Dangerous Girls review

This is my first book review about a book that I just finished yesterday-Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas. I’m surprised that I hadn’t heard more about it after reading it as it’s a gripping, psychological thriller that keeps you guessing right up until the very end. Here is a short synopsis of the book:
It’s spring break of senior year and Anna, her best friend Elise and her boyfriend Tate and a few other close friends are off for a debacherous trip to the Caribbean Island of Aruba that is supposed to be the time of their lives. When Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country which is not her own, fighting for her freedom. Awaiting the judge’s decree it becomes clear to Anna that everyone thinks she’s not only guilty but also dangerous. As the court case unravels, the truth comes out and it’s more shocking than anyone could ever imagine….
This book was literally one that I just picked up in a bookshop but it’s a truly compelling read-a little confusing, the switching between past and present at first because she switches between two different pasts (Their holiday in Aruba and the start of Elise and Anna’s friendship) but once you get used to it, it’s a very clever narrative device, each little section of past is relevant to the court case in the present to help you work out who killed Elise (as the book is a murder mystery as much as anything else). It was helpful getting a clear idea of the kind of past Anna and Elise had and seeing just how close their friendship was (although I have to admit I thought it was bordering on unhealthy at times and it’s very difficult to tell if the girls were just close friends or something more). Seeing what happened during their holiday in Aruba before the murder also helps you put the pieces together and work out “whodunit”. As for the characters, as a main character I thought Anna was a great main character because you found you could really root for her-an outsider in a new school, loses her mother to cancer-you find you can really sympathize with this girl which is good for the court case scenes where she comes under vicious scrutiny by the prosecutor-you find yourself throughout the book wanting to slap him in the face. The injustice of the court system to a foreigner is shown well-the prosecutor is so intent on getting Anna convicted he’ll do anything, bordering on abuse. The media portrayal in this story is also very good, how the media can twist the smallest things into something huge. I loved the addition of the various transcripts as well-it got you out of Anna’s head for a little and let you see the wider world view and how trials like this can become media sensations. The characters are where the story falls down slightly, they aren’t particularly likeable-Elise annoyed me, always portrayed as the innocent one when she was leading Anna astray and didn’t particularly seem to care about anyone’s feelings other than her own, having said that the relationship between Anna and Elise was very well done-you could see how close they were which makes the murder charges more unbelievable. Tate seemed too good to be true and that’s all I’m going to say so I don’t give major spoilers away. The great thing is that despite the fact that you don’t like the characters much, you still want to read on, the plot is that gripping. All I’m going to say about the ending is just….wow. Some people have said they predicted it but I never saw it coming and it’s one of the reasons I loved this book so much.
I would really recommend this book as one to read-it hasn’t got as much press as a book like this should have. I wouldn’t recommend to under 16’s as there is alcohol and drug use as well as violent scenes but it is definitely a book to put on your to read list.
My rating: 5/5