Monday, August 12, 2013

Review: Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

Dangerous Girls 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...

My Review:

Dangerous Girls is an absolutely amazing mystery that I kept turning the pages of because I wanted to know who the killer was.  At the end of this book, you do find out who killed Elise, and it is shocking.  This ending was completely brilliant, just like the rest of this book.  The book leads you to believe one thing, and then the ending changes all of that.


There are so many things I want to say about Anna, but many of them spoil the ending.  If you highlight the next part, there will be MAJOR spoilers, so don't highlight unless you want to know how the book ends.  Anna is a great liar, and that is not a compliment of her character.  She is extremely good at making the reader, and the judge of the trial, believe she is innocent.  That is why finding out that she was guilty came as such a major shock.  Anna is clearly messed up, since she would murder her best friend for sleeping with her boyfriend.  When she was on the Clara Rose show, she said she thought about Elise every day and that she missed her so much.  After reading the end, I don't think Anna deserves to mourn Elise's death since she was the one who murdered her.  Essentially, I don't really know what to think of Anna's character since the ending changed my opinion.

I liked the way that this story was told.  It took place through scenes from many different timelines.  There were scenes with Anna and Elise before the trip, scenes on the vacation, scenes directly after the murder, scenes when Anna is in jail awaiting the trial, scenes during the trial, some scenes that showed TV coverage of the murder and trial, and a scene after the trial.  By showing all these different scenes, Haas allows readers to discover the full story.  This also makes Elise become a fully developed character, despite the fact that she is already dead when the book begins.

The friendship between Anna and Elise is intense, and not necessarily a healthy relationship.  The two of them were rather obsessed with each other.  They would tell each other how much they loved each other, and they took each other away from other people quite a bit.  Elise got jealous when Anna started dating Tate because Anna had to divide her time between Elise and Tate.  This was the first strain on their relationship.  They had some fights, but the fights weren't bad enough to cause Anna to murder Elise.  It was obvious how much they cared about each other.

The courtroom scenes were done really well.  This book showed how so many things could be taken out of context and used as evidence in a case.  Dekker, the prosecuting detective, did whatever he could to make Anna look bad in court.  He even hid some evidence about another guy who was following Elise on the day of the murder.  He was determined to bring Anna down.  Anna's lawyer had to work hard to counteract that evidence.  Dekker had photos, and he had the testimony of Anna's own friends against her. 

The TV show excerpts of the Clara Rose Show showed that the people in America didn't think she was innocent either.  No one was protesting her arrest.  When Anna watched the show in jail, she was surprised that it had such a one-sided view against her.  Clara Rose brought pyschologists on the show to explain how Anna's behavior matched the behavior of a killer.  She also brought on Anna's friend, AK, so he could tell about times that she had seemed violent in the past.  Basically, the TV show made Anna look bad.

If you like dark YA murder mysteries, read this book.


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