Review by Gill-Marie Stewart
What do you do when someone has ruined your life by copying from you in the university entrance test, but you have been blamed and disqualified? When your life is already shit because your father ran off and your brother died? You decide to go on a trip to Paris with 3 friends, one of whom is the one who ruined your life by cheating. And now you’re going to ruin hers. Or so Vanessa plans.
Written in first person, this story is pacy and very easy to read. The characterisations are spot on, with each of the four girls being brought fully to life. Even the slipping between the present time and the past, where most of the story takes place, was handled so well that it didn’t annoy me. The main character, Nessa, is perhaps a little too clever and knowledgeable (yes another clever teenager!) to be real, but then this is being written as the adult Nessa looks back.
For me the downside of the book was its subject matter. This is a book about the nastiness of teenage girls. It is very well-portrayed, but for me was not an enjoyable read. As I have said before, this kind of behaviour in teenage girls is not something I have personally experienced – as something incidental , yes, but as all-consuming? No. So this isn’t really my kind of book. It is too dark and negative. But if meanness was all-consuming and a game of truth and dare was taken to its limits, it’s certainly an interesting and upsetting read about what could happen.
If you like tension and realism, with horribleness thrown in, then this is the book for you. If we did half piranhas I’d probably give it 3 and a half, but I’m giving it 4 piranhas because there are a lot of good things about it, and it did keep me reading to the very end.
Gill-Marie writes YA mystery/romances as Gill-Marie Stewart. As Gilly Stewart she also writes women’s contemporary fiction. The first book in her YA series about George and Finn is Music and Lies (try out the first chapter here).
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