A well-plotted suspense tale aims itself at the Pretty Little Liars fan base.
Two wealthy BFFs, Caitlin and Tenley, suspect that Sydney, a scholarship girl they’ve always disliked, lurks behind a nasty truth-or-dare game targeted at them. They don’t know that Sydney also receives menacing notes threatening to expose the three girls’ hidden pasts. The girls strive to overachieve: Caitlin’s mother pressures her to get into Harvard, so she takes on far too many extracurricular activities; Tenley’s mother insists that she continue winning teen beauty contests; Sydney uses her passion for photography to escape from the pressures of high school society. Serious tensions abound in all three of the girls’ families, and all try to hide confidential problems: Caitlin hasn’t truly recovered from being kidnapped as a child; Tenley has had breast augmentation; Sydney has a craving to set fires. Numerous possible suspects surface, although Green doesn’t drop any noticeable hints that would tip readers off to the solution. This, when revealed, leads to suspense and a major surprise and propels readers into the next installment in the series. Befitting its genre, the story focuses on popular, beautiful girls, turmoil over boys (all of them devastatingly handsome) and girl-girl rivalries. As it switches the point of view among the three girls, the story moves ahead nicely and should hold readers’ interest quite well.
Good intrigue designed for the chick-lit crowd. (Suspense. 12 & up)