My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Release Date: January 31st, 2012
I’m surprisingly impressed with this book. Not because I thought it would be bad. I read Here Lies Bridget by Harbison and enjoyed it earlier this year, but I loved this book. The characters were all very real, the plot was engaging, the setting was enthralling. Overall, a great read.
Callie, who is not referred to by name until the end of the book, is the New Girl at Manderly boarding school. A posh school she wanted to attend when she was young and had first seen Harry Potter. Though she didn’t know, her mother had been applying every year for a position at the exclusive school, even when Callie was no longer interested in going. Then, in senior year, a place finally becomes available and Callie has no choice but to go. She soon realises, when she gets there, that the only reason a spot became available is because a girl went missing, a very popular, beautiful girl. And Callie’s taken her place.
Callie was a great lead female in the sense that she was quite realistic. She wasn’t strong all the time, but she had her moments where she stood up for herself. I felt really sorry for her. Her room mate was this crazed girl who wanted their room to remain a ‘Becca’ shrine and wouldn’t leave Callie to just make friends and enjoy her senior year. Dana was a raging bitch, setting Callie up for ridicule and had a weird infatuation with her missing bff. The other characters all had this awe and respect for Becca too. This kind of loyalty to her which meant Callie was always the unwanted replacement.
Then you have the guys. Max and Johnny. Through a series of chapters told in Becca’s POV, the readers learn about her sordid relationship with them both. What really was as opposed to what the rest of the school thought was. Max was supposed to be Becca’s boyfriend. Their relationship was supposed to be perfect. It wasn’t. Max is supposed to be off limits to Callie. She’s not supposed to want him. She does. He’s a strange Love Interest. He was sexy, and handsome, and charming. But he had a temper, and he was quite a wreck. He always did and said the wrong thing. But Callie was hooked. I couldn’t really blame her.
There’s quite a bit of swearing throughout and a lot of sexual references. I felt it added to the story, but I know others aren’t such a fan. So there’s your warning. Becca’s sexual exploits were pretty detailed. Her first time with Max. Her times with Johnny. But Callie’s own experiences were brushed over. I felt like as the MC, we should know more about Callie’s life than Becca’s. As though Harbison didn’t want the readers to have negative thoughts on Callie because she had sex with a boy who wasn’t her boyfriend.
The story was very thrilling in the sense that, as a reader, we had no idea what had happened to Becca. Was she dead? Was this a ploy? Would she come back? As the story unravelled, so did what happened to Becca and we’re left with a satisfying explanation and ending.
All in all, a great read. I recommend to those who like thriller contemps. My only negative would be that although the writing was great and helped with the enjoyment of the novel, it was often quite jumpy. I was unsure of who was saying what sometimes or where the characters were going, standing, sitting etc. Except that, I read the whole thing in one sitting and was thoroughly impressed. 5 stars. Pre-order on Amazon US or Amazon UK.