A twisty mystery for the reader who enjoyed Gone Girl and When We Were Liars. Lies and truth becoming increasingly scrambled as two teens accused of kidnapping and presumably killing a local YouTube star try to prove their innocence. Honestly, I even got a few surprises out of this one, so I gave it four stars.
Kadence Mulligan’s star was rising. She and her best friend, Lauren DeSanto, watched their songs go viral on YouTube, then she launched a solo career when a nasty throat infection paralyzed Lauren’s vocal chords. Everyone knows Lauren and Kadence had a major falling-out over Kady’s boyfriend. But Lauren knows how deceptive Kadence could be sometimes. And nobody believes Lauren when she claims she had nothing to do with the disappearance. Or the blood evidence As the town and local media condemns Lauren, she realizes the only way to clear her name is to discover the truth herself. Lauren slowly unravels the twisted life of Kadence Mulligan and sees that there was more to her than she ever knew. But will she realize she’s unknowingly playing a part in an elaborate game to cover up a crime before it’s too late?”
Even the most reliable voices in this book become questionable, and that makes for some surprising revelations and some unexpected turns. While many readers will be certain they’ve figured it all out long before the final curtain call on this one, I’m willing to bet they won’t see the whole picture until the very end. I got a real sense of the frustration these characters were feeling because the author was able to convey that place where kids know things that adults don’t, and the nuances that every YA will recognize as threatening are lost on the authority figures who only get the whitewashed version of people. I felt like that made for well drawn characters, and it helps create themes about bullying and kindness that add some depth to story. I didn’t love the romance angle – I’m a little weirded out by love blossoming in the middle of this particular situation, but the author took care to develop the relationship believably. Overall, this was an engaging read, I think many of my high school readers will enjoy this book. I’m adding it to my high school classroom library wish list, and I can’t wait to start sharing it with my mystery readers. Language and situations are appropriate for grades 8+.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.