughout the novel as Panda begins to recognize who she was and comes to learn who she really is. She learns to forgive those who hurt her, hurt others, and also learns to forgive herself.
Like I’ve stated many times before, Endangered is a very realistic novel in terms of how the characters relate to each other and the relationships, along with the mystery, is what makes this story so wonderful. I was drawn to not just Panda, but Taylor, and even the Admirer. In fact, once the Admirer is revealed, I actually felt sorrow for the character (and actually that reveal is a wonderful plot twist that I absolutely loved!). Giles wrote a novel that is thrilling and exciting on the surface, but so much deeper when you get to it’s heart.
Recommendation: If you love compelling mysteries with lots of twists and turns, get this soon!
See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten! My copy was an ARC I got from the publisher via Edelweiss.
“stalker” DING, I’M IN. SAY NO MORE. That word is my #1 buzz word in jacket copies. I will put such a book on my TBR without fail. It usually works, but it occasionally fails me miserably. See: Save Me. Was Endangered a treat or a trap? Well, kinda both. It’s an intensely readable book, but it’s a crackish mess the likes of which remind me of my three-year-old niece.
Panda’s exploits as a photographer and the scandalous photos she gets are fascinating. If any novel needs accompanying photographs or a real-life site to match a fictional in-book site, it’s this book. It’s far from a good pursuit and she does not get off lightly for the problems she’s caused, but it’s exactly the kind of repulsive thing I’m into. The competition photos she takes to outdo her admirer? YES. SHOW ME THOSE. Panda’s genuine voice, the short length of the novel, and the fast pacing makes this a lightning-fast read. I only needed a day.
Where’s the problem? The rampant sex-shaming and poorly written female characters. In the first few pages alone, Panda calls mean girl Keachin a “soulless skank” and a “Raging Bitch Monster.” What we know about Keachin is what we’re told by Panda. Keachin doesn’t have any agency whatsoever and doesn’t even get to speak a single line before she’s killed off. Panda’s bad attitude toward other girls is part of her personality and she gets some wicked character development throughout the book, but her sex-shaming is never address and that bothers me.
Other problematic things get said too. An Ebola joke of Panda’s dad moving like she said she had Ebola issues? Er, there are better ways to phrase that her dad was bothered by her mentioning she had cramps. (Also, it’s not THAT freaky for dads to hear about that stuff. My dad can hear it and not turn into an awkward mess.) There are a few other meant as jokes said in dialogue that I could nitpick on, but I won’t this time because I’m in a good mood. Lucky lucky.
The mixed-up pop culture references messed with my head too. So Panda knows what Secret Squirrel is–a cartoon character from the 60s–but she doesn’t recognize Frogger or the Atari when they’re mentioned? I’m only a bit older than her and know plenty about all three! The inconsistency of it messed with my head. Stupid thing, but readers shouldn’t be thrown out of their thrillers by silly details like this. Every sentence matters.
So yeah, there is a LOT wrong here, but it’s the kind of problematic that you can keep in mind but still keep reading because WHAT IS GOING ON. Above all, it’s diverse with an Afro-German narrator, multiple characters of color, and even a supporting character with cerebral palsy. Some smart commentary on being a woman and a person of color is said late in the novel and Panda’s phenomenal character development looking back makes the novel better than it is while you’re reading it.
I’ve heard Giles’s debut novel Fake ID had many of the same issues with female characters, but since I haven’t read it, I can’t say if this novel is better or worse. If you were a fan of his debut, you’re sure to like this one. If you like thrillers in general, love character development, and can handle a little sex-shaming? Yeah, get this into your hands right now.
Great pacing and characters. Kept me guessing right up until the end. I really appreciate the themes I saw in this story, and how the author didn’t dump buckets of them over me as I read. I struggled with the main character at times and how cruel, spiteful, and deceptive she could be to the people closest to her, but she came to realize how destructive that was. I appreciate her story arc all the more for it. I’m especially thankful for a story featuring two strong female characters who are multiracial. I have two daughters who are also multiracial, so seeing great stories that feature young women they can relate to is nice.
