Ellory used to be close friends with Bex, Jenni, and Ret–three headstrong young women who were her whole solar system. But now Ellory is alone, their group torn apart by secrets, deception, and a life-changing incident.
Senior year after a two-month suspension and a summer away is something Ellory dreads, and she just wants to make it to graduation. She has no boyfriend, no friends. No going back. Tormented by some and sought out by others, troubled by a mysterious note-writer who won’t let Ellory forget, and consumed by guilt over her not entirely innocent role in everything and everyone she’s lost, Ellory finds that even in the present, the past is everywhere.
Moving on will mean sorting the truth from the lies—the lies Ellory has been telling herself.
I’ve been having a really good track record with YA mystery/thrillers (especially debuts) so far in 2018, so this ended up being a really huge disappointment for me. None of them have dipped below 2.5 stars & some just totally blew me away.
The summary is honestly kind of vague. Ellory loses her friends and her boyfriend & is tormented by something. But besides that, I’m just at a loss at what the main point is supposed to be, even after reading the book.
The best way I can describe it is like E. Lockhart’s Genuine Fraud. Pretty non-linear (has a then-now alternating format rather than all backwards) and you’re just kind of reading exposition after exposition after exposition until the big reveals in the last 100 pages.
I just wasn’t thrilled. I wasn’t really interested and I didn’t really care about the characters and it all just merged into a subpar experience because I just wasn’t invested.
I feel like the main problem I had with connecting & enjoying this book was that we weren’t given enough juicy things to latch onto as we read through all the background. It didn’t feel suspenseful, and it didn’t feel like Frick was dropping a lot of hints.
There’s so much background and rumination and talking about the friend group, and I just felt like not enough physical things happened. Ellory wasn’t annoying, but I also didn’t relate or connect.
I feel like Frick tried to get us to connect with her, especially by adding the part about art and being good at metalworking, but it never really clicked with me and she felt really bland.
Plus, I felt like the whole friendship group was just bleh. Half of the exposition is about the after and is basically Ellory just being a pariah, but the other half of the exposition is talking about the friend group she had and the boyfriend she had.
And I just didn’t like her friends. There is a total of 1 person in this entire book that I actively liked, and that was Bex, who was the sweet mediator of the group. But Jenni was just mean and Ret was manipulative and Ellory was boring and none of them clicked. I couldn’t get what made Ellory so fixated on staying with these girls even though she didn’t really like any of them.
And when this book is super fixated on Ellory and her friend group, it just didn’t end up working. It felt slow and a lot like the same things were being rehashed over and over again.
Similarly, Matthias, the guy Ellory falls in love with, is meh also and I wasn’t really shipping them.
In some ways, this is a book about grief, but it also wasn’t really. I usually cry when I read books about grief because loss (of people or friendships or things) is sad and it hurts and you relate to the MC. But in this, the grief about what Ellory lost was obscured in a way that really negated the impact of being a book about grief.
You’re basically reading this book to find out what big event made their friend group fall apart and made Ellory a pariah, and for me it was slow and I predicted 1/2 of the plot twists.
The second one was only a little surprising, but I wasn’t blown away by Frick’s manipulations.
Overall, I just didn’t really end up enjoying this and it wasn’t for me. It was too dragged out, too long, and too predictable for me to get into, and I didn’t relate with anyone. I feel like most people are better off skipping to the last 100 pages, but if it does appeal to you, I think you should still try and check it out!
Thank so much to Simon & Schuster and Netgalley for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review!