What’s it all about?:
Sarah Weaver wasn’t looking forward to starting at an all-girls school. But that was before she met Maddy. Maddy and her best friend, Agnes, are fun and rich and interesting-and for some reason, they seem to really like Sarah. Before long, Maddy and Agnes have moved Sarah into a big house off campus, where they cook together, buy each other presents, and share each other’s secrets. So why does Sarah feel like something’s bizarrely wrong? As more and more cracks start to show in Maddy’s and Agnes’s perfect veneers, Sarah notices some strange and disturbing things: Maddy’s compulsive lying, Agnes’s obsession with Maddy, and the deterioration of their friendship. And just when Sarah begins to question her own sanity, things turns deadly. Fans of Pretty Little Liars will devour this juicy debut novel.
What did I think?:
I have to admit, I was tempted to read this book from the beautiful cover art, and that it promised an intriguing debut thriller. It is written from the perspective of a girl called Sarah, who is sent to an all-girls school after being caught in a compromising position with a man by her grandmother. Nana is hoping that Sarah, who has a few issues with men and sex (in that she can’t seem to get enough of it!), and is troubled by the absence of an uncaring mother, will straighten herself out at this school, and get along better without the problems that men seem to bring to her life. Almost immediately, Sarah makes friends with Maddy, a beautiful (but also troubled) girl and her best friend Agnes and moves in with them. But you’ve heard the expression – three’s a crowd? This definitely applies to this burgeoning friendship between the three girls and makes for a gripping plotline.
There are a number of complicated issues surrounding all three girls that involve dangerous obsession, jealousy, depression, deception with a more than healthy dose of teenage angst mixed in. Not one character is what she seems, and the author definitely surprised me a few times when I thought I knew where the story was headed. As individuals with their own separate traumas, they were all intriguing enough to keep me turning the pages – we have Sarah with her previously mentioned sexual deviance and abandonment issues, Maddy with her child-like “Disney princess” neediness, and Agnes who is distrustful, closed and unhealthily enamoured with Maddy. As a friendship, it’s a recipe for disaster, and accurately portrays the intensity that some female friendships can grow to, especially when there are three people in the relationship.
It was only as I approached the end of this novel that I began to feel slightly disappointed, for one thing it’s labelled as a debut “thriller,” yet I didn’t feel it qualified as anything like a thriller until the last twenty pages or so. We are given hints towards things unsaid, or darker deeds but I think if anything, it could have been slightly darker still, to give the story that necessary atmosphere. It almost felt like the author wasn’t sure what to do with the characters and rushed into an ending that felt impulsive rather than well thought out. This is only my opinion though, others may love the ending, I just didn’t consider it a gripping enough finale to a decent debut novel.
Would I recommend it?:
Star rating (out of 5):