The follow-up to gossipy thriller The Perfectionists (2014) begins with its protagonists reeling from a teacher's death.
A prologue helpfully brings new and returning readers up to speed: Mackenzie, Julie, Caitlin, Parker, and Ava started talking in English class about whom they'd like to see killed and how they'd do the deed. Shortly thereafter, someone began committing murders in exactly the manners named. Because the girls have secrets that make them look suspicious—the prank they'd played on a murdered student, their having snuck into their teacher's house just before he was killed—each is reluctant to tell the authorities what she knows. Shepard, famed for her Pretty Little Liars series, uses the tension inherent in this premise just as deliciously in this sequel as in the original volume. Romantic and family conflicts in each girl's storyline, from Caitlin's navigating a relationship with her ex-boyfriend's younger brother to Ava's hiding her stepmother's cruel abuse to Mackenzie's best-friend–turned-rival Claire competing with her for boys' attention, ensure each chapter is chock-full of back-stabbings and barbed words. Clues about the murderer's identity are available to careful readers, but many will be surprised by the final revelation.
A delectably devious conclusion. (Suspense. 14-18)