Channel X (Sweet Valley University(R))

Channel X - Francine Pascal, Laurie John Before I write a (brief) review on this, I have a story to tell about this book. I haven't read it in a number of years, but somehow, when I saw the cover of this book, it brings the memory back to mind rather vividly. When I was around 12-13 years old, the Sweet Valley series, including SVU books, were compulsive, light reads for me. I usually read them (alongside R.L Stine, Virginia Hamilton, Walter Dean Myers, Ann M. Martin, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Mary Downing Hahn, etc.) between the times I would read works like Stephen King's and a number of classic and sci-fi/fantasy authors in the adult sections of the library. I'd plow through the SV books in about an hour or two (provided that I had an hour to sit and read them).I picked up this book to read at my local library during the summer. It was one of the summers when I read a LOT of books. Probably well over 150 that summer alone. It was fairly new and since I liked some of the more thriller stories that the SVU franchise had, I had to bite.The SVU series had age recommendations that were a few pages into the book before the title page. I remembered turning the pages to see it. I never really paid attention to them much because the ones I did pick up were always in my age range anyway, but as I looked I saw the age recommendation for this one.15 and up. I wasn't 15 yet (I think I was 13 at the time). I was ready to put the book back on the shelf but then I thought "Wait a minute. I've read stuff above my age level before, this probably isn't out of my league. It's SVU, seriously. I'm going to give it a try."I showed the books to my Mom, but my Mom did the same thing - flipping through the first few pages of each book just to see how would be. She saw the age rec and her reaction was along the line of "Nope, sorry, put it back. You're too young."My internal reaction was much like "ASDF#@ WTFBBQ?", but I didn't say anything. I ended up checking it out anyway. Rebellion FTW.Later on that evening, my mom found out I checked out the book and before I could finish reading it, she took it, alongside Lois Duncan's "Daughters of Eve" (she didn't like the fact it was about a group of girls in a cult - or at least that's what she told me, I don't remember what the blurb said exactly.) back to the library. I had angst over it for a while, mostly because that was the first time (and really the only time) my mom had ever told me "You can't read this book."Probably a year or so later, I saw this book in Waldenbooks and bought it with my own money. I didn't think the content really matched up to the rec'd level. From what I remember, the premise was interesting and I liked Nina's character. Nina takes part in an experimental TV study at the university, one which she and her boyfriend have to watch certain programs/patterns and they get paid for their participation. But after the study, some of the students that were a part of it start displaying odd degrees of behavior, some very angry and violent. Nina seems to be the only one who doesn't display the symptoms, but her boyfriend, like the others, succumbs to the influence. And she has to get to the bottom of it before things escalate and she becomes a running target, not just from the people under the influence, but the people who know about the effects of the study.There might've been one or two places in the book where I saw, content wise, it might raise a few eyebrows, but it really wasn't objectionable for a YA crowd, so I don't know why the age range was that high. The idea was pretty cool, the execution, from what I recall, wasn't even throughout, but it was still a decent read. It's a fairly quick read, and one I think that if you like this offshoot of books in the SVU franchise, it's worth checking out.