****Trigger Warning: Drug & Alcohol Abuse, Physical/Emotional/Verbal Abuse, Violence, and Gore****
I am a fan of Lukavics’s horror novels and I will pretty much read everything she comes out with. However, I was a bit disappointed with this one and it didn’t live up to what I’ve come to expect from her writing.
**** Note: I am not including the description/synopsis for this book in this review due to the fact that it contains spoilers for the story. I will not be mentioning said spoiler in my review either.****
A gripping reimagining of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood and the brutal murders that inspired it
November is usually quiet in Holcomb, Kansas, but in 1959, the town is shattered by the quadruple murder of the Clutter family. Suspicion falls on Nancy Clutter’s boyfriend, Bobby Rupp, the last one to see them alive.
New Yorker Carly Fleming, new to the small Midwestern town, is an outsider. She tutored Nancy, and (in private, at least) they were close. Carly and Bobby were the only ones who saw that Nancy was always performing, and that she was cracking under the pressure of being Holcomb’s golden girl. The secret connected Carly and Bobby. Now that Bobby is an outsider, too, they’re bound closer than ever.
Determined to clear Bobby’s name, Carly dives into the murder investigation and ends up in trouble with the local authorities. But that’s nothing compared to the wrath she faces from Holcomb once the real perpetrators are caught. When her father is appointed to defend the killers of the Clutter family, the entire town labels the Flemings as traitors. Now Carly must fight for what she knows is right.
**** Huge thank you to Soho Teen for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!****
Well I’m disappointed because I thought the idea of a retelling of Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood sounds extremely creative, however, the execution just wasn’t on. It wasn’t as gripping and suspenseful as I would have liked.
The story starts out right after the Clutter family was murdered and the main character, Carly, tries to come to terms with what happened. There are also multiple flashbacks to when Nancy Clutter was alive and the time Carly spent with her. I didn’t like the flashbacks because they weren’t distinguishable enough from the current timeline (aside from Nancy being alive) and just felt messy and confusing at times.
The pacing is also pretty slow throughout the story, as I mentioned already there really wasn’t a lot of suspense. So the pacing was off the entire time and the plotting wasn’t much better, it just felt like there wasn’t a point to the entire story. Carly spends the entirety of the story trying to “solve” the murders by making a series of bad decisions such as breaking and entering as well as contaminating a crime scene. Does that seem smart? No. Does that seem like it’s “helping” anything at all? No. And why? What was the point? She also managed to pull all of this off herself and with the aid of other teens and it was all extremely unrealistic.
On top of all of the bad decision making it just felt like Carly’s reasons behind her “investigating” were selfish. She was extremely focused on making the murders about herself and her friendship with Nancy, which was kind of annoying because it’s not all about you Carly!
Then the ending just felt very rushed and too convenient as well, like the author had to hurry up and finish the story in the last two pages and try and tidy it up. Which in the end just made it feel unsatisfying.
However, I did find the writing pretty enjoyable it kept me interested enough to finish the book after all. I also liked that the chapters were very, very short which also helped keep my attention. I do think Amy Brashear has a lot of potential though!
As I already briefly mentioned I thought Carly’s character was a bit selfish and besides that she also has talent for making stupid decisions. There were times where I felt other characters treated her very poorly in which case she had some of my pity but overall I just didn’t care all that much about her. She was very underdeveloped and remained the same throughout the story, no character arc whatsoever.
There were quite a few other characters but no one was developed at all and everyone just felt very plain and one dimensional. I didn’t really care for any of them either. As for some of Carly’s “friends” such as Landry and Mary Claire they seemed to only show up when it was convenient for the plot and then just disappeared and ignored Carly afterwards. It was odd.
One thing about the characters that I did enjoy was the occasional historical figures that would pop up here and there, of course Truman Capote was one but also JFK as well.
There was sort of some romance in the story and also kind of a love triangle? It, like many other parts of this book, was very underdeveloped. Carly seemed to have fallen for two different boys but it also never really seemed like she cared about either especially by the end of the story since she didn’t really end up with anyone. It was all sort of pointless.
