About The Book
“A nervy, intense, and expertly crafted thriller that kept me hooked page after page. Dark secrets? Summer camp setting? Complex teen girls? Murder? Count me in. A simply stunning book.” — Kathleen Glasgow, New York Times bestselling author of Girl in Pieces, You’d Be Home Now, and The Agathas.
At first, I thought that this was going to be a DNF for me, since the first few chapters were pretty boring. I have read ‘They Wish They Were Us‘ and ‘They’ll Never Catch Us‘ by Jessica Goodman, and have reviews up on both of them. If you have read those reviews, then you know that I haven’t been the biggest fan of her work. Still, I wanted to give this book a chance, because something about camp based thrillers intrigues me. Maybe, ‘Friday the 13th’ is to blame for it.
The book follows Goldie, whose life is turned upside down, and who ,has become an outcast at her high school. Her only safe place is the summer camp, Camp Alpine Lake. My opinion on Goldie changed multiple times throughout the book. Initially, I thought she was weak, since she was still pining for the guy that broke her heart, and let other people treat her like crap. She has this secret that she wants to share with her best friends, Ava and Imogen, but won’t. Yet, she whines about wanting to tell them all the time. It seemed that the author wanted us to feel bad for Goldie, but I was more annoyed at her for willingly taking shit from people for months on end. However, as the story went on, I saw her get stronger as a person – she was done keeping her mouth shut.
There were some side characters, the main ones being Ava and Imogen, who Goldie met at camp. Ava and Imogen don’t live in Goldie’s town, and have fabulous, rich lifestyles. But, Ava and Imogen like Goldie for who she is, and they don’t let money affect their friendship. I liked their friendship dynamic a lot, because they were there for each other, no matter what. There were a few other characters, such as Goldie’s ex-best friend, the owners of the camp, and a few other camp counselors. Honestly, I can’t remember anyone else’s name, and I’m pretty ashamed of that fact.
The main plot is the mystery behind who killed Goldie’s ex-boyfriend, Heller, who was found dead in the camp’s lake. It wasn’t until the halfway point, that I started to get super invested in the story, and couldn’t put it down. The characters started to grow on me, as did the writing style. There was a twist, but you could see it coming before it was revealed. Still, I thought the ending was solid, and was very fitting for the story.
“I inhale deeply and remind myself, You are home.”
The book shows that money and social status can affect people, and even drive you mad. This is something that we face in the real world, too. Some people are so focused on fitting in, having the nicest things, and making the most money, that they’ll do anything. Whatever happened to the saying ‘money can’t buy happiness’? But, we should probably ignore Blair Waldorf’s take on that message.
However, the thing that bugged me the most in the book was that nobody felt bad about their hatred towards Goldie. So many of these characters could have stood by her, but were totally spineless. To me, actions speak louder than words, and feeling guilty doesn’t excuse your bad actions towards them. You would never want to intentionally hurt someone you love.
Overall, this wasn’t a horrible read, and I’ll probably keep reading Goodman’s books. Still, this is in no way a thriller, so keep that in mind before picking it up. It is truly a YA mystery, and some people might prefer that over a thriller. I am not sure which side I fall on, since I am still kind of new to the mystery/thriller genre. Also, the book does mention underage drinking and drugs, which I understand that some readers might not condone.
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Until The Next Chapter,