Kate Morgan arrives to her small town high school one January morning to commotion over a giant graffiti gorilla that has been spray painted on the side of the building. When more gorilla grafitti shows up around town, it sparks a debate in class over art versus vandalism. The students of Cleary High spend the next few weeks debating and trying to figure out who did it- the tension culminating at an MTV televised birthday party for rich social snob Tiffany Werner. And the whole time, Kate finds clues linking the culprit to someone she is starting to like romantically.
TAGGED is a great book that will get teen readers to think about what defines art. The main character Kate can sometimes be annoying, but Kate's best friend Lan is a strong secondary character, as well as both of Kate's parents, who play their own central roles in the community. Eli is especially dreamy. The story is very realistic, with real-life consequences and real-time reactions to events. This could have happened to anyone's high school, anywhere in the US.
Debut author Mara Purnhagen writes smoothly in the teenage girl voice, especially when it came to Kate's thoughts and concerns over Eli. TAGGED is a short book with a colorful cover that is sure to get teen girls to pick it up.
For a sequel, I found myself craving more of mean girl Tiffany. It would be neat to have a book from her point-of-view!