“Is it really possible to start over? To change? Or are we all destined to be haunted by ghosts we thought we’d left behind?”
Reminiscent of “The Girls Are All So Nice Here” (albeit with a much nicer group of protagonists), this book tells a “now” versus “then” tale using alternating timeline chapters, cycling between a group of girl friends attending an Ivy League college in upstate New York (“then”), and their lives ten years later(“now”), marred by memories of their part in a terrible event that has haunted each of them for the decade succeeding their graduation.
Juliana Johnson, (our main protagonist, known as “Jules”) attends college as a scholarship student, struggling desperately to fit in with a tightly-woven clique consisting of the beautiful Tori (Jules’s roommate), her close friend Nessa, and their ringleader, Emily, who is not only spoiled and narcissistic, but is decidedly darker.
The college year followed has the usual dramas centered on party-going, first loves, jealousies and rivalries, but with an ominous twist, as this group of tight-knit late-teen protagonists bends and dips to please and pay homage to their very nasty queen-bee, Emily.
As Jules, along with Tori and Nessa, now in their adult timeline, attempt to reconcile their lives around their guilt-soaked pasts, the secrets spawning their shame are slowly revealed. A visit to their campus for a ten-year reunion provides an inescapable segue – allowing the story to build to and release its terrible climax.
The plot unfolds with twists and turns along the way, that keep the reader engaged and entertained. I did not guess the surprise ending, and the author does a good job of tying up the loose ends into a suspenseful and action-filled finale.
I enjoyed this book, finding the teenage Jules, with her profound insecurities and need for constant validation, (fueling her less than admirable behavior), touching and relatable, with the adult version of Jules, still dealing with those same issues, a little less so.
A great big thank you to the author and the publisher for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.
My stop today on the #HQStories #blogtour for #DeadlyLittleLies by @StephanieDeCarolis