Release Date: 05/30/17 | 361 Pages | Contemporary | Delacorte Press
This breakout novel has been dominating the bestsellers list since it came out and it’s popularity is really interesting because you rarely see a debut author without a massive social media following or platform hang on the list this long. I think some of it’s popularity may have to do with it’s elevator pitch. Five high school students walk into detention; the nerdy girl, the criminal bad boy, the homecoming princess, the jock and the outcast—and only five come out alive.
I…I think I may be the black sheep when it comes to this book. It just wasn’t what I expected. I thought it was going to be crime solving teens but the characters don’t actively come together to try to solve the crime they’re accused of until about 80% into the book. For most of the story they’re just like “yeah, that thing was weird” and keep on keepin’ on with their lives and personal drama while off screen lawyers handle the intricate details of the case. This story is more about the characters deepest secrets being revealed than solving a murder.
I was also pretty lukewarm on the romance between the nerdy girl and the bad boy, I just couldn’t get invested in it which is tough because so much of the plot ends up revolving around it. The only character arc I liked was from Addie, the homecoming princess who has to rebuild herself after a secret revelation causes her to lose all her friends and popularity.
It’s probably also worth noting that at times McManus’s handling of mental illness and other social issues felt a little clunky.
The full cast of the audiobook is what really kept me going because it included a lot of my faves and they all gave a stellar performances. Shout out to Macleod Andrews who does both a great Southern accent and also a surprisingly good old lady voice. Also props to Shannon McManus (I’m assuming she’s not related to the author) who does this ridiculously good angry teenage boy.
While this Breakfast Club redux with a murder mystery twist didn’t work for me, I’d probably watch the TV just to see how it’s portrayed. Also…E! has fictional tv shows now ?
I’m a lifelong reader who started blogging about YA books in 2011 but now I read in just about every genre! I love YA coming of age stories, compelling memoirs and genre bending SFF. You can find me talking all things romance at Romance and Sensibility.