Author: Karen M. McManus
Released Date: May 30th, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult Crime Fiction
Format: Paperback Book
*talk about mental health*
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.
Why I Love This Book!
“Things will get worse before they get better.”
As a new fan of mystery, crime and thrillers, I haven’t read many books of these genres. However, I was enthralled by each of the books including this one. When I first started reading I subconsciously compared this book to ‘A Good Girls Guide To Murder’ By Holly Jackson but soon realised they are 2 very different books but both amazing in their own way. I found myself gripped by the story from the very beginning, itching to solve the mystery before anything big is revealed. There were times when this book went beyond other YA/Teen thriller books in terms of character development and the feeling of being able to relate to a character. As I started reading I knew it would live up to its expectations of being a traditional take on ‘The Breakfast Club’
All the characters have their good and bad qualities, nevertheless, I still found myself rooting for all of them, hoping none of them did it. McManus’ ability to fool the reader and turn it into a ‘he did it, she did it’ scenario, keeps the reader guessing and hooked till the end when the killer is finally revealed.
Despite how much I did enjoy the book, there were a few points in the book that disappointed me a bit which I will get to later on. But now, let’s carry on!
“It concerns me you’re avoiding a promise not to murder me.”
McManus main goal for this book is to keep the reader, guessing and make them suspicious of every character and event that takes place. Every chapter reveals another character’s point of view, disclosing information either about themselves or the crime that has taken place. And with the talk of secrets between all the characters, it makes you wonder if they did have something to do with it.
Surely one of them is lying? Well everyone is innocent until proven guilty. By creating their own secret detective group with all detention members, they push through all the obstacles in their way to find out who really killed Simon Kelleher?
“Some people are too toxic to live. They just are.”
Picking up the book for the first time, I did think it might be another stereotypical teen drama book based on the well… stereotypical descriptions of the characters on the cover! I was pleasantly surprised to find it is definitely way more than that with these characters. I loved some and liked others less. But with so many characters telling their own story, you don’t have to like them all.
Now, we all love the guy gets the girl storyline, don’t we? Including me. However a book like this already tackling mental health issues, toxic relationships and let’s not forget the murder, it felt a bit forced too early on in the story before fully understanding the characters first.
Time to meet Addy! If I’m being honest, I didn’t like Addy at first. Like I said earlier, I thought she would be this cliché popular girl that every school has. But as the story went on, I started to warm up to her personality and saw her change through the situation, making a fantastic strong female lead. After overcoming toxic relationships through her family and boyfriend, she finds a way to bounce back stronger and learn from the issues she has had to defeat to get to where she is.
It’s always hard to create content involving mental illness. Finding the best way to go around it without offending anyone, but also getting the point across that you want the reader or viewer to take away. In this book, I feel like Simon’s character who is diagnosed with depression could have been written with a bit more sensitivity. The way McManus amplifies Simon’s evil motives and wicked way of thinking would suggest there is more to Simon’s depression than what we are shown. The lack of further background detail raises questions to why he would jump to these extreme measures.
Perhaps the author did this deliberately, to show the reader that any situation can cause a catastrophic reaction.
“We could be surrounded by walking dead in the zombie apocalypse and she’d look for the bright side.”
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and will be reading the rest of McManus’ novels. There is always something new happening in every chapter, keeping the reader engaged enough to read it in one sitting (guilty!). As well as the main characters having captivating storylines, I found to enjoy the side characters storylines just as much, keeping me wondering when they were going to show up again and questioning if they had any major links to the story. I highly recommend you read this if you enjoy a bit of crime-solving, strong character development and an easy read.
These are just my opinions and would love to hear your view on the story!
I’ve recently been accepted onto Mcmanus’ blog tour for her upcoming book The Cousins. Keep an eye out later in the year for that!
Buy the book here!
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