Thursday, July 11, 2013

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
Release Date – July 16, 2013
Publisher Website -  Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media -  Twitter
Pages -  400 pages
My Rating- 4/5
**obtained for review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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...
From the first pages of Dangerous Girls we know that an island paradise has turned into a nightmare. The story grabs you right from the beginning and doesn't let go until you've turned that last page. The novel's pacing is pitch perfect. The way it is crafted and how everything enfolds creates a tension that will leave you wanting to devour this in one sitting.

Anna and Elise's friendship is intense. Their bond makes them seem closer than sisters. There is a slightly twisted edge to the friendship. The push each other, challenge each other, and are inseparable. This relationship is the main focus of the novel and is the centre for everything that is happening.

Abigail Haas' research into the criminal justice system, and the real case that inspired the story is evident. The court aspect is not only well done but terrifying and chilling. Shine a harsh enough light on someone, take things out of context, and anyone can be made to look guilty. One wrong word, action, or something from your past can haunt you. The way the case is handled by the police, prosecutor and others is appalling. The entire look at the justice system is one of the more fascinating parts of the novel and it shows you how easily public opinion can be swayed using a few circumstantial pieces of evidence. The real case that inspired this fictional novel is just as horrifying in terms of the trial/investigation, and mistakes made during the process.

The sympathy felt for Anna is unsurprising. She discovers horrible betrayals from people she thought she knew, friends abandon her once she is arrested, and her life is being combed through and picked apart. She's the perfect narrator for this story because her predicament is made all the more harrowing in her voice. Her life is the one that is being devastated and it's her future that is at stake. If told from anyone else's point of view it may have not had the same impact.

The ending twist is clever, and paints the entire novel in a different light. It's one of those reveals that made me do a double take and read the passage again to make sure I read it correctly. My brain was rejecting the truth laid out in front of me. It becomes startlingly clear once you know, and the author has dropped little clues along the way.

A fascinating look at a twisted friendship, a unflinchingly realistic behind the scenes look at a court trial, and a fantastically woven mystery all add up to a wonderful read. 

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