I am still sort of collecting my thoughts, but overall I guess I have to say I liked it, since once I got over the first 100-or-so page hump of "wait? who? what? who is this? there's so many people. who's that?", I was really into the story and found it a hard book to put down. Maybe my degree should be RIPPED FROM ME for having such plebeian tastes, but I just really enjoy J K Rowling's writing. It was different here, obviously, because the target audience was different, but there were still many moments where it felt definitively her. In particular it had the sort of dry humour I've always liked in JKR's work -- lines like "'Stone dead,' said Howard, as though there were degrees of deadness, and the kind that Barry Fairbrother had contracted was particularly sordid."
I thought the cast of characters was pretty well populated. Most of the characters had bits where I was rooting for them and bits where I was angered by them, though I think Parminder was probably the best example of that kind of frustration. One thing her shifting POV allowed was that I would occasionally be quite unimpressed with a character from someone else's POV, but then be more sympathetic once I got into their head. (There were exceptions to this, obviously -- especially Gavin FUQ U GAVIN HOLY SHIT.) I think the teen POV might've been my favourite, although whether that's because they're closer to me in age or just because I'm predisposed to like how JKR writes teenagers, I don't know. Fats was a deplorable douchebag, but I found his POV entertaining/captivating/whatever, and his "authenticity" spiel reminded me of the kid from Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man lmao. I felt bad for Andrew even if he was kind of gross in the way I imagine a lot of teen boys are gross. I was rooting hard for Krystal and couldn't help picturing her as Lauren Socha. I was at least glad that at the end of it things were looking up a bit for Sukhvinder.
As to the plot -- I mean, LOL @ so much of the plot revolving around hacking on a website. When it got to Fats posting about his dad I was just laughing, idek. I skimmed a bit of the Tumblr tag for this book (high quality literary crit right thurr) and mostly saw people complaining that "nothing happened" and that the book wasn't "about anything". I am not really sure what about the synopsis of a small-town Parish council election led people to believe HUGE DOINGS would be afoot, so "nothing happened" sort of makes me laugh. I dunno, man, Pagford actually seems quite dramatic for such a tiny town. I would say the book seemed to be pretty clearly "about" something as well -- I think Opal said the Daily Mail called it SOCIALIST TRIPE or something which LOLLLLLL, but yes. I would argue that both Sam and Shirley walking right past Robbie, alone, and doing fuck all because they're wrapped up in their own problems pretty clearly illustrates what the book was "about". But fine, Tumblr.
Anyway all in all it was not the best book in the history of English literature, but I quite enjoyed it and look forward to whatever else JKR comes out with. I will say I'm a bit glad to hear her next book is going to be for children, though.
Lastly, JKR I love you, but please stop writing out accents, ty.