Five students go to detention. Only four leave alive. For fans of Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars, this is the perfect high school thriller.
Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule. Sports star Cooper only knows what he’s doing in the baseball diamond. Bad body Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime. Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life. And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won’t ever talk about any of them again.
He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online.
Investigators conclude it’s no accident. All of them are suspects. Everyone has secrets, right?
I have been so excited to read this book and it honestly felt like I was flying through it. It was a very addicting read and hard to put down. I was so shocked this to find out this was Karen McManus’s debut novel! She is incredibly talented and I hope she writes more thrillers in the future because I loved this one so much. If this is what her first published book is like then I am beyond excited to see what her future books will be like! Her writing kept me guessing all the way through and I didn’t see anything coming! I don’t really read YA thrillers but after reading this, I am definitely interested in checking some more out!
What drew me to this book was the synopsis… I was desperate to find out why one student was murdered and what the reason for it was. Who hated them enough to want to see them dead? What secrets did that person have that were worth killing for? So many questions! I have to say, I was not disappointed and this book was a real page turner. The start takes off real quick and I could tell already this was going to be a promising read. Before detention is even over for the day Simon is dead. The police suspect that it wasn’t an accident and the four remaining students are suspects in a murder investigation. Simon had a secret about each of them that had the potential to destroy all their lives and the police believe one of them killed him to stop that from happening. All of them claim they are innocent but are they really or is one of them lying? We then sit back and watch as their lives are picked apart and scrutinised by the media, the police and their fellow students.
Each character gets their own chapter where we get a detailed look into their lives and who they really are as opposed to their stereotypes. I wasn’t expecting this and was worried it would be hard to follow but each character is so unique. They are all really fleshed out characters with different personalities and voices. I loved getting to know each of them and there wasn’t one character I didn’t enjoy reading about. They are all just so incredibly likeable and I love how they are all so different from one another but they still come together as one. Each chapter is headed with a date and the current time so you can see how long its been since Simon died and how each character spends their day which I thought was a really nice touch. The book is really addicting but I think towards the middle part it did get a little slow because it felt like nothing was really happening. In terms of pacing, it’s quite slow because you are really getting to know the characters and making your own judgement. I think a lot of thrillers reach that point though where the plot is at a standstill before the big reveal happens.
“She’s a princess and you’re a jock,” he says. He thrusts his chin toward Bronwyn, then at Nate. “And you’re a brain. And you’re a criminal. You’re all walking teen-movie stereotypes.”
It’s true that they each character has their own stereotype but they have so much character development, it’s insane! Each of them has so much to give and I loved all of them so much! They are all so different but so loveable. I don’t even think I have a favourite – I just loved them all equally. It was very easy to relate to them and the struggles they were going through. Whenever I read a book that involves high school, I scrutinise the hell out of it. It has to be accurate and not eye-roll worthy. The school in this story was so accurate, it hurt. All the students constantly judging one another and the struggle to try and fit in. High school is hard as hell and I think this book got that bang on. A lot of what you go through in high school tests your friendships and if your friends are truly your real friends. There’s a lot of times when your friendship is put to the test and you get to see who stays and who goes. This book had an accurate depiction of that which I liked and it was easy to relate to situations like this.
I really loved Addy! She was so timid at the start of the story and watching her develop throughout, it was amazing. She’s such a cute but strong character by the end of the story and I bloody loved it. She was definitely the most surprising character for me. I loved the friendship that developed between them all and how they all kind of came together unexpectedly. Another surprising character was Cooper. Damn, I just fell in love with him and my heart broke for him a little bit. I loved how Nate didn’t care what anyone thought about him or said about him. I would love to be that bold and uncaring. He is definitely a character that I admired. Bronwyn was definitely the brains of the group and I loved how she was taking everything in her stride. If it was me, I’d have a complete meltdown, so Bronwyn is definitely another strong character. All of these characters are so different but they are all so strong and determined. I can’t put into words how much deeply I cared for them by the end of the story and how much I loved them.
The ending of the book… Ooh. It came out of nowhere. I did not see it coming. At all. It was such an explosive ending and definitely one of the most surprising and unexpected twists! I was literally left with my jaw hanging open. How did I not see that coming??? I applaud the author for taking such a giant leap with this ending and I think she really pulled it off. The book finishes on an open-ending with no real solid ending for the characters. She hints at what the future holds for them but ultimately it is left for us to decide. I really liked this because I feel it would have been wrong to give them all a concrete ending. They have been through so much in this story and everything they thought they knew is bound to change. To to see them uncertain about the future was good and fit really well with what they’d been through.
Overall, though the pacing was quite slow this was definitely the ultimate page turner. It was so addicting and could very easily be read in one sitting if you had the time. It was completely character driven and I loved it. It has some valuable lessons for high school students. It shows we shouldn’t people based on their stereotype because all of these characters first appear to be very shallow but they are obviously not. Easily one of the best books I’ve read this year and I will be recommending it to everyone I know!