Overall the writing and story were okay but mostly forgettable. As I mentioned earlier the premise sounded great but the execution just didn’t cut it.
What I Liked:
- Decent writing and short chapters
- Historical figures added into the book
What I Didn’t Like:
- Plot and pacing were off
- Carly constantly makes bad decisions
- Underdeveloped characters
- Rushed, abrupt ending
- Friends conveniently showed up and then disappeared
- Romance was underdeveloped as well
I can’t really say I’d recommend this one, unfortunately since the premise sounded really interesting but the story itself was not.
As stated in the title of this post these are VERY overdue and I apologize for being so lazy! But here they are! These are books I read last summer that just didn’t make a huge impact on me, I felt there wasn’t enough to justify full length reviews.
Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.
Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.
At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.
Until one day, he does…
As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?
I really wanted to love this story and I really want to love Holly Black’s books in general as well. Sadly this just doesn’t seem to be the case as her writing style doesn’t suite me at all.
I thought the premise, the potential world building, and the whole “fairy prince eternally sleeping inside a glass coffin” thing to sound very, very interesting! Unfortunately those are really the only good things I have to say about this book, I found the execution to be very poorly done.
The world building, such potential! It could have been amazing with all of the fae, monsters, and magic! Sadly it was extremely lacking and completely underdeveloped I was left feeling more confused than when I started the book initially. I wanted more information to be provided because the world building easily could have been this book’s strongest point.
The overall plot was extremely messy and as I’ve already said, confusing and underdeveloped. The pacing was slow and I gave into boredom many a time, this book came close to a DNF.
The characters were “meh”. Not terrible but also not memorable in any way, much like this book in general. Was it horrible? No, I can see why it appeals to many other people. Was it bad? Yes.
The Haves. The Have-Nots. Kate O’Brian appears to be a Have-Not. Her whole life has been a series of setbacks she’s had to snake her way out of—some more sinister than others. But she’s determined to change that. She’s book smart. She’s street-smart. Oh, and she’s also a masterful liar.
As the scholarship student at the Waverly School in NYC, Kate has her work cut out for her: her plan is to climb the social ladder and land a spot at Yale. She’s already found her “people” among the senior class “it” girls—specifically in the cosseted, mega-wealthy yet deeply damaged Olivia Sumner. As for Olivia, she considers Kate the best friend she’s always needed, the sister she never had.
When the handsome and whip-smart Mark Redkin joins the Waverly administration, he immediately charms his way into the faculty’s and students’ lives—becoming especially close to Olivia, a fact she’s intent on keeping to herself. It becomes increasingly obvious that Redkin poses a threat to Kate, too, in a way she can’t reveal—and can’t afford to ignore. How close can Kate and Olivia get to Mark without having to share their dark pasts?
This book. This book! Easily one of the worst books I have ever read, seriously, not over-exaggerating here! First of all don’t ever, ever, ever compare anything to “Gone Girl” unless you’re going to deliver! This was nothing like “Gone Girl” and frankly I’m insulted by even seeing the words “Gone Girl” anywhere near this book!
This is, yet another, YA mystery/thriller book and guess what? It’s just like all of the others. There is absolutely nothing new or original about “Beware That Girl” and it’s honestly just the same old overdone YA thriller plot. The plot twists? Please. What plot twists? Everything in this story was so over the top, ridiculous, unbelievable, and messy. Not to mention it’s all so obvious. I was here to be thrilled, dammit!
Side note: that ending is honestly laughable it was so ridiculous.
I wanted something dark and gritty with messed up and twisted characters! I didn’t get ANY of that! The characters were just underdeveloped and silly! Plus abuse being used as a plot device in very poor taste? No thank you!
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
This book is so, so hyped and of course me being me I had to at least give it a try. Plus it’s so short! I can’t pass up short books, it’s a weakness! I digress though. As I said this is a very hyped book and was it as good as everyone says? Yeah, sort of. Was it as bad as a lot of other people say it is? Meh. Overall my thoughts are that this was a decent book that is the perfect 3 star rating, right down the middle.
