I recently read Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas, and was thoroughly swept away by the books intensity.
The story is about how a group of friends, among them, Anna and Elise, who are two best friends, and Anna’s boyfriend, Tate, go on a week-long trip over spring break. The trip is relaxing, until Elise is found murdered in the house they were staying in. Our story experience is with Anna, who goes through the trials and being held in prison on account of being the prime suspect of the case. I won’t be going into deep detail about the plot, as it is something I could never recreate as skilfully as the author Abigail Hass and also because there are major spoilers and I would hate to ruin the story for anyone who may be interested.
The plot is complicated, yet magnificently executed. It is written in a way that shows you the truth in calculated chunks before the trial so you can pick apart what happened and speculate on the direction you believe you will be led. Some things happen before the trial they are linked with but with two things happening in that scene, one is relevant the next moment, and they still perfectly fit together for you to gain the bigger, complicated picture. Everything is up for questioning, everything about everyone, who could have done it, and why. It is all up for you to wonder about, but you know that you have to keep going. I felt very compelled as I was reading. The book was such a page turner that I took a break for lunch during a revision session, began reading as I ate, and didn’t put the book down until it had ended. It is so enthralling, the way the characters interact and the way the plot unfolds that you can practically feel yourself saying that you have to know what happens. You just have to know…
From our perspective, which is Anna’s perspective, we see as she pleads innocent and goes through, quite literally, the trials and tribulations of the case and the investigation. We root for her, and feel sorry and scared for her. We feel protective of her and even hope she gets a not-guilty verdict. She is a wonderfully complex character with a harrowing story and truly phenomenal portrayal.
The writing is amazing. It easily and brilliantly shows the struggles of dealing with a tragedy, but is also unimaginably inciting and exciting. The structure of the novel is wonderful, with flashbacks and far-off memories, the present day, and a ‘three months later’. It is alluring, and keeps you blissfully intrigued as you unwind the story and see it out in front of you.
The book makes you feel a range of emotions, and is especially good at making you feel intense, but hopeful. Scared, but knowing. It’s quite the experience. But it is especially skilled at teaching you not to believe everything you read. There is a twist, a truly unexpected twist, that puts the whole novel in an entirely different light, and leaves you stunned and wanting more. I know that I certainly did.
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