Title: Dangerous Girls
Author: Abigail Haas. This is a pen name for Abby MacDonald, the author of several YA novels, including Getting Over Garrett Delaney.
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller
Readers: Teacher Ninian, prosecutor Rochelle, project manager Andrea, higher ed professional Renee and stay-at-home mom Colleen B.
Summary: It’s Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives.
But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations. As Anna sets out to find her friend’s killer, she discovers harsh revelations about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.
Our Take: A serious thrill ride of a book, a dark and fast read that will take you for a ride. Mature material may not make it ideal for younger teens. Great for grown-ups. Read if you liked Gone Girl, Pretty Little Liars and other stories about girls gone bad.
When I started to read I didn’t think I’d like this book enough to finish it, let alone write a review. Here I sit, however, at four a.m. unable to stop thinking about the story!
Yes, I read it right through from start to finish in one sitting. The book brought to mind real cases like Natalee Holloway and Amanda Knox, but it also had it’s own unique twists.
I admit I struggled with this book at first. I didn’t like the characters, their motivations, or the choices they made that ended with the death of one of their number. But, I couldn’t put it down. Like a reality television programme no one wants to admit to watching, I had to know where it would go. In short, this story messed with my head. As the twists in the tale slowly revealed themselves, I simply could not put the book down.
I’m desperate for someone to talk to about this story, but as for who is recommend it to, the list, at least among my friends, is short. If you like trial novels, if you like mysteries, if you like plot twists this book is for you. Take care, though, it will definitely mess with your head.
Read also: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, The Good House by Ann Leary, maybe even The Dinner by Herman Koch
Hole. E. Cow!
I just got done reading this book and it was AMAZING! I was captivated right from the beginning and held in suspense throughout the entire book. I went from thinking I knew who did it, to changing my mind to not knowing who did it, the BAM! Abigail Haas hit a home run with this novel.
I can’t write a 100% review because I don’t want to give any of it away. With this book you will get suspense, clever plot twists, romance, friendships and an ending that will blow your mind!
It is a Young Adult book, but I feel like there was quite a bit of Adult material in it. I have a few parental warnings if you are going to let your teens read it. Sex/making out – in quite a bit of the book. Dancing in clubs (sexually) ect. Violence – I can’t get too into it because of the plot of the book, but it’s in there. Profanity – lots and lots of it. Alcohol/Drugs/Smoking – yes, it’s in there too. Just know all that kind of stuff is in there if you want your teens reading.
This book draws you in from page one. Dangerous Girls is inspired by the 2005 story of Natalee Holloway, who went missing in Aruba while on a high school graduation trip with her classmates. Holloway’s body was never found, and she was connected to a 17 year old Dutch socialite in Aruba, the last person to see her alive, and now in prison for her murder. Though Haas incorporated many details from the Holloway case, including some of the suspects and their alleged alibis, the story deviates from Holloway’s final days enough to be a fictional account.
Elise and her best friend Anna are party girls with dark streaks in their personalities. Haas adds interesting and dark twists to the characters and the plot, giving detailed background to the leading lady’s friends and how their relationships overlap to add intrigue and drama. Giving us a background into the lives of the characters, and the friends with whom they surround themselves, this book humanizes the Holloway story. The book almost serves as a cautionary tale for teens who party with reckless abandon, but without being so overt as to be obvious or preachy. Haas’ writing is suspenseful and engaging, making this a quick, riveting read that is perfect for your next day at the beach or the pool! Since the circumstances of the murder mystery are so realistic and relatable, the reader is on their toes until the end!
Given the setting, a party destination over Spring Break, with no adult supervision, I was worried that this book would glamorize excessive drinking and promiscuity. Not that either should be shamed, but the Young Adult (YA) genre of literature and television too often glamorize aspects of adult life without contextualizing them for the teens who tend to consume the YA media. Happily, this book does a great, realistic job of characterizing the environments in which copious alcohol and drug use abound. Even going as far as highlighting how teens tend to document all of this behavior on Facebook in permanently visible ways. The book also comments between old money and privilege, and new money never quite fitting in or keeping up. This circles back at the end of the book with commentary on class privilege and the criminal justice system. So, while the book, on its face, glamorizes anonymous sexual encounters fueled by alcohol and drug use, the consequences (albeit a little exaggerated for dramatic effect) are also highlighted.
Bottom Line: If you enjoy books that are suspenseful but light reads, murder-mystery style plots, drama and love triangles, then this is the book for you!
Read Also: Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard
I was really excited to read this book. I’m a lover of both crime fiction and YA so I jumped at the chance to review Dangerous Girls. It was a one part Amanda Knox, one part Natalee Holloway with a hint of Gossip Girl thrown in. I read it within hours and was stunned by the shocker at the end.
All in all, it was what I consider to be a good beach read. Intriguing, fast-paced and lightweight. The teenagers talk and act (mostly) like teenagers and the story seems to unfold much like we’ve seen in many high profile cases that involve the murders of teenage American girls in foreign countries.
Though it is YA, I wouldn’t recommend it for the younger YA crowd. There are quite a few references to drugs and sex as well as frequent expletives.
This was the perfect beach indulgence read. It had everything I want in an escape book…love, friendship, hate, murder, social media…seriously, everything! The author does an amazing job keeping you guessing until the very end of this mystery. I pride myself on being able to figure out who-done-its, but at some point in this book, I suspected almost every character. The only drawback I would say, is that it is a bit risque for YA….but perfect for my vacation!