Oh my gosh- this book! It's been on my TBR for a while, and I finally got to it. Wow, what a read. Twisty and quite the page turner. Ash Carlisle is a new student transferring in to the exclusive Goode school- a boarding school for the rich and connected in the hills of Virginia- but Ash has a few secrets. She's from England and is running from something- dark secrets indeed. And there is something else- every once in a while we get another perspective, but we don't know who it is. They know something about our protagonist though and it's not good.
Things go bad as soon as Ash arrives, with death descending on the school almost immediately. Oh, and Ash isn't her real name either. Honestly, the secrets and lies in this book kept me reading way too late, and I was loving it. It starts out with a hanged girl at the gates of the school, so you know right off the bat things are going to be bad. And the writing style combined with the conversational tone of the writing made me feel like Ash- or whoever- were talking right at me. Not only that, but we get the headmistress' perspective as well as a few others.
This is a story about girls at a boarding school, with all that that entails. Secret societies, initiations and hazing, relationships, the role privilege plays in all this- and a cracking murder mystery. Or several murders actually. Ash is kind of likable, even though right off the bat we're told she may be a murderer or at the very least a bad person- but you kind of root for her? I did, anyway. Also, having read a fair number of boarding school mysteries like this, I must say this one might be my favorite. The school is creepy but sorta realistic.
The characters broke my heart a few times. Two in particular- I mean, just about everyone can be nasty here, but anyone who's read this will probably know who I'm talking about when I say there were two characters in particular who I wanted good things for. I won't spoil things, but suffice to say some things happened and I was like noooooooo. This book had me reading all night.
Also the author has a note at the end where she talks about how her real life experiences at an all-girls school informed the writing of this book, and it's fascinating to see where she drew her inspiration from. If you like this kind of story, you need to read this.