By Abigail Haas
Genre: YA, Thriller, Mystery
Elise is dead. And someone must pay.
Anna, her boyfriend Tate, best friend Elise and a group of close friends set off on a debaucherous Spring Break trip to Aruba. But paradise soon turns into a living nightmare when Elise is brutally murdered.
Soon Anna finds herself trapped in a foreign country and fighting for her freedom. As she awaits the judge’s decree, it becomes clear that everyone is questioning her innocence. To the rest of the world, Anna isn’t just guilty, but dangerous. As the court case unfolds the truth is about to come out, and it’s more shocking than you could ever imagine…
My fourth book of my Thriller Month challenge – I’ve reached the initial goal, so now I’m reading for pleasure. 😀 I must be careful though, to space horror reads more; such books affect my dreams in various ways. I’m lucky though, they may be more intense or involve plots form the stories, but they would not turn into nightmares like it’s for my sister.
This book is AMAZING. I must not let anything slip because going in blind with this book is guaranteeing you a wonderful reading experience. Spoilers will really destroy this book. So this is a spoiler-free review as much as possible.
This story is more than just a thriller and a who-done-it. It is also a story about high school, friendship, teenagers, romantic entanglements, and the media circus that surrounds every serious crime involving young people. This potent mix is enriched with a smooth writing style, unique voices of characters, and a dark mystery. It is a story about public scrutiny and suspicious behaviour, about positive and negative interpretations of statements and events taken out of context. The way media handles everything will disgust you, just as the behaviour of the friends caught up in the murder of Elise will have you wonder if they even know each other.
Everyone from the group of friends vacationing on Aruba is a suspect at one point. You just can’t see the complete picture and Haas does an amazing job weaving the past and the present together. You will have so many suspects and every reveal will shake your conviction that you’ve got things figured out. I certainly had so many wild theories at one point that I had to finish the book to get to the bottom of the mystery. The pace is fast, gripping, and so full of twists your mind will spin.
The story is told from Anna’s point of view, and the picture she paints of her friend is far from reassuring or rosy. Elise is an energetic teenager with few inhibitions who masks her own insecurities by being the centre of attention. The girls are clearly co-dependent, spiralling into a life filed with parties, drugs and alcohol. I wonder why nobody at this expensive high school noticed anything wrong. Then again, they were basically living a double life, dealing with their own troubles and worries by having as much fun as possible. Of course, they do their best to keep up their grades in school and perhaps that is why parents don’t pay more attention, but a bit more involvement wouldn’t hurt.
The main suspect and the one prosecuted for the murder is Anna. She slowly starts to unravel the tangled web that brought her to the courthouse in a foreign country, had her lose all her friends, and left her reputation in ruins. The prosecutor Dekker will make your blood boil with his insinuations, manipulation of social media, his fascination with the sex life of these teens, and just general take-no-prisoners behaviour. The court scenes are just as gripping as the flashbacks to the teens’ lives. There’s nothing superfluous in these books – every scene, every dialogue, or transcript, is equally important.
Can’t recommend the book more. 😀