Author pushes YA novel conventions with “The Thousandth Floor”

Kate Habich and Kate Habich

Video by Jack Shea and Alex Tinkham

Katie McGee (‘06) published her first novel “The Thousandth Floor” on Aug. 30, and it has already become a New York Times Bestselling Young Adult novel. She held a Q&A and book signing session on Monday, Oct. 17 in the Frankel Mezzanine Room.

Before becoming a notable author, Katie worked in the television industry.

“I was one of six people who knew who “A” was,” McGee said, referring to the mysterious stalker in Pretty Little Liars.

Although her previous job did have its perks, she later worked four years as a publishing editor for HarperCollins and Alloy Entertainment. There, Katie finally found her true calling in writing.  

“I feel lucky that I get to wake up and do a job that I love, every single day,” McGee said.

In contrast to popular futuristic YA books today, the world of “The Thousandth Floor” is light, fun, and entirely un-dystopian. McGee intentionally flipped the trend in response to the bleak settings found in  “The Hunger Games,” “Maze Runner,” and other novels in the post-apocalyptic genre.

“I wondered if anyone would write a more optimistic vision of the future, or at least a more realistic one,” McGee said. “This isn’t a story about the future, it’s a story set in the future. The story is about the characters and the choices they make.”

Listen to the full interview here:

McGee sets the story 100 years in the future, when the majority of New York has become a single 1000-floor skyscraper. Not only is the technology far more advanced, but the diverse characters also point to a more open-minded society.

“It was important to me to show that society had advanced a hundred years not only technologically, but also socially, which is why my characters are judged only by the actions they take, not by their race, religion, or sexuality,” McGee said. 

Small pieces of Katie McGee’s life made their way into its pages. 

“A lot of my relationship with my sister Lizzy found its way into book, even a couple of our inside jokes,” McGee said.