Author: Abigail Haas
Release date: 18th July 2013
Target audience: 14+
UK Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Dangerous Girls is a contemporary thriller set on the island of Aruba. It’s the worst case scenario for a teen Summer Break. It a taut and sinister read.
A day after finishing this book, I’m still not quite sure what I think about it. Normally how I feel about a book is crystal clear. So this is rather odd. I guess I just feel indifferent. It’s a book that lacks passion and has a cold feeling to it. Maybe that’s why I’m left a little bit unsure.
This is the story of a group of friends who go on a wild partying holiday on an island. Away from the safety and security at home, they let go – they drink, they do drugs and they are very intimate with each other and the locals. (I’m making it sound more passionate than it is). Anna is the main character and she tells us most of the story. She takes us back to when she first met Elise at the posh private school she transferred to mid-semester. They didn’t get off to the best of starts. Elise is a powerhouse of a girl, a lover of the wild and dramatic, flighty and unruly. But they do become friends. They best of friends, inseparable. Anna and Elise soon have a whole circle of friends. And thus the group end up in Aruba. Only by day three of the holiday, Elise is found dead in her bedroom in the villa. She’s been murdered.
The investigation gets underway and Anna becomes the main suspect. The police ignore the groups’ report of two local men who Elise manipulated. Anna is arrested and her life begins to fall apart.
The novel is told in a different format. Its part narrative from Anna – describing her situation now or events in their past – but it is also told through police interviews, media interviews, newspaper reports and so on. This format was interesting but it did make it difficult to feel as if you were living the story. Every time there was a change of narrative device I felt like I was taken out of the story. I do prefer linear narratives. The killer isn’t revealed until the very last pages. I did however see where the story was going and so it wasn’t a surprise.
I guess I thought this book would blow me away and it didn’t. I was intrigued but not hooked, interested and yet not desperate to find out whodunit. It seems unfair to call this book lacklustre but that’s my response. It is well written and well plotted but it doesn’t didn’t set my pulse racing. Dangerous Girls was definitely not in my comfort zone. Thriller readers may enjoy it much more.
Source: Review copy from the publisher. Thank you.