What I liked about this was the idea of a secret identity, one where everyone knows you. In this book, Lauren (aka "Panda") is one of those completely invisible girls at school. But by night, she dons her other alias, "Gray," who runs a photoblogging website that exploits people's secrets. Everyone in school knows about Gray, knows how Gray is able to catch supposedly good people doing compromising things, like selling drugs and such. But it isn't until someone catches takes a picture of Panda doing her work as Gray that the story begins.
Blackmail at its finest, and may I be the first to say that blackmail, as overused as it might be, is very effective in this situation. Panda is being blackmailed to take dangerous photos, which results in her braving hurricane storms and climbing up extremely tall buildings. But when Panda starts to refuse taking more shots because it's getting more and more dangerous, and the chances of getting caught by the police are higher, people start ending up dead, or hurt.
The identity of the blackmailer, who goes under the name "Admirer," was one that kept me guessing the entire book. It was obvious that the first person Panda suspected wasn't the culprit, which left me guessing the identity. The blackmailer ended up to be someone I did not see coming.
The first half of the book dealt with Panda trying to meet the demands to her blackmailer's. Come the second half, the pace changes completely, and plot becomes more of a race to solve the mystery of the blackmailer's identity, as people are beginning to get hurt. I wasn't quite sure about the final ending, as Panda is being forced to relocate somewhere. It seems a little like running away, even though I know it's for the best. Still, she's forced to move away with someone who she desperately doesn't like, who want to try to change Panda. I suppose that story could be an entire book of it's own, with a girl having been relocated somewhere she doesn't want to be, with an adult who's trying to change who she is. But oh well.
One thing I particularly enjoyed is that this book falls under the We Need Diverse Books category. Panda is half black, half white, and there is a lot of German conversations between her mother and herself. It's a nice change, if you ask me, and we definitely need to see more main characters like her.
This book is about action and consequences, about how lies can lead to the loss of friends, family, and reputation. It's about learning to see the bigger picture, of looking at things with different perspectives, or lens. It's can be taken as a harsh reality check, but it is still a reality check none the less. Not exactly a happy ending, but rather, one with closure and learning. It's not what I was expecting, as it's a little different, but it still was a good read!
Endangered grabbed me right away and did a great job of pacing that kept my interest.
Lauren (aka "Panda") is invisible at school. She wants it that way. All she's interested in is photography -- and she puts her skills to use anonymously on her blog. She uses terms like "avenger" and "vigilante" and "karma" as she goes after people who have wronged others. She finds them in compromising situations and posts these pictures. The consequences can be huge, like losing a scholarship, or maybe just some serious embarrassment.
Her latest post exposes a teacher/student relationship. Much to Panda's surprise, someone else was there when she took the pictures and now is blackmailing Panda or else this "admirer" will expose Panda's secret identity.
Basically all hell breaks loose. The post has devastating consequences, unforeseen by Panda. The admirer gets nastier and Panda suspects he or she has become violent.
I loved how Panda comes clean to her parents and the police at about the middle of the book. That never happens, and I was so happy she did the right thing. Even though it didn't do a lot of good. Great parental figures.
I thought the ending was bit far-fetched, but hey, it was exciting and I was all-in by then.
I thought it took Panda a long time to become repentant. To figure out she might be just as bad as her victims. Her best friend Mia was a great character and helped Panda through this process.
I didn't figure out who the "admirer" was! Bonus! (You might, but I didn't see it.)
I really enjoyed this quick, exciting read. Is it a book that will stick with me? Probably not. But I'm glad I spent the time to read Endangered. And I will happily recommend it to my adventure-loving readers. Even though the main character is a girl, there's no romance, and this would be a great selection for any teen, even those reluctant readers.
