Monday, July 15, 2013

[Review: Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas]

"Dangerous Girls"
Author: Abigail Haas
Pages: 400
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery
Date Published: July 16th, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Format Read: eARC provided by the publisher (via Edelweiss) for honest review


 Paradise quickly gets gruesome in this thrilling page-turner with a plot that’s ripped from the headlines and a twist that defies the imagination.

It’s Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives.

But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations. As Anna sets out to find her friend’s killer, she discovers harsh revelations about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.

Awaiting the judge’s decree, it becomes clear to Anna that everyone around her thinks she is not only guilty, but also dangerous. And when the whole story comes out, reality is more shocking than anyone ever imagined...

My Thoughts:

WTF just happened?  Excuse me for a moment as I collect my mind, which is now in a puddle at my feet.  Okay, we're all good!  This book is everything I could want in a murder mystery.  It seriously messes with your mind with such precision that I guarantee that yours will be in a puddle when your done as well.  Haas has crafted the perfect story, using an exciting and subtly disturbing narrative.  Anna isn't the most stable person on the planet, but you will sympathize with and love her anyways.  I wish I could tell you all the things, but I can't.  I can tell you that this book gave me so many feelings as I read it and made me a huge Abigail Haas fan!  Anyone who writes THAT ending gets me as an instant fan.

The book is told through the eyes of Anna.  It starts on the night that she and the rest of her friends find the body of her best friend Elise, stabbed 13 times, cold and dead on Elise's bedroom floor.  What Anna thought was going to be an amazing vacation with her best friend, her boyfriend and the rest of their friend group, turns into a hell of a lot more than she was bargaining for.  Haas weaves the story together with flashbacks to before the trip, flashbacks during the Aruba trip and ultimately through Anna's eyes as she gets put in jail, put on trail and waits to see if the judge will find her innocent for her best friend's murder.  Haas also throws in Dispatch Records and fake Official Investigation Recordings as well as few other things.  Her choice to use these elements makes the story feel more authentic and also gives it a certain edge that I loved!  It brought the trail to life in a way that sucked you right on in there!

As the story goes on, it gives you all the facts of the case, but presents a huge cast of potential murderers as Anna fights for her freedom.  Haas builds a case for Anna's innocents as well as a case to destroy it at the same time.  It just depends on who you want to believe.  Who you think you can trust.  Everyone around Anna thinks that she could have done it and the hack job prosecutor doesn't help her case.  But there are so many options.  The fact is that so many things that get brought to light make sense.  Pulling the reader into a whirling mixture of fact and fiction that will leave you dizzy and trying to find a way out so that you can catch your breath.  Even for a small second.

The book is based on some pretty gruesome real life murders that have happened over the years, but don't go looking for clues in the actual cases.  You won't find any there, because Haas has created something that is all her own, even if she did use known headlines as her inspiration.  When you go into this one, know that you need to keep your eyes open as well as your mind.  There is always a possibility that your mind might uncover the mystery in front of you.  But chances are you'll be just as screwed as all the rest of us.

This book is not for the faint of heart.  The flashbacks can be just as intense and gritty as the murder details which helps propel the book where it needs to go.  These kids like to party in every single way imaginable, which makes you wonder what else they are capable of.  The fact is, it could be any one of the characters that you meet in the pages.  The fact is no matter what you think, you're going to become attached to Anna and her voice as she leads you on this crazy journey of a Spring Break turned terribly wrong that leaves someone with blood on their hands.

5 Unicorns = Get your hands on this now!


Jenni @ Alluring Reads said...

Yay! I loved this one quite a bit as well. I love how there were so many different storytelling methods, and I never did pinpoint who had actually committed the murder, that threw me for quite the loop!

Renae M. said...

I really love how mystery/thrillers are getting to be big in YA. It's a genre I don't have much experience with, but am really happy to try out. Obviously, I will have to put Dangerous Girls up there on my list. I don't tend to be a big fan of flashbacks, but the way you describe the story's structure sounds really well-done and gripping.

Nicole said...

I cannot wait to read this book! This is the second raving review i've read and I am just soo excited! I definitely enjoy a good murder mystery every once in a while and I have no problem with a bit of gore! Great review!

Jessica R said...

Oh wow! I'd heard this was good but I wasn't expecting THIS good! I'm so excited for the thriller-y grittiness because I feel like I don't read enough of those. Great review!