I had heard a lot about this book prior to reading it and it definitely lived up to the hype. It's a mystery about a group of teens who go to Aruba and what happens after one of them- Elise- ends up dead. Anna is accused of the crime and finds herself alone and abandoned while her case goes to trial. Everyone turns against her, or so it seems, other than her father and her lawyer. It's not entirely clear if all of her friends have turned against her or if they've just been shepherded away by their parents- most of the teens come from wealthy families- but Anna has a pretty tough time being stranded and accused.
Anna and Elise were best friends, and along with Anna's boyfriend Tate and a few others, they went to Aruba to have fun. Things don't always go according to plan though and little chinks in the relationships start to show themselves- I wasn't always sure if what I was reading was the truth. The story is told from Anna's perspective, but we get snippets of police transcripts and some of her friends have to testify at her trial. It's probably not a surprise that some people have differing accounts of the events than Anna does. I liked Anna and felt for her, and yet constantly wondered is she telling the truth? Are her friends?
I pretty much believed Anna and it seems pretty obvious that the police have botched the investigation. Serious crimes like this are rare in Aruba and the cops did not seem prepared, nor did they handle the crime scene properly. Anna seems to be getting railroaded and other suspects were ignored or not handled properly. Why is the prosecutor out for Anna? And what really happened to Elise? The story starts off with a bang as the teens have just discovered the body and called emergency responders. I seriously had a hard time putting this one down- several bloggers had told me it was a fast read, and they were right. I sailed through this book.
I was a little surprised that the trial played such a big role in the story. I thought Anna was going to get out and then her and the others would somehow investigate, but instead Anna is in jail for most of this and the investigation plays out around her. That's not a complaint though, it's just different from what I was expecting. The tension stayed pretty constant throughout and there were times when I was mad at the police and mad at the media for the way they seemed to characterize Anna as guilty before she was even convicted. I think the author is taking the opportunity to make the reader think about how blown out of proportion little things from the past can be when suddenly one is in the media spotlight.
And I have to mention the twists. A book like this of course has a twist and this one got me pretty good. I mean of the different scenarios that were possible I had considered this one, but when it happened I was still wowed. All I can say is if you want a fast- paced YA with some twists and turns this is a great choice.