Bronwyn. Nate. Addy. Cooper. Four kids in detention who become suspects when a fifth kid- Simon- ends up dead. Simon is notorious for publishing other students' secrets on his app so he has no shortage of enemies, but when he dies in detention the only ones in the room were these four. So naturally the police focus on them, especially when some of their secrets are spilled, so the question is- who would kill Simon to keep him quiet?
This book reminded me of The Breakfast Club so much. You have the brain, the jock, the criminal and the princess- the only one missing is the basket case, but maybe that's Simon? At any rate this book was so fun- I was expecting to like it but I had no idea I would be sucked in the way I was. Each character is unique and well- realized and we get the perspective of each, which was awesome. Each one feels like their own person- and while I liked some of them more than others at the outset, I liked all of them by the end. Each one had struggles and realities that really made me feel for them. I also felt like the high school environment was depicted very realistically, which is not always a thing in YA books.
It surprised me a little to see this was a debut as well- it felt polished. I would absolutely read more by this author. There was a confidence to the writing that really worked, especially in a case like this where you have a multi-POV story with a lot of moving parts and a premise that could easily go off the rails if not done right. I mean think about it- a Breakfast Club- style murder mystery. That could go wrong in so many ways, and I was half expecting it to- but no, this story rocked and managed to stay fairly realistic when it could very much have been over the top.
That might be my biggest takeaway- that the author pulled this off. There are some explorations of parental issues, how kids are raised, what really happens at high school, hooking up- again it felt realistic. I can't say too much about the plot- this one is best if you go in knowing very little- but I will say I loved how the kids came together (at one point calling themselves "murder club") and again these characters were so developed that I really came to like them. Addy in particular was a breakout- she seems so different by the end but it was done so well, it made sense. There were times towards the end when I wanted to cheer for that girl.
This book was a lot of fun and I almost want to re- read it knowing what I know now. I did have a sense of what happened towards the end, but it was because of the slow drip of clues and I wasn't sure- but it made sense. I highly recommend this one- it's a great mystery but it's also a great story. It's like The Breakfast Club with a murder- and the best part is- it works.