Unboxed, by Briana Morgan
This book was a change from the prose that I mostly read, but I quickly became used to the play’s structure. I really enjoy dialogue in stories, as it’s neat to imagine the characters interacting. The play uses dialogue to move the story forward, as well as fill in a bit of background.
Greg Zipper makes videos exploring the paranormal. He started out with his girlfriend’s (Alice) help, and the project has grown so much as to become his livelihood. He’s bought a house with the earnings, Alice moved in, and she has the financial freedom to work on her art.
That’s the backstory before the action of the play begins. Now Greg is obsessed with growing his video subscribers to a million. His subscriber base is at 700,000. (Which, I would imagine, most people would love to have!) Don’t get me wrong; Greg loves having 700,000 subscribers. However, a million would offer more prestige, more money, a more secure position for his channel: Zipper Paranormal.
Subscribers start leaving because of an argument between Greg and Alice that’s shown on the channel. And Greg wishes even more for a million subscribers.
He turns to the idea of buying a mystery box from the dark web. Then opening it on camera. And that’s when things get creepy for Greg, Alice, and their dog Rocco.
I won’t offer further events of the story, as to not spoil the story. Let’s keep them in a mystery box until you decide to open it and read the story.
But I will say that I enjoyed this story of social media’s influence. This goes beyond the wishes for more likes, retweets, followers. Because Greg’s job is his vlog channel, he has more at stake than the popularity of his image. He’s enjoying making videos so much that he doesn’t want to go back to his former way of making a living.
I liked how Briana Morgan set the stage (so to speak) for a story where the character is desperate to try something dangerous. Greg’s not just desperate for a million subscribers, he comes across as excited to see what’s inside one of those mystery boxes that he’s heard about. That speaks to Greg’s interest in exploring the paranormal, of shining light on spooky things.
A well-done morality tale for modern times.