Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but the past is past, and she’s reinvented herself entirely. Now she’s a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl’s body is found in the lake, Kay’s carefully constructed life begins to topple.
The dead girl has left Kay a computer-coded scavenger hunt, which, as it unravels, begins to implicate suspect after suspect, until Kay herself is in the crosshairs of a murder investigation. But if Kay’s finally backed into a corner, she’ll do what it takes to survive. Because at Bates Academy, the truth is something you make…not something that happened.
*ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review*
TRIGGER WARNING: SUICIDE, BULLYING
“DEATH IS A CHAIN REACTION, A BUTTERFLY EFFECT.”
At first, I was a little hesitant to start this novel only because it was being compared to Pretty Little Liars and I am not a fan of that show/book series. That probably sounds lame but I decided to give it a go since it was also being compared to Thirteen Reasons Why and I actually loved that book.
Boy am I beyond glad to have given this novel a chance because I have fallen deeply in love with Dana’s writing style.
This book follows our main character, Kay, who is in the middle of grieving both her best friend and her brother, but whose life only gets rougher as she and her friends stumble upon a dead body of a fellow classmate. Kay was a breath of fresh air to me when it came to main characters. I rarely get to read novels that follow a character who seems to be so unattached to everything, even their own emotions. I loved seeing her character develop and witnessing what exactly made her tick or close up. I actually found myself deeply terrified for Kay’s well being during this book which is saying a lot since I still don’t know how I feel about her. I don’t hate her but I don’t necessarily like her either. But I ache for her?
I know I make no sense but it’s Dana’s fault. She has rocked my world with this amazing book and my mind is still reeling from it all.
I really liked that this novel had a solid start. It threw us right into the middle of the chaos and the suspense/thrill didn’t let up for one second the entire way. This book is a revenge mission and a ticking time bomb to find whoever is responsible for so much grief and pain before an innocent person pays the price for it.
The main thing I loved about this novel was the fact that EVERY. SINGLE. CHARACTER. that we were introduced to was beyond interesting. I never knew who to trust, if anyone at all, but it didn’t stop me from wanting to devour each of their life stories. If it were up to me, I would have Dana write individual books dedicated to every character I met through Kay. (Especially Greg.)
It’s rare when an author can make me fall hard for more than a couple characters but it’s lesser known when they have me deeply invested in the stories of ALL of their characters. Dana managed to do so here in the most flawless and poetic way. I can’t stress enough how much I loved the way Dana handled this story from beginning to end.
Oh, and did I mention this is a diverse book? Because it is. But not in a painfully obvious way. Like everything else in this novel, Dana executed that aspect quite beautifully.
The final deciding factor when it came to rating this book was Dana’s wonderful skill in manipulation. She made me question myself every step of the way and I loved every second of it. I was 100% sure that I knew who was responsible for Kay’s misery but as it turned out, I was proved way wrong.
This entire novel carried so much weight to it already due to the way it started but the last chapters carried it 6-fold. This was an intricate web of lies and deception that I’ll never forget. I found myself forgoing sleep (multiple times, I have the dark circles to prove it) in order to keep reading since I refused to set it down. My heart missed this book with a passion when it wasn’t in my hands and it was hard to focus on real life. So many secrets bathed the entirety of this novel that I often times found myself not knowing what was reality and what wasn’t.
Dana blew me away with this debut novel and I am itching to see what else she has to offer.
ABOUT DANA MELE:
Dana Mele is a Pushcart-nominated writer and a work at home mother. A graduate of Wellesley College, she is a former actor, lawyer, musician, and briefly, associate producer. She prefers tea to coffee, snow to sand, and stars to sunshine, and she lives in the Catskills with her husband and toddler.
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