Our lives are made up of choices, you see. Big ones, small ones, strung together by the thin air of good intentions; a line of dominoes, ready to fall.
Well, holy shit. I want to invite Abigail Haas over to my house so we can be best friends and plot world domination together. But possibly not before I hide all sharp objects first. Honestly, I cannot imagine what it must be like living inside her head, but I do know she writes some of the best psychological thrillers I have ever picked up.
Let me tell you: I am not generous with 5 star ratings. I give them out sparingly to books that really surprise me with their originality or a special something that just makes them stand out… so the fact that Haas has written a grand total of two books and both have prompted me to give out 5 star ratings is almost unheard of. I’m really struggling to think of another time when this has happened. Nope, can’t think of one.
This is another case where I don’t know how much to tell you. I just want to say: GO READ IT. Like all readers of mysteries, you will try to guess what happens. Maybe you will get it right, most likely you won’t. Either way, it doesn’t really matter. Because Haas delivers something better than a murder mystery… she delivers complex psychology that had me questioning everything, wondering if I should be looking over my own damn shoulder, and hanging on every single word.
Despite the title, Haas doesn’t wander too far from her area of expertise – the twisted, confused, longing that permeates the minds of teenage girls. At first, I thought to myself “this book is good but I still prefer Dangerous Girls”… now I’m really not so sure. This book just played upon so many emotions and packed punches at every turn. Once you think you know something, the story spins in a certain way so that you change your mind.
From the moment you’re born, people start folding you into neat pieces and tucking you inside a box of their own design. They dress you up in their own expectations, before you even have a chance to understand the constrictions of your fate. That box becomes so cozy and warm, you never really notice that you’re bent double, fighting for room to breathe.
The story is about three people – Chloe, Ethan and Oliver – and the build-up of their complicated relationships and jealousies (told between the past and the present). We know that Chloe and one of the boys has made it out of a fire; we know that the other boy is dead; but what we don’t know is: which boy made it out alive? What happened inside that house? And why?
The author is a master of mystery… but more than that she’s a master of carefully-woven relationships. This story fascinated me on every level. From the sad story of Chloe’s mum’s depression, to the exploration of someone trying to deal with their dreams falling apart, to the way small bad thoughts are shown to be able to grow into something else. There’s an unsettling kind of truth in Haas’s psychology because she starts with the bad thoughts we all have now and then – a feeling of resentment towards someone who depends on us, a feeling of desire for someone we should never be thinking about – and creates something much more sinister out of it. In short: Haas appeals to the inner demons lying in all of us.
I’m not going to say anything else. Just seriously READ IT. I can’t wait to see what you all think!