Deadly Games and Unlikely Friends: My Capsule Review

I first learned about Capsule when I got a DM on Instagram a few months ago asking if I wanted a review copy. I was super swamped with ARCs, and was fully prepared to say no, but I clicked through to the synopsis out of curiosity. And ... oops, it seemed right up my alley!

So I did indeed accept the ARC, and was interested to see if the book was really as cool as the description made it seem. And the answer is yes ... but not exactly in the way I expected!

Book Title: Capsule
Author: Mel Torrefranca
Publisher/Year: Lost Island Press, 2021
Genre: Thriller
Number of Pages (According to Goodreads): 400
My Rating: 5 out of 5

Book description (from Goodreads):

Two students from Brookwood High School mysteriously go missing on the same night.

The first is Peter Moon, a heartless pescatarian who bashes students from Brookwood on his blog, turning everyone against him. The second is the adored Kat Pike, an audacious girl desperate to boost her adrenaline. Three days pass. No leads.

Indifferent to the disappearances, sixteen-year-old Jackie Mendoza remains immersed in her virtual world of video games and online friends.

When a menacing app by the name of Capsule downloads itself onto Jackie's phone, she enters a game interlaced with reality. A game threatening to erase Peter and Kat forever. Only Jackie can save them now—but Capsule is the most ruthless game she's ever played.

Mel Torrefranca delivers a heart-wrenching thriller about unlikely friendships, bittersweet memories, and a never-ending search for answers best left forgotten.

Can't Stop, Won't Stop Reading

Based on the number of locations in my ebook copy, this book is a bit of a chonky boi as YA thrillers go, but I literally did NOT notice because the plot kept me whizzing through the pages! I’m a sucker for thrillers that incorporate technology, so this one totally delivered. The concept is super cool and I was always eager to find where the game would take Jackie next!

I felt like the tension perhaps could have been higher in a couple of places, but I couldn’t bring myself to dock my rating for it because the themes of the book just hit me RIGHT in the feels. Like, how did the universe know I needed a book about friendship right about now?? *looks around to check for mysterious floating capsules*

Those Character Arcs, Though

I think character arcs can sometimes get rushed in thrillers because of the fast pace, but I really appreciated how well the characters in Capsule developed throughout the story. The ending was bittersweet and heartwarming and UGH guys it was so good!

I loved getting to know the three core characters -- Jackie, Peter, and Kat -- and seeing what they learned about themselves and each other as they climbed the levels of the game. Each of them had such relatable elements to their characters, and I was rooting for them all the way!

Trigger and Content Warnings for Capsule

This book may not be for you if you're sensitive to discussions/depictions of drowning, car accidents, death of a relative, people going missing, and eating disorders.

Final Thoughts

Overall, if you’re looking for a book that will give you a gripping ride AND make you want to hug your besties, Capsule should definitely be at the top of your list!

Thanks to the publisher for the ebook review copy! Capsule is now available everywhere, so check out the links below if you want to snag your own copy:

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