This had been on my radar since it was announced. While I may have struggled with Frick’s first novel (I was not a fan of We Were Liars…) I really enjoyed this Sophomore novel and will continue to read Frick’s work.
This was the story of two very opposite girls in the same town who have a shared interest: a boy named Carter Shaw. Amanda Kelly and Rosalie Bell really were from different social circles and have very different life styles. Amanda was top of the social hierarchy and seemed to have everything she could have ever wanted, including the arm of Carter. They had been dating for three years and were basically royalty in their small town.
Rosalie, on the other hand, met Carter and he insisted that they start seeing each other while he and Amanda “were on a break”. Rosalie was in a not-so-great place with her family as they were heavily religious and had ex-gay parents. After Rosalie came out as a lesbian, her fundamentalist evangelical parents felt they could “cure her” by sending her to various camps and keeping her in church. Rosalie knew none of that would ever truly work but she did what she had to in order to survive her Senior year of High School – which meant “dating” Carter.
Everything in Amanda and Rosalie’s world was flipped upside down after strange texts from a private number start and they are not nice at all. Both girls are being blackmailed by Private and the mystery of who Private was kept me turning pages. I am typically horrible at guessing who the villain/bad guy might be and yet again I was wrong. I never saw that twist coming – and what a twist it was!
Now while this was a thrilling mystery, there were also very heavy topics that were addressed. Homophobia was the main topic that stood out to me. Frick handled this topic and the others beautifully. I felt the greatest connection to Rosalie and her struggle with the cult her ex-gay parents called a church. The fact that they were teaching their youngest daughter to be a homophobic was appalling! It enraged me but I had to take a step back and remember that this happens every day. That realization stopped me in my tracks. Her parents also sent her to ex-gay therapy at an ex-gay camp because they felt immersive therapy would force the gay out of her with conversation therapy. I’m mentioning this topic specifically because it may be too much for some readers. There are other heavy topics/triggers in this book:
Underage drinking, alcoholism, kidnapping, violence
This was a fast-paced thriller that had me guessing up until the very end. The characters were wonderfully developed. Both girls came from messed up families and it proved that you never know what goes on behind closed doors. Please add this to your TBR if you haven’t. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.