The name of this book is Endangered by Lamar Giles. This books theme is treat others the way you want to be treated because if she treated other people nicely, the girl might have not got in as much trouble. The genre of this book is mystery. This book mainly takes place in her house or school. In this book, their is a girl named Panda. She makes this website called "gray scales", in this blog she tries and rune peoples lives because they did something mean to her. When she exposes one big secret, she hurts many peoples feelings and the high school goes on a rant trying to find her. Luckily, they don't find her but one person does. This person likes to ruin Panda's life. He tries and make Panda's friends go against her. Eventually, Panda starts to have suicide thoughts. With these mind tricks Panda gets stuck in a game of pics. With this game, she gets blackmailed and her identity has been found. Now, Panda's health is in danger. Will she survive? Read Endangered to find out! Action takes place at her house and her friends house. This is where Panda tries and figure out who blackmailed her. The characters are described really well. They are described mostly indirect by their actions. The main characters are like regular high school kids. I really loved this book due to all of the action and the hype of Panda's post. I also liked how she had a side kick and how the sidekick was really helpful. I would recommend this book because it has a lot of action and mystery. It also made me keep reading. I recommend this book to mystery people because it really keeps you on the edge. It also has a lot of plot twist causing more mystery and action!
If you're looking for a book with diversity: this is definitely one of them. It's the good kind of diversity as well- the kind where it's not thrown in your face. In particular, "Panda", our protagonist, is half black, half white (hence panda), and her best friend is an Asian. Also really commendable is that when things get really serious, Panda actually goes to her parents. TO HER PARENTS. Who instantly ground her, but still. This is something that never happens in YA! Yay for parents!
Predictability-wise, it was pretty good. To be honest, I guessed the culprit, but that's only because I suspected everyone. I almost feel like authors can't really win in this respect because it's either the least suspicious person, or the most suspicious person, and if it's the least suspicious, people rage about how it was left-field, and if it's the most suspicious, people rage about the predictability. Well in this case, I have to admit it was a little left-field, but also within the predictability range. I wonder if that gives you a hint as to who the culprit is haha.
I feel like the book took a turn for the unbelievable at times, and that's probably what had the harshest effect on my rating of the book. I suppose I should have taken the plot with a grain of salt in terms of how teenage mystery/thrillers tend to be a little unrealistic. Still, I feel like things were even more unbelievable than I would have expected.
During the day, Lauren Daniels, better known at school as Panda, tries to stay unnoticed. At night, she becomes Gray, a skilled and daring photographer who captures incriminating or humiliating pictures of high school bullies and posts them to her anonymous website. (Regrettably, the homophobic undertones of two of Gray's posts go largely unremarked upon.) Furious that popular Keachin Myer attacked a disabled classmate, Panda follows Keachin and hits photographic pay dirt. That night, she receives an email from someone called SecretAdm1r3r with incriminating photos of Panda herself photographing Keachin. From then on, the game’s afoot: SecretAdm1r3r's taunting messages at first dare Panda to take risky photographs but quickly move into more sinister territory. When SecretAdm1r3r hints that something will happen to Keachin and Keachin turns up dead the next day, Panda cuts ties, at her own cost. "We're all something we don't know we are," Panda tells readers, and though the mystery takes center stage, Panda also learns important truths about her own shortcomings. The cast is refreshingly racially diverse (Panda herself is mixed-race and looks it on the cover), and though some of the attempts at misdirecting sleuthing-inclined readers are more successful than others, frequent plot twists and short, fast-moving sentences keep tension high.
I didn't know what to make of this book at first. It was great in terms of diverse representation, and I'd heard some pretty awesome things about Lamar Giles, so I took a chance on it. I don't usually read contemporary thrillers so I don't know if a slow first quarter is to be expected but I got to 19% and I was just bored. I wanted something major to happen and it seemed like the only big plot things were emails and pictures sent to the MC from a creepy stalker blackmailer - who she thought was cool, admirable, a welcome competition. From that point it was obvious I didn't like or understand the main character, and that's a deal breaker for me. I had more than a few issues with Endangered and those meant I didn't like it enough to finish.
This was the quote that broke the last straw for me (taken from galley): "How is it possible for someone to seem so creepy and so cool at the same time?"