The Girl in the Park
Genre: YA Mystery
Pub Date: April 24, 2012
Rating: PG-13 (partying, underage drinking, strong undercurrent of sex)
Coffee Beans: 3.5/5
Favorite Line: "The sound of her crying is like vomit; you can tell it hurts to let it out." (pg 56, Nook);"Now the whole rotten memory comes back in a rush like vomit." (pg 75, Nook) (Disturbing that they both have to do with vomit)
Spoilers: Yes, a little about a subplot
Disclaimer: I received this ARC free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for this honest review
When Wendy Geller's body is found in Central Park after the night of a rager, newspaper headlines scream, "Death in the Park: Party Girl Found Strangled." But shy Rain, once Wendy's best friend, knows there was more to Wendy than just "party girl." As she struggles to separate the friend she knew from the tangle of gossip and headlines, Rain becomes determined to discover the truth about the murder. Written in a voice at once immediate, riveting, and utterly convincing, Mariah Frederick's mystery brilliantly exposes the cracks in this exclusive New York City world and the teenagers that move within it.
I immediately connected with this book for a number of reasons. Two of them being the voice it was written in and the fact that it reminded me of The Sky is Everywhere, and I absolutely love that book. So well written and interesting, this novel pulled me along at a speed that had me finishing the book in only a day and a half. Now, let's get down to the specifics, shall we?
What I liked:
- The cover's pretty stinkin' sweet. Come on, admit it. Uber mysterious and creepy. Perfect for a book about a murder
- It reminded me of Jandy Nelson's The Sky is Everywhere, but not as deep and aching—and with a murder—but still about dealing with the loss of someone you loved and finding out they weren't who you thought they were
- I loved how the plot kept me guessing who the killer was. By page 100, I was certain I knew who the killer was. Then, at least two other times I thought I knew who the killer was
- At first, the writing was a little scattered and abstract with all the breaks and scene shifts and flashbacks. I had to go back a few times and re-read a line or paragraph to understand what was going on, but once I got the flow of it, it was well executed and perfect.
- Lots of good lines in the writing. Good subtleties picked up on to give that extra bit of detail to the writing
- Overall the characters were pretty well-rounded. I didn't get that deep of an understanding for any one character, except for Rain, but I knew them well enough to feel connected with them in the story
- When Fredericks reveals the murderer, it was sort of anticlimactic for me. I was expecting them to be a little dangerous or violent when Rain figured it out. Instead, they sort of just cried about it. Not entirely believable for someone who's life is officially over
- Rain's mom. We don't see much of her, which is typical of a YA novel, but when she was on stage, I wasn't impressed. We don't get the impression that she's a "phone in" mom or a deadbeat. She's a famous opera singer and they're pretty well off. Anyway, the first time I got to be unimpressed by her is the very first page when Rain tells us she'd been at a party the night before and her mom was waking her up early and she was irritated by it because her mom knew she'd been out partying the night before and had gotten home late. The second time (SPOILER ALERT!!
IT'S FOR A SUBPLOT, BUT STILL, IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW AHEAD OF TIME, DON'T READ THIS NEXT PART!), was when her mom asked if Rain liked the teacher that walked her home and says the teacher likes her back. Instead of protecting her daughter from a potentially harmful situation, she comments that Rain should stay away BECAUSE HE'S MARRIED. Not because it's wildly inappropriate (like any parent should say) but because she doesn't want her SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER TO GET IN THE MIDDLE OF A MARRIAGE. I'm sorry for those of you who don't agree (and that's fine), but that's the ENTIRELY wrong message to be sending to teens. On so many levels.
Happy reading, my friends!