Book: Dangerous Boys
Author: Abigail Haas
This is the second novel of Abigail Haas’, though it is not a sequel to Dangerous Girls, it follows completely different characters although some themes are the same, but it’s a completely standalone story. The story follows an non-linear format, then (about how Chloe meets and falls in love with both Ethan and Oliver), now (the aftermath of the final confrontation) & the end (the final confrontation). Here is a short synopsis of the book:
It all comes down to this. Oliver, Ethan, and I. Three teens venture into an abandoned lake house one night. Hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding. The other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder …? Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece the story together – a story of jealousy, twisted passion and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful faces …
I liked this book, I did, but it wasn’t mind blowing in the same way that Dangerous Girls was. I didn’t find the pacing to be particularly good, in places it kind of bored me and then it was a little rushed at the end. Also, as much as I like the narrative of switching back and forth between the past, the present, and the climactic end, it kind of meant that nothing was particularly surprising when you reached the climax of the book. I didn’t feel like the storyline was as good as Dangerous Girls, where you got a little bit of the puzzle with each chapter, and you really couldn’t guess what was going to happen. As soon as Oliver is introduced, you know that there is going to be a love triangle, and I just think this love triangle was so predictable, a girl having to choose between two brothers is so cliché, although it is needed to make the story work. I didn’t get through this as fast as I did Dangerous Girls simply because I didn’t find the plot as engrossing, it’s a far more character driven book than plot, I felt anyway and whilst that’s fine, it didn’t keep me as intrigued as it should have.
I hated the main character, Chloe, what she did to her mother at the end was not cool, you don’t do so something like that to your parent. I was able to feel sympathy for her in the beginning, but as the story progressed, I found that I liked her less and less and by the end I truly hated her. All she seemed to care about was herself, and when she was going to be able to get out of her town and whilst I did sympathize for her, it must be horrible to be so close to leaving for college and then not be able to, I hated the way she handled everything at home. I could understand her actions to a degree, but I wasn’t really able to relate to her and I just wanted to scream at her every time she fell for Oliver’s manipulation. Having said that, although I disliked her, I did like the fact that she was an extremely multi-dimensional character, that there were so many different sides to her personality and that even though I disliked her, I found her intriguing and she was well developed throughout the story, as you
I hated Oliver right from the start. You knew why he was there and what he was doing because of the flash forwards before he was actually introduced, and I just hated him so much. Unlike Chloe (although my sympathy for her waned), I could find no sympathy for Oliver whatsoever and could not understand why she would fall for a guy like that. He was so condescending and arrogant, and manipulative, he was playing her the entire way through and worse still she knew he was and was just enjoying the game. I didn’t find him charming at all, I found him creepy and all the time you wanted to scream at Chloe to run in the opposite direction because he was so clearly bad. He seemed almost slippery in a way. It’s not exactly a good message to send that the clearly disturbed guy is the one that she is interested in and he does something really bad that she’s completely okay with (I can’t say what because it would be a spoiler) which makes no sense. Their relationship just didn’t quite sit right with me, although I did appreciate the idea that the two brothers represented the two different sides of Chloe, Oliver was her dark side and Ethan was her good side and she has to choose which side to give into, I thought that was really smart & it did add another layer to the admittedly cliche love triangle.
Ethan I kind of liked, although I wouldn’t exactly go as far as saying that I loved him, he was a very clingy boyfriend and I hated that he seemed to have the sense that Chloe belonged to him, as if a woman can belong to anyone but herself. I felt really bad that Chloe treated him the way she did though, he didn’t deserve it. All he did was love her, and she just used him. I also hated the way Oliver manipulated him. I did love the way Haas created tension between the brothers, you could feel it every time they were in a room together but I didn’t think either brother was developed very well, Ethan was the cliche good guy and Oliver was the bad boy.
I might not have liked him very much but I have to admit the hunting scene with Oliver and Chloe was captivating if a little creepy, and I’ve never read anything like that before. It was rather unsettling, even for me and I’ve read some very creepy scenes in books before, but the predator-prey analogy is a great one for this book, and particularly Oliver and Chloe’s relationship, he is the hunter and she is the prey.
The ending is kind of a letdown, given the shocker at the end of Dangerous Girls. I liked that she left it open, you as the reader can interpret what happens next and although I usually hate that kind of ending, it worked for this book.
I love the pyschological aspects of her books, particularly as I do psychology so it was interesting to see the sociopathic aspects of both Oliver and Chloe and she handled that really well (not that it’s surprising having read Dangerous Girls). Chloe’s mom’s depression added a very realistic aspect to the story, in fact one of the things I liked about this book was that a lot of it was relatable (Chloe’s mom’s depression, Chloe’s need to leave her hometown and get out for university, the obligation to her mum, the divorce aspect, even the fact that she’s interested in two guys) which was really nice. Dangerous Boys is overall a lot darker than Dangerous Girls, although I have to say the twist at the end of Dangerous Girls makes you look at the whole book in a different way but the themes explored in Dangerous Boys are a lot darker.
Overall, I did like the book, but I didn’t love it as much as I did Dangerous Girls. It didn’t grip me as much or wow me as much as that book did, and whilst it was a good book in it’s own right, I couldn’t help but compare the two. They’re not a series, so I would recommend reading Dangerous Boys before reading Dangerous Girls so that your expectations aren’t as high, since Dangerous Boys is good enough to make you want to read another Haas, but not as good as Dangerous Girls. I have to say though, she is one of my new favourite psychological thriller writers and I can’t wait to read what she does next, because it is bound to have twisted, sociopathic characters and a storyline that keeps you hooked!
My Rating: 3/5
The next book I will be reviewing is Heir of Fire, the third book in the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas. You may have to wait a while for the review because it’s a long book, but I hope it will be worth it and that I will have a glowing review.