If you are looking for a more sinister summer read, The Devil You Know will fit the bill nicely. While I find YA suspense thrillers somewhat predictable and silly, there was just something about this protagonist I liked. I was probably the most responsible and well behaved teen on the planet, but when I did decide to have the tiniest of adventures, it always ended badly, so I felt a connection to her impulsive decisions. This book reminded me of all the teen “beware of boys” movies that were popular in the mid nineties (True Crime with Alicia Silverstone, Fear with Reese Witherspoon, ect.), so it is a real fluff read, but it is entertaining. I enjoyed it enough to give it four stars.
Eighteen year old Arcadia has been under a lot of stress since her mother died, trying to help keep her father’s business going, managing a household, and caring for her four year old brother. She has given up almost everything, including her boyfriend and the comraderie of her soccer team, to keep her family afloat. When a chance encounter inspires her to go on a small adventure, she finds herself on a road trip with magnetic (if somewhat volatile) Noah and his sweet cousin, Matt. But people aren’t always who they seem, and soon all the signs are pointing to the fact that her little adventure is going to have deadly consequences. The Devil You Know is a well conceived and well written YA mystery suspense that is somewhat predictable, but wholly engrossing. Arcadia is a sensible girl who realizes she is making questionable decisions, but most readers will be sympathetic to her desire for one moment of madness. As that moment stretches into days, the tension, too, stretches and readers will be hard pressed to put this one down. The quality of the character development and writing are what one expects from this author, even if it is a departure from her other books, and I think fans who come into this book with that understanding will be pleased. I have to admit that the blurb for this book led me to expect something paranormal, and I was pleased to find that was simply a misconception because this was much more frightening for its realism. While this book is as cautionary as any Grimm Fairy Tale, this is an escape read more than anything, so beyond a few memorable philosophies about life, don’t expect deeper themes. There are some sensual scenes in this book, but they are tasteful and thoughtfully considered, so this book is appropriate for high school readers.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.