Friday, September 26, 2014

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas


“Why was I so happy? My friend was dead. I should be sad. Was I happy she was dead? Did I secretly hate her? Did I have something to do with it? Did I do it myself? I did it. I had to. Maybe he did it too. Together. A pact. A game. Something sexual, fucked-up. Drugs and alcohol. Kids today. Where were our parents? Aren’t they to blame? Did he pressure me? Did I force him? I was happy. Why was I so happy?”

Those are the questions Anna must ask herself while sitting in jail while she awaits being tried for murdering her best friend. What began as a Spring Break trip to paradise, ended with Elise being found stabbed to death and Anna, along with her boyfriend Tate, being accused of committing the crime.

Please let me apologize in advance for what you are about to read because I have a feeling it’s going to get super rambly and might be a big mess by the time I’m finished.

I liked this book. A LOT. I liked it so much I did the crazy, post-it note marking of moments I wanted to make sure I remembered . . .

(and then I went to my kid’s baseball practice and all the other moms looked at me like I was a little “touched in the head” if you know what I mean). I have NEVER post-it noted a mystery/thriller because I liked it (but I have - quite often, in fact - post-it noted horrible parts of books in that genre).

Dangerous Girls grabs hold of you from Page 1 (seriously – Page 1 is a transcript of the 911 call reporting finding the dead body) and doesn’t ever let go. It has everything that makes a thriller thrilling – including a “ripped from the headlines” type of plot and an “everybody is a suspect” driving force that will just propel you through the pages. I read this book in 2 ½ hours. I COULD. NOT. PUT. IT. DOWN. The dialogue-heavy writing style and frantic pace made my reading speed become superhuman. And if you thought Megan Abbott could write terrifying teenagers? Well, honey, you ain’t seen NOTHING yet:

“Better to be a sneak, or a slut, or a narc, or a bully, than alone.”

“We want, we take, we have. It’s simple.”

So, after you get past the whole "this kind of has an eerie resemblance to the whole Natalee Holloway thing" and find your mind turning to the best of the worst evil high school girls . . .

it grows ever more delectable. Oh, and even if you think you know who did it, Haas will continue to fill you with doubts and make you question just how sure you are about yourself up to the final page.

P.S.: I’m sooooo stingy with my 5-Star ratings, and the fact that Dangerous Girls could have easily racked up a 6 or a 7 in the mystery/thriller category from me had me venture out to the author’s website to see what she’s all about. Well, first, she’s adorable. I find an author who looks like her producing stories like this to be awesomely creepy. Second, and most important, as of July 15th of this year Dangerous Girls had only sold 450 copies - a number so low that the author’s next book (Dangerous Boys, natch) was rejected all over town, leaving her no choice but to self-publish. I’ve never gone to bat for an author before (Lord help me, Abigail Haas/Abby McDonald, if you turn out to be an asshole), but I’m telling you that if you are a fan of Megan Abbott, Gillian Flynn or Defending Jacob, you seriously NEED to read this book. Buy it, get it from your library, whatever – just read it and spread the word. Good authors shouldn’t be forced into self-publishing due to low sales/feedback.

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