As far as the plot goes I have to say I was left feeling slightly confused about the whole thing, maybe a re-reading would help me out I don’t know! However, I did NOT see that twist at the end coming at all I was truly blown away! Honestly though that’s one of the only parts that stuck out with me.
The characters were all just kind of okay, I felt very disconnected from them but I suppose what else did I expect from a bunch of spoiled rich kids? That’s the part that bothered me the most was how much these kids wallowed in their privilege and how “beautiful” the whole family is. Boring and dislikable.
So as I said, I’m really split down the middle with this book. I enjoyed it while reading but other than that it wasn’t anything special to me.
Pay close attention and you might solve this.
On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.
Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.
Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.
Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.
Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.
And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app.
Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon’s dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose?
Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.
As excited as I was for this book I was hoping to enjoy it more than I did, this was a pretty big disappointment. It wasn’t a terrible book but it was just very unimpressive to me, I expected a lot more from it.
First of all this is supposed to be a mystery/thriller where you were suspicious of every character, I mean they’re potential murder suspects! However, I didn’t feel really at all throughout my reading that these characters were murderers, nobody seemed sneaky enough or vengeful enough to have actually done it. In a murder mystery/whodunnit you need to sell me on all of these suspects and I just wasn’t sold. I wasn’t second-guessing anyone, I wasn’t thrilled, and I wasn’t stumped about the mystery.
This was pretty fast-paced and did keep me interested enough in the story as it was told in four different POVs, however, I felt that the POVs really blended together. I would be deep into a chapter told from Cooper’s perspective and still think I was reading Bronwyn’s. That shouldn’t be happening, kind of hard to get into everyone’s inner monologues when I forget whose I’m reading.
I thought many of the twists were predictable or when they weren’t they didn’t pack much of a punch. Which is probably why this book was so disappointing for me, because mystery/thriller’s should be a lot more…..thrilling.
I really liked that this set up was a nod to The Breakfast Club but really the only similarity was that there was detention for a few pages and each character fits into a stereotype. That’s as far as the similarities go though which was a little disappointing. But I still really enjoyed the reference overall.
Also that ending and the reveal at the end was a little ridiculous and actually made the entire book sort of pointless. I was just….”Really? That was it? Why?” It did make sense but it was all really odd and not at all what I thought I was signing up for when I started the book.
Overall, it was a great and very interesting IDEA but just really failed on execution.
The characters were the only point in the story that kept me reading. They each developed a lot throughout the story and had a decent amount of complexity. However, as I already mentioned it was a little hard to tell at times whose POV I was reading. Yes, it does start each POV switch with the name and date but I STILL got lost and had a hard time trying to remember whose POV I was reading. The characters were all a little too similar at times.
Each character fits directly into a stereotype or cliche which in any other case would have been annoying but with this book it worked. This is supposed to be a nod towards The Breakfast Club since each character is a Brain, Beauty, Criminal, Athlete, and an Outcast. I loved how each character owned up to their labels and “rebelled” against them in their own ways by the end of the story.
There is a tiny bit of diversity with a Latino character and a LGBT character, although it is kind of skated over which was disappointing.
However, I didn’t really click with any of the characters and none of them were all that memorable for me.
There’s a couple of different romances scattered throughout the book but the main romance is between Bronwyn and Nate. It was just sort of okay and I was kind of bored with it. The only nice thing about their romance is that it was slow-burn, no insta-love or other YA romance tropes here!
Overall this was an okay read and it seems to be a case of “It’s not you, it’s me” for me with this book. It could definitely be a good read for others especially for those of you who may not necessarily read a ton of YA mystery/thrillers, it will make this one less predictable for you!
What I Loved:
- It was pretty fast-paced
- The characters were alright
- The romance wasn’t filled with tropes
- A bit of diversity
- The Breakfast Club reference (because it’s awesome)
What I Didn’t Love:
- Fairly predictable
- The ending/reveal was a bit ridiculous
- I didn’t FEEL anything during the story or for the characters
- POVs blended together
Meh. I can’t say I personally would go around recommending this to anyone because I found it to be really boring and predictable for the most part, However, like I said this could still be enjoyable for you if you haven’t read a ton of otherYA mystery/thrillers.
Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.
After her mother’s suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother’s mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran fast and far away.
Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.
As it weaves between Lane’s first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.
**** Trigger Warning: Descriptions of Abuse, Sexual Abuse, and Suicide****
I was actually pretty excited to read “The Roanoke Girls” since it sounded like the perfect dark, gritty, and twisted mystery/thriller but boy was I wrong. This was super disappointing because it wasn’t any of these things….well it was twisted just not in the way I was expecting as it wasn’t shocking, just gross and also pretty boring.
I absolutely love dark, messed up books if they actually have a good plot line that is shocking and intriguing. I can handle some pretty heavy stuff in books including the abuse and sexual abuse that is present in this book but only when it isn’t the SOLE focus of the book. I am not even joking when I say that this book revolves 100% around dysfunctional sexual relationships! There is no other plot and nothing else going on at all! I have to say this was the most disappointing aspect of the book because I was expecting a fast paced thriller and all I got was this!
I don’t want to give too much away even though the “deep, dark family secret” is revealed way too early on in the book, seriously you’ll know exactly what’s going on right away and then there’s no plot twist really at all after that. The “secret” is also very unbelievable it’s honestly just ridiculous, because really all of these girls are subject to the “secret”? Really? And no one did anything? Really? Come on.
So besides that “family drama” the only other thing going on is Lane’s “search” for her cousin Allegra and let me tell you she does a terrible job of actually searching. She was more focused on having sex with her former flame, Cooper. Like helloooo think with your brain not your hoo-ha, lady, your cousin is missing!
I did like the inclusion of flashbacks from Lane and Allegra and also all of the “Roanoke Girls” I thought they were interesting enough for the most part, they added some story. Although I will say once again that the flashbacks were, like everything else in this book, all about sex.
The ONLY reason I rated this book two stars instead of one was because the writing is fairly good and I was interested enough to keep reading up until the very end.
Overall the plot was pretty predictable and the ending was just…cliche.
The characters in this book were all awful, unlikable, and had absolutely NO personality! They were honestly all a mess and not the hot kind! I feel like the author tried really hard to make these characters complex but it just fell extremely short, they were dull and boring.
Lane, the main character, is very spineless and NOT someone I want to root for at all. As I mentioned earlier it seems that she cares more about getting drunk and banging her ex than she does about finding her missing cousin.
Allegra, is the missing cousin and she’s very vain and manipulative but you know those characters that are so evil and scheming you love them? Yeah, Allegra isn’t one of those characters, she just gets really annoying….
As for the other characters they were like wet mops too. Sure they had lots of flaws but they didn’t really develop the characters at all.
Okay there is romance but to me it is mostly just sex and no feelings, yes there are some “feelings” but there is just such a lack of chemistry it’s blah. Plus on top of that ALL of the relationships are extremely unhealthy and dysfunctional!
Once again I’ll say just how disappointed I was with this story because I was expecting a fast paced mystery/thriller and instead I got no mystery whatsoever! Yeah, should we go look for the missing cousin? Nah, let’s just have a bunch of sex and get wasted instead of actually dealing with our problems! Woohoo!
No. Just no.
What I Liked:
- The writing was good enough
- It was short so I didn’t suffer long
What I Didn’t Like:
- The fact that the sole focus is abuse and sexual abuse
- No mystery whatsoever
- The plot twist is predictable and revealed early on
- The plot is sex, sex, sex and nothing else (trust me, the sex scenes aren’t even good!)
- The characters are unlikable and boring as hell
NOOOOO! Especially if you’re sensitive to the triggers I listed at the top of the review! The story is just plain boring and gross, I really have nothing good to say about “The Roanoke Girls” except that the writing is adequate. If you were hoping for a fast paced thriller with some mystery and intriguing family drama, then just steer clear of this one!