Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas // When in Aruba…

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Dangerous Girls

by Abigail Haas

ebook, 400 pages

Published July 16th 2013 by Simon Pulse

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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…

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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.

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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.

tasya


17 thoughts on “Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas // When in Aruba…

  1. I remember all the hype surrounding this one, too! I never did pick it up, though, and I am not all that inclined to do so now. I always hate unsurprising plot “twists” and underdeveloped characters. Those are definitely two of my pet peeves. Awesome review, though!

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    1. When it comes to mystery/thriller genre, the guessing game is definitely the best part 😀 I don’t mind if I can guess who does it, as long as the author can keeps us guessing on the how and the why! I think that’s why I was really disappointed in this book, because the who and why are obvious and the how wasn’t explained 😬

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  2. I read this one because of the hype too! Ages ago, though. I do wonder what would happen if I read it now. Like you, I doubt I’d have been as shocked. I am glad you liked Dangerous Boys though! I have that one, just never got around to it, I need to though if you think that one was better!

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    1. I think there are just certain books that won’t be as hyped if we read it now because well, there are just many books with similar themes that have been released since. One of the reasons why Dangerous Boys is better for me is because it’s just… so unsettling, which is what I’m looking for from the genre 🙈

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  3. I read this back in 2014, I think, and I adored it! It was one of my first mystery-thriller reads, and I was blown away by the mystery, haha. After that, though, more and more YA novels were published, and I remember one in particular – although I can’t recall its title right now – that was essentially a complete rip off of this. (Obviously, the details were not the exact same, but the twist, motivation etc. was.) I’m glad you still enjoyed this to an extent, even if the twists were predictable.

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    1. Is it With Malice? I have it on my TBR too despite the mixed reviews haha! I think I just removed it though because I recently read a review that it’s very similar to Dangerous Girls and well, better avoid the same disappointment right? 😀

      Thanks for reading, Veronika!

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  4. I read this book a few years ago and I remember being shocked with the twist, but I agree that some of the things in the book didn’t make sense. I haven’t read Dangerous Boys yet but now I’m curious. Great review! ❤

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  5. I haven’t heard of this book at all, but I am sorry that it disappointed you! I read a lot of mysteries, so much so that I most often can guess the twists and murderers really early on, and it is always a bummer. I try not to let it affect my rating too much, but I rate mostly on my enjoyment and if I guess it in the first chapter? Not as fun! There are lots of books I’ve read where I guessed the twist but still really enjoyed because it felt like I was piecing together clues rather than being spoon fed a familiar formula. Oof, sorry for the tangent! Great review, Tasya!

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  6. It’s interesting, I have always thought this was the best YA thriller I’ve read but I wonder how I’d view it now- you’re right, a lot of YA thrillers now have the toxic friend dynamic and a similar twist at the end. Nevertheless, it’s really an addicting read and at the time was pretty unique!

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  7. I’ve been meaning to comment on this review for ages, but I have finally got to it.
    I was definitely in on the hype with Dangerous Girls! It was probably one of the first mystery/thrillers I read, and especially for the YA age range, I thought it did a good job at not shying away from darker themes (like other mystery/thrillers I’d read at the time seemed to do). I’m sorry to hear that it disappointed you, but glad that you experienced sympathising with Anna – as that is the main thing I remember about reading the book.
    I also remember enjoying Dangerous Boys more than this one, so I’m happy to see you recommending that as well 🙂
    Great review, Tasya! You’ve explained so well the positives and negatives of this book and why you felt the way you did.

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    1. Thank you Sabrina! Yeah I can see why it was super famous: it didn’t shy away from the dark topics and it’s one of the first YA books that I can remember that explore the toxic friendship as depicted in this book. Especially considering the trends at that time, this book was surely fascinating and surprising in so many ways! I’m glad I finally read it, but at the same time I wished I read this earlier so I can enjoy it better.

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