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- Publisher: Random House Children's Books
- Publication date: 7/10/2012
- Pages: 336
- Source: eARC from NetGalley/Random House for review
Are the woods behind St. Bede's Academy really haunted, or does bad stuff just happen there? When Calista Wood, a new student, arrives midway through her junior year, St. Bede's feels like a normal school . . . until she discovers that a girl had disappeared a couple of months earlier. Some kids think she ran away, others think she was murdered, but it's only when Cally starts digging around that she finds the startling truth.
Watch as Cally enters a world of privilege, weekend-long parties, high school romances, and . . . well-kept secrets. This page-turner will appeal to teens looking for a fast-paced thriller. Written in a voice at once gripping and crystal clear, debut novelist, McCormick Templeman, will take readers on a twisting and turning journey as only a "new girl" can experience.
Any time I see a book about a boarding school I am instantly interested. I don't know what the intrigue is for me. Maybe the idea of being a teenager and being away at a cool boarding school somewhere, or maybe it's the fact that there is always something mysterious that happens. Always secrets of some sort. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't. In the case of this book, it was just okay to me. I felt that there was a lot of wasted space in the book with events that don't really factor into the plot in any way.
Cally is a character that I wanted to like, but couldn't. I just couldn't really connect with her at all. Inside her head she acted one way, but outwardly she was totally different. I get that she is kind of trying to be different and maybe rebel, and even to some extent trying to impress or fit in with others, but it all seemed very fake and lame to me. And I don't get why she is so intent on hiding the fact that her sister was one of the missing girls from ten years ago. She gets so worked up about trying to hide that from everyone. So many of the things she does just don't seem to fit with who she seems to be. She is also very obsessed with trying to figure out the mystery of what happened to Iris, the girl who disappeared. She gets to the point that she is pretty much becoming a mental wreck over it all.
Now the secondary characters weren't that great to me either.I didn't like Helen, Freddy, or Pigeon. Alex was a tool too. Jack was okay to me, he didn't seem like he really fit in there. He isn't one of the spoiled privileged kids either. Like Cally, he is there on a scholarship. I thought that Jack was probably the most real character in the whole story. Noel was an interesting character and although I can't say that I liked her, I didn't really dislike her either. Now Chelsea even though she isn't a huge part in the story was a character that I was intrigued by. I didn't know what to think of her. I had no clue whether to like her or hate her, or if there was something else going on with her.
Of course this is a mystery, and it did take me a little while to figure it all out, but not nearly long enough. It was pretty obvious in a hidden kind of way I guess. I have read a lot of mysteries, so when there are the typical elements of a mystery novel, I figure things out easy. I thought that the way that it all led up to it was still interesting and enjoyable to read though. I could have done without some of the ridiculous things like them just hanging out at the twins house, or some of the other random things that happen though. There seemed to be so much filler content that even with this being a relatively short book. I understand when things have something to do with the story later, but a lot of it didn't.
In general I think that it was a slightly creepy, interesting mystery. If you like stories that take place at boarding schools and have a mystery element to them, this will be an enjoyable read. I know that my review seems a bit negative, but I really did like the book. I just tend to have a hard time really getting into a book when I don't really connect with the characters at all. I think with more character development and skimming out some of the unnecessary events, this book would be really excellent. 3 out of 5 stars