Abigail Haas has also written YA contemporaries under Abby MacDonald as I loved those books, I was desperate to read Dangerous Girls. With it’s ripped from the headlines concept, foreign setting and the promise of a thrilling read I was really intrigued by Dangerous Girls so when I managed to get a review egalley from Simon Pulse I was delighted.
Spring Break in Aruba. It’s parties, sex, alcohol and the beach for high school senior Anna and her friends. However everything changes when Anna’s best friend Elise is found murderedand Anna is charged with her murder. Trapped in a foreign country far away from her friends and family, Anna has to fight the accusations that she is a dangerous and murderous menace and find Elise’s killer.
This is a hard book to review as there are so many wonderful twists and turns I cannot spoil for you. I absolutely loved how Dangerous Girls was presented with cross-media as well as Anna’s narration such as transcripts of arrest interviews, floorplans and TV transcripts too. When I started Dangerous Girls, I was very aware of the possible allusions to the real-life case of Meredith Kercher and Amanda Knox, however Haas made Dangerous Girls her own rather than an imitation of a media story. What Haas did that I found really interesting was through Anna demonstrate the way news media can manipulate an image or interview into something completely different. She also effectively conveyed how the majority could look like a murderer in the right – or wrong- circumstances through the music they listen to, to silly comments we don’t really mean.
Dangerous Girls had me hooked from the start and I was desperate to find out the truth behind Elise’s murder and how Anna’s court case would end. Interspersed with the present day case and build up to it, we are told through Anna the story of Elise and Anna’s friendship. The two were incredibly close and both characters were complicated and intense. Elise’s dislike of Anna’s boyfriend Tate for taking attention away was well-written and explored as was Anna’s relationship with him and the way our first loves can affect our friendships.
I finished Dangerous Girls on the plane back from my recent holiday and as I finished the final chapter was blown away, genuinely gasped and had nobody at all to talk to about it. It could have really let the book down, but instead elevated it for me into something very different and interesting.
Dangerous Girls will appeal to both YA fans and crime fans and is a stunning, taut psychological thriller that deserves to be huge this summer. I cannot wait to see if Haas will write anything else along this style again, and this definitely solidifies her as a highly talented author with a diverse portfolio of writing. Dangerous Girls is out on July 16th in the US, published by Simon Pulse, and will be published in the UK through Simon and Schuster on the 18th July. I received a free egalley from Simon Pulse/Eidelweiss for my honest reviewing purposes. As always, receiving a review book does not affect or influence my feeling or writing about the book in question.