Don’t let the rainbow cover deceive you; this book is far from the happy-go-lucky story you might expect. Following Charlie Calloway in her Junior year at high school, things gradually begin to turn serious as she’s offered the chance to join secret – though dangerous – exclusive society, dubbing her as one of the elite. When things turn darker and a family secret is unexpectedly involved, the mystery needs to unravel for Charlie to know where she stands.
What caught me straight away was how this isn’t just Charlie’s story. The perspectives switch between her and her parents, something I’ve not seen done before. And when there’s a family mystery at stake, it only serves to build up tension as different sides of the story overtake each other, until they eventually fit. Initially, I wasn’t the hugest fan of her parent’s perspectives, but as things became more twisted and confused I couldn’t help turning the pages to discover how the two stories linked.
It was such a quick read considering its size, and it was while reading this that it dawned on me…I like reading about ridiculously rich people. It’s a guilty pleasure, almost. But catch me reading a book about frivolous people living extravagant lifestyles, throwing money any way they wish and manipulating power relations in society…well, apparently I dig that. I fly through the pages. So reading about Knollwood, its students, the families they come from and the society they live in proved to be entertaining for me at least. There’s something weirdly addictive about seeing such a world, the problems and lifestyles being vastly different from my own.
That being said, the actual mystery aspect of it wasn’t as addictive as I thought it might be. I kind of had an idea about who had done what, and the pace wasn’t quite fast enough consequence-wise for me to NEED to pick it up again to find out what happened. The urgency wasn’t there. Especially because there’s this huge focus on the A’s, a secret society who manipulate everything in their power to get things their way and don’t take kindly to any threat of discovery. It didn’t really feel particularly threatening, because any consequences that could have come as a result of being either part of the A’s or on the wrong side of them was just kind of…mentioned. And then things moved on. I didn’t feel any lasting impression. And so the A’s just remained a notorious story rather than something tangible, something to be feared.
The perspectives swapped around too much for me to become attached to any of the characters, but I feel like this almost helped the story. It enhanced the elusiveness of the mystery and distance broached between social classes, making it feel almost like reading a case file or watching one of those crime story documentaries. Which might sound bad, but I actually didn’t mind it. The only thing it meant was I wasn’t on board with any of the “romance” elements, but to be honest I’d hardly even call it that. There was a weird dynamic with literally everyone in this school.
So it was quite a mixed bag, really. A quick read for its size but not urgent enough for me to adore as a mystery/thriller, it did prove to be an entertaining read and perfect in my busy schedule. I’m not one for usually picking up books like this so it could just be down to that, but I’ll certainly be more likely to try this genre now at least.
*Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book. This in no way affects my opinion.
Rated 3.5/5 stars
I’d love to know if you’ve read this book, and what you thought of it if you have!
Until next time,