Arts Books By The Book literature Review Singapore

★★★☆☆ Book Review: My BFF Is An Alien – Sabotage by Vivian Teo

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Feisty schoolgirls return to battle mean classmates and the perils of social media.

When the first book in Vivian Teo’s My BFF Is An Alien series ended, Bukit Timah Girls’ School student Abriana was left forlorn when best friend (and alien royalty) Octavia returned to her home planet, not knowing exactly when she’d be back to visit. As it turns out, it wouldn’t be too long, as the second book in the series, Sabotage, gets released just six months later to reunite both Abriana and Octavia and continue following their antics.

Sabotage wastes no time in bringing the two girls back together, with Octavia already miraculously coming back in the first chapter. While one would have appreciated a little more exploration of Abri’s emotions during her time without Octavia, Vivian Teo’s storyline is entertaining enough (Octavia’s almost absurd account of using roast duck as a weapon being a highlight) that it draws us right back in to their secondary school life, dealing with mean girls Jessica and Naomi and a new slew of problems when footage of Octavia using her powers is uploaded to the internet, and goes viral.

While her actual identity is concealed, the fact that she was in school attire prompts the staff to launch an investigation into the matter, while the rapidly growing view count on the video threatens to expose Octavia as an alien, possibly resulting in sending her back home, or risk attracting the attention of their enemies. With a little spunk, detective work, and working together, Abri and Octavia’s own investigation results in more adventures fans of the series will be familiar with after the first book.

Considering how similar the pacing is to the first book, there is plenty of comfort Sabotage offers readers, not to mention the all too familiar elements of secondary school life, from beach cleanup sessions to assessments. Vivian also throws in a number of modern technological spanners to Abri and Octavia’s investigation, from unlocking strangers’ phones to introducing ideas of deepfake videos, ensuring that the content is relevant for today’s modern tweens and teens, alongside minor, but ever important messages about conserving the environment and learning to see beyond one’s narrow world view.

Coming to an exciting climax that brings the sequel to a close, Vivian Teo teases a particularly exciting third book in the epilogue, as we’re introduced to mysterious new figures somewhere on the other side of the world. Her writing here feels markedly different from the rest of the book, perhaps because it is no longer from Abri’s point of view. It’s also a style we’d love to see more of in her future works, and hinting that it won’t be long before the BFFs’ friendship will continue to be tested by far greater forces than they can ever imagine. For now though, Sabotage provides an entertaining enough interim that sheds a little more light on the mythos of Octavia’s home, and a fun romp to lose yourself in.

Recommended for: Teens and pre-teens looking for a little post-exam escapism, and wish they too had a superpowered best friend. 

My BFF Is An Alien: Sabotage is published by Epigram and available here.

Read our review of My BFF Is An Alien (Book 1) here

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