Release Date: July 16th, 2013
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Rating: 5 stars
Word Rating: EXPLETIVES
Reviewed by: Blythe
Paradise quickly gets gruesome in this thrilling page-turner with a plot that’s ripped from the headlines and a twist that defies the imagination.
It’s Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives.
But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations. As Anna sets out to find her friend’s killer, she discovers harsh revelations about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.
Awaiting the judge’s decree, it becomes clear to Anna that everyone around her thinks she is not only guilty, but also dangerous. And when the whole story comes out, reality is more shocking than anyone ever imagined...
Wow. Dangerous Girls was...quite far from what I had initially expected it to be, honestly. I had planned on bringing this one on the beach with me for vacation, expecting it to be an easy, breezy YA murder mystery that would be entertaining enough to hold me over for a few hours.
Now? Now I'm glad I chose to start this earlier and didn't save it for the beach, because I'm certain my screams of many expletives would have alarmed quite a few other beach-goers. Don't get me wrong--Dangerous Girls is an absolutely fantastic novel, and it bears some stunning and endlessly engaging trial sequences, and portrays some topics so deftly I was utterly dumbfounded. It's brilliantly written in alternating time periods, and has some chapters written in the perspective of a television network reporting the case, which I thought was refreshing and loved.
But I did not find it to be an easy, breezy read. This book astonished me, shocked me, startled me, and ultimately left me with my mouth agape at the sheer brilliance of it all once I turned the last page. But what I feel makes this fantastic novel unqualified for the "easy beach read" label is that it is so much more than anything you would find in an easy beach read.
Odds are, Dangerous Girls will frustrate you. Many things in it are bound to anger you. If you're anything like me, most things will. This novel so amazingly depicts the cutthroat nature of court trials, and the awful things people do for the sole purpose of ruining someone's life. Anna is a character I immediately sympathized for, and I can say with utmost certainty that I have never been so engaged in a fictional trial before in my life. With every new revelation made in court to practically screw Anna over, and all of the people to go out of their way to ruin her name, I found myself infuriated, out of breath, and horrified.
And I loved it all. In essence, I felt everything a person in an audience for an actual trial would feel while reading this book, and that takes nothing but a great amount of authorial skill. Abigail Haas has immersed me into her story, into her characters' lives, and had me feeling seemingly every single feeling as I read Dangerous Girls, and will inevitably do the same for other readers. There is so much to uncover in Dangerous Girls, and I am incredibly excited for other readers to have the same experience with it as I had. While it's not a book I think I'd reread, like I would some of my other favorites (of which Dangerous Girls is absolutely one), I loved this book with a passion, and it is, in my mind, nothing short of a hidden treasure, waiting to be opened.