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Thanks to NetGalley and Freeform for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Release Date: August 6th, 2019

336 Pages

Synopsis: WELCOME TO WHO WANTS TO BE A PAINIAC? the latest reality TV show on the hunt for the next big-hit serial killer. But don’t worry—no one is actually going to murder anyone, as real as the fake gore and pretend murder may appear…uh right?

Seventeen-year-old Becca Martinello is about to find out. When her perfectly normal soccer mom dies in a car crash, a strange girl named Stef appears to let Becca know that her Mom was none other than one of Alcatraz 2.0’s most popular serial killers—Molly Mauler. Soon, Becca ends up on Who Wants To Be a Painiac? to learn the truth about her mom’s connection to Molly, but things turn sinister when people are murdered IRL. Will Becca uncover dark secrets and make it out of the deadly reality game alive? Or will she get cut?

While I didn’t review last year’s #MurderTrending I really enjoyed the completely over-the-top storyline mixed with spot-on biting social commentary. The premise of the first book is that in the not too distant future, convicted murderers are sent to an island called Alcatraz 2.0 to be hunted down and killed gruesomely by costumed government sanctioned serial killers. And this is all broadcast for the masses as a bloody reality show. There’s even an app where the show’s legions of fans can comment and place bets. Of course, just as in real life, some of those convicted are actually innocent. Sound familiar? I’ve been looking forward to seeing where Gretchen McNeil was going to go with the sequel.

My biggest issue in this book is with the pacing. While there’ a lot of build up, the action frustratingly doesn’t start until the second half of the book. Because of that, the action does kick in, everything seems extremely rushed. I also didn’t connect with the new characters as much as I did with the original “Death Breakfast Club.” Becca’s being an LGBT character is welcome, but without going into spoilers, her overall attitude about Alcatraz 2.0 really got on my nerves. The relationship between her and Steph also didn’t click with me. Steph remained a standoffish mystery until the last couple of chapters and because of this I never connected with her. I actually liked the secondary characters more, especially Coop and Fiona. The survivors from Alcatraz 2.0 also make some brief appearances which I was happy to see. There are a couple of welcome twists that caught me by surprise, and while everything for the most part is wrapped up at the end, the last sentence has me wondering if there will be a third book.

Although I don’t think #MurderFunding is quite as good as it’s predecessor, overall I still enjoyed it. Questions left at the end of #MurderTrending are answered and while there are a couple of loose ends left, they could be due to the rumored third book. Because of some pretty gory scenes in the second half of the book, I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone younger than high school age. That said, I think both these books could be used to introduce some interesting discussions about our increasing reliance of social media, our fascination with realty shows, and most importantly the negatives surrounding the death penalty.