On My Bookshelf: The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

June 18, 2018

The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee is an interesting look at what the future might be like told by five alternating narrators. Set in a tower large enough to house a city, the novel follows the intersecting lives of five teenagers, all acting on hidden motives to protect dangerous secrets. For one of them, it will end with a long fall to her death. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: New York City as you’ve never seen it before. A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible—if you want it enough.

Welcome to Manhattan, 2118.


A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?

Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Perfect for fans of One of Us Is Lying and Big Little Lies, debut author Katharine McGee has created a breathtakingly original series filled with high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, where the impossible feels just within reach. But in this world, the higher you go, the farther there is to fall….
The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee is an interesting look at what the future might be like told by five alternating narrators. Set in a tower large enough to house a city, the novel follows the intersecting lives of five teenagers, all acting on hidden motives to protect dangerous secrets. For one of them, it will end with a long fall to her death. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.

Why I liked it: The Thousandth Floor is an interesting look at what the future might be like told by five alternating narrators. The novel begins with a peak at the ending, a girl falling from the tower, but it is not until the very end that who that girl is is revealed. As the plot unfolded, I made guesses as to who that might be and why, but in the end, I was surprised at who it was and how it all came together.

Of the five narrators, Avery, whose story is at the center of everything, is the one I would have like to see be more developed. She is secretly in love with her adopted brother, but there is little explanation of how that infatuation developed. I would have like to see more scenes from their childhood so that their mutual affection was more believable. 

My favorite narrators were Watt and Eris, likely because they are caught between worlds. They live on the lower floors of the towers; Watt from birth and Eris due to a recent turn of events, but are navigating life on the upper floors. Watt uses the money he earns from his hacking jobs to try to fit in and Eris tried desperately to hide that her family's status has changed. Watt and his quant, Nadia, the technology he had implanted in his head, have a sense of humor, and Watt is kind in a world where most others think only of themselves. Eris is a whirlwind of emotions and while she at first seems self-assured and materialistic, the changes in her family and economic status impact her priorities, her view of he world, and her sense of self. 

Classroom application: The novel could be used in a history course as a way to introduce class systems and then make comparisons with real systems in countries around the world. Since the novel is set in the not too distant future, the novel could also serve as a springboard for students to develop their own "utopian" worlds with consideration to economics, government, education, transportation etc.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of The Thousandth Floor for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Note: The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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