Back at it again with another tour post! This time, for a YA mystery/thriller! This book was a good time and I did enjoy it, but I must caution you, Dearest Readers, of the potential triggers found within: poisoning via medication, faking one’s death, manslaughter, body horror, homophobia, gaslighting, and others. Exercise caution.
I will, again share my favorite song of the moment, which is Her Diamonds by Rob Thomas, an older song from when I was in high school…definitely worth a listen.
Our story stars Maude, a high school student who is constantly being shuffled back and forth between her divorced parents’ houses weekly “like an old couch nobody wants”. She never unpacks her suitcase that she takes to either location, because she knows she’ll be at the other in 7 days. One time she went to her dad’s house and he forgot she was coming and threw a party. She slept on the floor that night.
Maude’s new step-dad is loaded and so she is roped in to a family trip to Hawaii, which is perfect for her plan to disappear. Permanently. Things are going well until her step-cousin Francesca “Frankie” discovers her plans and invites herself along for the ride.
Reader, I feel the need to mention here that I have some mixed feelings about this friendship/relationship. Yes, technically the two girls aren’t blood related, but they’ve seen each other as cousins for at least 5 years (the age of Maude’s twin brothers). Spoiler: they end together as a couple and even now, writing this post…I’m not sure how I feel about this…
The two girls commit a series of crimes across a few state lines in order to evade their family, arrest, and capture by the Feds. Frankie is kidnapped by (what she thinks is) the FBI, but turns out to be [redacted] who then reveals themselves to be the actual villain of the story.
Overall, this book was a quick read…took me a day and a half. Despite the conflicting feels I mentioned a few paragraphs back, this was a decent book. I’d recommend it to anyone who wants to read a fake-death plot with LGBTQ+ characters.
Wendy Heard is the author of two adult thrillers: The Kill Club and Hunting Annabelle, which Kirkus Reviews praised as “a diabolically plotted creep show from a writer to watch.” She’s Too Pretty To Burn, which Kirkus called “a wild and satisfying romp” in a starred review, marks her YA debut. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and Mystery Writers of America, is a contributor at Crimereads.com, and co-hosts the Unlikeable Female Characters podcast. Wendy lives in Los Angeles, California.
You can find her online at wendyheard.com or on Instagram.com/wendydheard
I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my participation on this tour. Receiving these materials in no way affects or alters my opinion of this book. Dead End Girls released on May 10th from Christy Ottaviano Books, a division of Henry Holt & Company. If you want to purchase a copy, you can do so using my Bookshop affiliate link, or visit any of your favorite retailers!