by Sara Shepard
I didn't go into this book expecting it to be amazing -- I expected to like it. Just like it, I wanted it to be a fast paced and fun read to kill time for a few hours...and it was those things, but I actually liked it way more than I expected to. And then I sort of loved it for pleasantly surprising me that way?Summary: In Beacon Heights High, Nolan Hotchkiss is king. His charm, wealth and good looks are deceptively seductive, and many are the students whose lives and reputations have been ruined by it. All while Nolan continues to reign, unquestioned and undisrupted. Until now, that is.
Mackenzie, Ava, Julie, Caitlin and Parker seemingly don't have much in common. Each has their own friends, dramas and goals. But one thing they do share: they all have a deep hatred of Nolan Hotchkiss. And they all think it's about time he paid for what he's done. They come up with the perfect murder - a hypothetical murder, of course. It's all wishful thinking ... until they wake up one morning to find that their wish has come true. Nolan has been killed - in exactly the way they planned. The thing is, they didn't do it. So who did?
So...yes, I really enjoyed this book. So much so that I literally started reading the sequel as soon as I finished reading the first one.
The story was predictable at times (and some stereotypes, like the mean step-mum, bothered me), but that's to be expected with this sort of book, and the plot was very much like a soap opera a lot of the time...the plot kind of hooked me and entertained me, it kept me reading, and there was some interesting romance stuff going on...but what made me like the book was the characters.
Well, the five main female characters, to be specific. I loved them and I loved their friendship -- I've been looking for more books with positive female friendships in it...and while this book did have some of those stereotypical toxic friendships and catty moments, those were totally outweighed by the good parts. By the girls that are fiercely protective of each other and don't judge each other, by the fact that they're all so different but it doesn't matter because they click and they care about each other and that's more important than common interests could ever be and we get to witness these friendships forming, because only two of the girls were friends before the books begins.
Basically, those five characters and their friendship were what made the book for me. The plot was entertaining but not much more than that (actually, it was frustrating at times because it suffers from that same annoying flaw as Pretty Little Liars, where you just want to scream at the girls to use their words -- to tell the adults and tell the police what is going on instead of digging themselves into a pit of lies).
The plot was actually a lot darker than I expected it to be though -- there are things like suicide and mental illness and bullying mentioned, as well as domestic violence and statutory rape/assault (unlike PLL, it really acknowledges that an older dude dating a high school girl is creepy and fifty shades of wrong)... So, if you read it, just know going into it that those are things that happen/are mentioned.
I think that's all I have to say about the book really. If you want something fun with good female friendships, check this one out -- especially if you're a Pretty Little Liars fan (the two are actually similar in a lot of ways but I think I liked this one more). I'd rate it 3.5 stars out of 5 (possibly 4, for being a pleasant surprise).