It all comes down to this. Oliver, Ethan, and I. Three teens venture into an abandoned lake house one night. Hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding. The other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder…? Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece the story together – a story of jealousy, twisted passion and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful faces…
Okay, so last year I read Abigail Haas’ Dangerous Girls. It was one of my favorite reads of the year and I knew I had to get my hand on this one again. I have a thing for stories about messed up teens that mess with your head. The two books are not connected whatsoever despite their similar titles, the only common ground is the fact that they’re both thriller novels about teens where someone’s dead but we don’t know why or how.
We have the narrator Chloe, who’s just graduated and dreams of getting out of the town and go to college like all her friends. However, her mother suffers from severe depression (which was written very well, I thought) and Chloe realizes she has no choice but to stay home and take care of her. Enter Ethan, a sweet and handsome boy she quickly becomes attracted to. They start dating. And then, enter Ethan’s older brother, Oliver. He’s what you could call a typical “bad boy,” who seduces and gets under your skin even though he’s a giant jackass. Pretty sure Oliver is a sociopath.
What we know from the beginning is that Chloe’s pulling one brother out of a burning lake house, while the other one is left to die inside. Now, why were they at the house? Which brother’s dead? Was it an accident or was it murder?
I’ll start by saying that while this was good, it’s not as good as Dangerous Girls. Where Dangerous Girls is all about the twists and turns and the surprise endings, this one focuses more on the how. When the reveal comes at the end you’re not really surprised because it’s not about that, it’s about how the characters got to that point. Which is fine, but I suppose I wanted something more like Dangerous Girls and that’s my fault for letting my expectations get to me, I guess. To be fair, it was delightfully confusing up until a certain point, plus the very end was a bit surprising in just how dark it was.
Now clearly, this is more romance heavy than Dangerous Girls. But man, it’s not your every day romance and it’s not your every day love triangle. It’s messed up. Still I did cringe a bit at the love triangle, but Haas does psychology so well that I can almost excuse it. At least the love triangle isn’t just there for shits and giggles.
I also remember that it was a bit slow for me in the middle. Maybe it was because of the romance part of the plot.
In short, is it predictable? Somewhat yes. Is it meant to be unpredictable though? Probably not, because it’s about the journey. And the journey was fucked up, so it’s definitely worth reading.
I’m sorry if this review is a bit vague, I read this book back in January and I can’t find the notes I made so I just had to do it by memory. Ugh.
Have you read this book? What did you think?