*I received a physical copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
Summary: “The mother I knew would never do those things.
But maybe I never knew her after all.”
Clothes, jokes, coded messages…Cecilia Brooks and her mom shared everything. At least, CeCe thought they did. Six months ago, her mom killed herself after accusations of having sex with a student, and CeCe’s been the subject of whispers and taunts ever since. Now, at the start of her high school senior year, between dealing with her grieving, distracted father, and the social nightmare that has become her life, CeCe just wants to fly under the radar. Instead, she’s volunteering at the school’s crisis hotline—the same place her mother worked.
As she counsels troubled strangers, CeCe’s lingering suspicions about her mom’s death surface. With the help of Sam, a new student and newspaper intern, she starts to piece together fragmented clues that point to a twisted secret at the heart of her community. Soon, finding the truth isn’t just a matter of restoring her mother’s reputation, it’s about saving lives—including CeCe’s own…
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery
My thoughts: It has been a while since I have read a great thriller/mystery novel, and I am so glad that I picked this one up. It brought me out of my month long reading slump because I was so invested in this story that unfolded in ways that I never expected it to. I feel as though, if you were to read this story, you should go in without really reading the summary too much. Just pick up this novel knowing that it is going to be a fast paced YA mystery and lose yourself in the story filled with scandals that will sweep you off your feet because that’s the best way to experience Dunn’s book.
This story has such strong descriptions which I noticed the moment I began reading the first page. I felt the anguish that CeCe felt from losing her mother and having to deal with all the bullying at her high school through the vivid descriptions that stole my attention. This book’s beautiful writing also portrayed bullying in such a raw way that was so impacting. It commented on how horrible slut shaming really is and how high schoolers can be cruel when they want to be. Dunn didn’t sugarcoat a single detail of CeCe’s mother’s scandal and the aftermath of how CeCe had to deal with the horrible treatment in school. Dunn put all the cards onto the table and made me flip through this story as quick as possible to see what was going to happen next.
Each character in this novel had such depth especially CeCe and her love interest, Sam, who both treated each other with such respect that was so refreshing to read in a YA relationship. Sam treated CeCe fairly and understood her openly and honestly whenever she was feeling terribly due to her mother’s death and the bullying she received which was one of the things I really loved about this story. The character development in CeCe was also written incredibly and really showed how much she grew over time. Along with the amazing characters, the entire mystery that unfolded was paced in such a at skillful way. The entire novel had such well written tension and questions that made you wonder what was going to happen next.
I really enjoyed reading this story within a day because it was so addicting. In fact, I feel as though it would be amazing as a movie because of the thrilling drama flowing through the entire story which left no room for a single dull moment. It is definitely a book with an interesting ending that left you satisfied with the troubles CeCe had to go through to find out what really happened to her mother. The only thing that I didn’t enjoy entirely was the way the dialogue was written. Some of the lines that the teens said sounded a bit too formal for high schoolers to say in a way that made it sound stiff, but other than that small detail, this book was captivating. It represented many social issues people face today while also gripping you in this mystery that you won’t forget for a while.