Title: Dangerous Girls
Author: Abigail Haas
Published: August, 2013 by Simon & Schuster
Purchase: The Book Depository
Elise is dead.
And someone must pay.
Anna, her boyfriend Tate, best friend Elise and a group of close friends set off on a debaucherous Spring Break trip to Aruba. But paradise soon turns into a living nightmare when Elise is brutally murdered.
Soon Anna finds herself trapped in a foreign country and fighting for her freedom. As she awaits the judge’s decree, it becomes clear that everyone is questioning her innocence. To the rest of the world, Anna isn’t just guilty, but dangerous. As the court case unfolds the truth is about to come out, and it’s more shocking than you could ever imagine…
This was an average sort of read for me. I could see that there had been a lot of hype around this book on Goodreads, especially regarding the “shocking” twist, but honestly I struggled to keep myself entertained. Too many flashback chapters left me drowsy and wishing it would end sooner, and when I got to the end, it was the “shocking” twist that kind of made me feel like I had wasted my time.
Dangerous Girls got off to a heart-stopping start when we were given the 911 phone call of a group of teenagers who have just discovered their friend’s lifeless, blood drenched body. What followed were a few short chapters that jumped to directly before Elise’s murder and after Anna is accused of committing the crime. It really got me edged up for an electric mind-trip as the court case proceeds to reveal all the dark secrets and mind-blowing crap that led up to Elise’s murder. However, I was not expecting the next chapter to be titled “The Beginning”. From then on, my interest levels fluctuated as extremely as the current Aussie weather.
The chapters that focused on the trial were the parts that interested me the most. They would’ve interested me more had they kept to some sort of chronological order, but it was one of those “I’ll only give you the important scenes and clues only when the moment is right for me” kind of mystery novels. The messy time jumps did settle down later on, near the end, but until then each chapter began with you never knowing where or when you were going to end up. For me, the trial chapters were the best part; they were what provided the tension, the backstabbing, and the finger pointing that kept the storyline fast-paced and alive. The flashback chapters focused more on Anna and Elise’s growing friendship and all that other high school angst and bother that didn’t matter to me at all. It was definitely a well crafted portrait Abigail Haas was painting of the two girls, but it didn’t really add anything to the story, and felt as if it was all for nothing in the end.
As for the twist at the end, I don’t really know what to say. There’s not much I CAN say that won’t be a potential spoiler, except for the fact that it was a bit of a letdown. I think my reaction was one raised eyebrow and a “huh, okay, I guess that was it” mumbled drowsily under my breath. Throughout the novel, the reader’s suspicion was tossed around to a few members of the group, as well as some seedy characters from around the island. All of the suspects acted incredibly guilty (obviously to get the reader debating), but I ended up hating all of them anyway, and so I lost interest by the end as to who had done it. Yes, it was a twist. Yes, I suppose it was shocking. But the destination just wasn’t worth the journey.
Recommended to: Fans of mystery novels and whodunits. Judging by the apparent hype, you may be surprised and enjoy the outcome.