by Anna Jarzab
I picked this one up mainly because an author I really admire, Courtney Summers, absolutely raved about it. How could I resist? (plus add the fact that there is a character named Audrey, haha) I read it as I waited 4 hours when the plane was delayed. Also, sorry for such a long review xD
Carly: She was sweet. Smart. Self-destructive. She knew the secrets of Brighton Day School’s most privileged students. Secrets that got her killed.
Neily: Dumped by Carly for a notorious bad boy, Neily didn’t answer the phone call she made before she died. If he had, maybe he could have helped her. Now he can’t get the image of her lifeless body out of his mind.
Audrey: She’s the reason Carly got tangled up with Brighton’s fast crowd in the first place, and now she regrets it—especially since she’s convinced the police have put the wrong person in jail. Audrey thinks the murderer is someone at Brighton, and she wants Neily to help her find out who it is.
As reluctant allies Neily and Audrey dig into their shared past with Carly, her involvement with Brighton’s dark goings-on comes to light. But figuring out how Carly and her killer fit into the twisted drama will force Audrey and Neily to face hard truths about themselves and the girl they couldn’t save.
My Expectations: Despite the Summers’ stamp of approval, I’ve read some other more lukewarm reviews. I honestly thought it would only be so-so.
Delivery: Exceeded my expectations! Probably my favourite YA book I’ve read this summer, had a lot of different layers.
Put-down-ability: Low! I read it as I waited 4 hours when the plane was delayed, and it kept me very occupied. 3/10
Despite the fact that I thoroughly enjoyed the majority of the novel, I’m just going to skip ahead to things I didn’t like, then go back and impersonate Ms. Positive xD. First, the alternating narrations of Neily and Audrey really didn’t work for me. It was difficult to feel distinct voices so Neily ended up sounding more feminine, and hard to differ from Audrey. It took me a while to get into Audrey’s character because more than once, during her narration, I thought she was Neily.
Second, I couldn’t really sympathize with Carly, the dead girl, because even though the majority of her actions could eventually be explained, I still thought she did some really cruel things. It would take a lot of heart to love her, but I think that’s why I ended up liking Neily. He’s the bitter, angry ex-boyfriend who puts all his efforts into hating her because he cared so much about her, making him a more complex and real character. I could feel the remorse and guilt he brings with him everywhere, and honestly, I thought he was an awesome protagonist.
I really loved the mystery aspect; I loved the fact that this is a decent YA mystery novel that doesn’t feel the need to be over-dramaticized and full of romance. It could just be what it is without adding the ‘what-the-heck, just add it in’ love interests (the ones that are there were well written). There weren’t moments where I was rolling my eyeballs at the predictability or the way characters acted which is always a plus.
I thought the way the pieces fell together, however, was a bit quick. However, I could justify it saying that the way it was written made sure that less people could fit together the pieces, making the ending a completely surprise (call me the slow one, but I never put it together, haha). The exciting climax was well-written, with just the touch of unravelling and desperation required to make it uncheesy (although it was a bit reminiscent of those crime dramas).
The flashbacks that each narrator (constantly) has could be disorienting because they hop to different times in different years, so read carefully! Also, although this note is kind of unrelated, I just wanted to say that I thought the epilogue was pretty solid, one of the better ones I’ve read recently.
Parting Thoughts: I can’t wait to read another Jarzab work, this YA mystery novel was excellent!
Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
9/10 – because I loved the mystery aspect, and the whole premise (let’s solve the mystery!) was a mix of unoriginal and original. I loved the relationship Neily and Audrey had with Carly, not perfect but very real. The switching narrations didn’t work very well, but it was a great technique to get into each character’s mind. I would love to learn the origin of the title, anyone know? A definite recommended read to YA lovers hoping to try a great contemporary mystery book. A
PS- I had a dream about Harry Potter that I don’t remember, but I’ve got a sudden urge to read HP now…. I shoulda brought it with me! I think I’m gonna reread the series again, lol.
PPS- I miss Canada :( and my books. I really want to reread some Melina Marchetta books to feel better… :(
source: random house publishing