It's Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives.
But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations.
As Anna sets out to find her friend's killer; she discovers hard truths about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.
As she awaits the judge's decree, it becomes clear that everyone around her thinks she is not just guilty, but dangerous.
When the truth comes out, it is more shocking than one could ever imagine...Hardcover, 388 pages
Four and a half stars: An excellent psychological thriller that will have you second guessing until the shocking conclusion.
Anna, Elise and the rest of their friends are headed to Aruba for what they hope will be a perfect Spring Break. They plan days of sun soaked afternoons on the beach and wild nights of partying. Things go terribly wrong when Elise is found stabbed to death in the house they are staying. The nightmare begins once the police start interrogating them. Before long, Anna and her boyfriend, Tate, are the prime suspects. Anna is thrown in jail and fighting for her freedom. Is Anna a killer?
What I Liked:
- Wow! It isn't often you get a solid, YA thriller. Dangerous Girls was an excellent read from beginning to end. It packs a punch and keeps you guessing and then second guessing until the jaw dropping finale. Do not hesitate to read this book thinking it is a YA book. This is a mature read that everyone can appreciate. If you want a solid psychological thriller that will make your head spin, get this one!
- The characters are deeply flawed, even unlikable and well written. I loved that I didn't know who to trust. Anna, the narrator, comes across as a nice girl who quickly gains your sympathy as your learn about her sick mother, her difficulties at her new school with bullying and then being arrested for the murder of her best friend, which she swears she didn't do. However as the book progresses, my opinion fluctuated, and I was questioning whether or not Anna was a reliable narrator. Elise was just as complicated. She is the kind and caring best friend, who saves Anna. Yet, she is a party girl, the life of the party, and often taking dangerous risks. I loved how layered the characters were and that I was constantly changing my opinion of the girls. Especially once the media circus started. Well done.
- I was impressed with the way the story came together. It is a bit difficult to follow as the story constantly moves around in time flashing forward and backward in order to expose all the lurid details. There are trial excerpts, tv transcripts, text message conversations and so forth that add into the mystery. With each chapter, more pieces fall into place, and I loved gleaning each little tidbit. Then the trial starts and all the media sensationalism is added in. It was shocking, disturbing and unsettling to see how innocent photos and comments could so easily be taken out of context and spun into something sinister. It was an eye opening experience, and it made me stop and think about all the big cases that we have seen sensationalized in our media. This story was similar to some of these headlining stories.
- The mystery was extremely well done. The author does an excellent job of planting all kinds of leads and tidbits of information that points the finger at several different suspects. I raced through the pages eager to learn who really killed Elise. The revelation was stunning and well executed. Totally worth the read!
- Dangerous Girls was one of the best YA psychological thrillers I have ever read. It delivers an excellent mystery and a stunning finale that will leave you thinking on it for days to come. If you want a superb thriller, get this one.
And The Not So Much:
- What kept this from being five stars was the ending! Yes, it was brilliant and shocking, but I was left wanting more. It is in a sense one of those endings where you have to make your own deductions on what went down as it isn't all spelled out for you. I was disappointed in that I didn't get to relive the how. Especially since I am reader that likes everything detailed out for me. Still it was an ending that grabbed me and left me thinking. Well played, Ms. Haas.
- This is billed as a YA thriller, but this isn't a book I would recommend for young teens. It is book that not only deals with a mature subject, murder, but it also involves drugs, drinking, sex and reckless behavior. I would actually consider this more of an adult read.
- You have to be careful with this one and pay attention as you read as the book doesn't follow a straight forward time line. It is a jumble of events flashing forward and back in time with no pattern. You must pay attention and glean every clue from each chapter. I like a jumbled story line, but it doesn't work for everyone.
Dangerous Girls is an excellent thriller that will leave you pondering on the final outcome for days. If you want a mystery that will keep you guessing up until the shocking conclusion, read this one. I was most impressed, and I can't wait to read more from this author.
I borrowed a copy of this book from the library. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.