by Abigail Haas
ebook, 400 pages
Published July 16th 2013 by Simon Pulse
It’s Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off on 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 hard truths about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.
As she awaits the judge’s decree, it becomes clear that everyone around her thinks she is not just guilty, but dangerous. When the truth comes out, it is more shocking than one could ever imagine…
I remember in the early days of this blog, Dangerous Girls received so much hype from the bookish community. I was a newbie blogger and honestly, also new to YA and I keep mostly to my corner of YA genre (that were paranormal and dystopia), but I do notice how everyone seems to be blown away by this book. By the shocking twists. And how this is the epitome of YA mystery/thriller genre.
“Wouldn’t we all look guilty, if someone searched hard enough?”
It took me years to finally read this book, and I have to admit, I was disappointed. I finished this book in a day, but it was mainly because how easy to read the writing is. Despite taking us back and forth through the timeline, the story flows really well. The writing is also very immersive and able to take us to the locations without the need of fancy words, from the description of paradise that is Aruba and the fun life that is spring break (especially reading this after 3 weeks of home confinement) to the bleakness of Aruba correctional facilities.
While the characters are not very well developed, the author able to make me sympathize with the main character, Anna, and take me through her emotions. From her loneliness in the beginning of the book, the intoxicating highs of her clique, and the sorrows of losing Elise. As the events are told from Anna’s perspective, the emotions really pulled me in and made me fly through the pages.
However, the twist is totally predictable and not at all shocking for me. In fact, I called it within the first few chapters of reading. I think it’s because since 2013, there are many YA thrillers with similar clique dynamics or even closeness as Elise and Anna that if you’ve read a couple of them, you can guess it immediately. Not that it was the book’s fault, I guess I’ve just read too many similar twist for this one to shock me.
In addition to its predictability, the reason why I couldn’t give this book a 5 stars is because some things just felt implausible for me. For example, how the detective just without any justification set his focus on Anna and no one in the force questioned it. Or how he messed it up spectacularly with avoidable mistake. Or how we didn’t get to see how she did it, we just have to believe she did.
I can see why Dangerous Girls took the YA community by storm when it was first released. In an era where the genre is saturated by dystopia and seeds of fantasy and contemporary, this book provided a refreshing reads for many. While it is still an immersive and captivating read from start to finish, the big twist is too predictable for the current age and some things felt implausible. I would recommend the author’s other book, Dangerous Boys, which has more twist and unnerving main character compared to this one.