I received this book for free from requested from publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Published by Simon Pulse on October 4th, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Young Adult
Source: requested from publisher
Twin Peaks meets Pretty Little Liars in acclaimed author Maggie Thrash’s new Strange Truth series.
It’s better to know the truth. At least sometimes.
Halfway through Friday night’s football game, beautiful cheerleader Brittany Montague—dressed as the giant Winship Wildcat mascot—hurls herself off a bridge into Atlanta’s surging Chattahoochee River.
Just like that, she’s gone.
Eight days later, Benny Flax and Virginia Leeds will be the only ones who know why.
This was just painful to read. I kept thinking “Oh maybe it’ll get better! You know, detailed character arcs where the learn their lesson.” Boy was I wrong! I don’t know if this was supposed to be a parody, but I wasn’t laughing at all.
The first thing? The characters. They were all so stereo-typical like the jocks, cheerleaders, nerds, exchange students etc. Each one had reacted just like we thought they would. It’s mostly told from the point of view from Benny and Virginia. Two loners who are also part of the school’s only mystery club. They weren’t as hateful as the others, but they still judged their classmates rudely. These are judgemental characters who are just so mean and rude to each other. Each character thinks so highly of themselves and they’re condescending and superior to one another.
“American girls were vapid and asinine and fatuous. No Winship girl could come up with three synonyms for ‘stupid’ that quickly.” (190)
“That’s why they have cheerleaders. To give people something to look at. (253)
“Yeah, what’s the deal with those chicks?”
“They lost their innocence from being sexually traumatized. They can’t cheer anymore.” (253)
How is it that every single POC in this book is the villain? How can you treat them like trash after one of them has died? How do you celebrate a suicide like this? Just because they were a pervert? You don’t justify suicide that way. The most pressing thing is someone who is a POC ends up raping another character. And no one does a thing!!! I do not like how the author has treated these characters, reducing them all to stereotypes and labels.
The most telling thing were the racist remarks about Asians. Was there a need for this? I really don’t understand.
“‘TO-KU-GA-WA!’ Gottfried had boomed in a cartoonish Japanese accent, while Virginia giggled in the front seat.” (151)
“Let townie Asians flood the gates and take over the whole for all he cared.” (221)
“The guy was no one Winn had ever seen before. He had long hair and was dressed in a black T-shirt and jeans. Maybe thirty-years old? It was hard to tell with Asian guys.” (219)
These characters were always wary of what others thought of them. It grated on my nerves a bit.
“Virginia was sitting next to him, but as far away as she could get without insulting him. She didn’t want someone to walk in and think they were together.” (55)
There’s a scene where the male students are being spoken to about rape. And I don’t think in my years of reading have I ever read a conversation like this one, where the teacher is telling males to not rape. But it was done in such an off-hand humourous way that you can’t take it seriously. I guess this book isn’t supposed to be taken seriously but I can’t help it. It’s just terrible.
“Let’s talk about what you can do to show the ladies respect. Imagine what it’s like to be a girl. You got this smokin’ bod that everyone wants to get a peep at. Can you imagine what that feels like? No, you can’t, because you’re dudes, and your bodies are disgusting.” (112)
Then there was the plot. It sounded so interesting. A murder suicide or a murder mystery? I was all for it. But then it just started to falter. Once I realized it was going to be a parody, I just stopped caring. I did keep going just because I wanted to know who was responsible for everything, only to be incredibly disappointed by the lack of respect given to the POC characters. The writing is fine, and the dialogue is all right, but the way these characters treat each other was just despicable. And that ending? Kind of useless.. I won’t be reading the rest in this series.
I’m sorry to say I disliked this book a lot. There were many reasons and I just don’t think it was entertaining at all. I don’t recommend this to anyone because I find it offensive. Thumbs down for me.. I want to erase my memory of ever reading this.