When two boys walk into the woods, and one comes out covered in blood, what would you believe?
Fletcher and Adam venture into the woods for an afternoon hike, but when day turns into night and neither boy returns, their town is thrown into turmoil. Avery, the detective’s daughter, is the one to find Fletcher—dishevelled, disoriented, and covered in blood. He has no memory of what happened, but Avery can’t shake the feeling that something’s off. When Adam’s body is finally found, Avery is determined to uncover the truth. But if she stands by her gut, and Fletcher, is she standing by a friend, or a murderer? The answer might cost her her life.
I was looking forward to an awesome psychological mystery/thriller, but ended up with what can nicely be described as a fail.
Firstly, our MC is the daughter of a police chief, but somehow thinks she can do a better job than him of solving a crime. That’s right. Our 16 year-old is much more equipped to figure out the culprit in a gruesome assault and murder…than an actual trained police officer with years of experience. And pretty much says this to his face. Of course. This trope needs to die already.
“You stopped your investigation, Dad! What else were we supposed to do? You impounded Fletcher’s car and searched his room and house. No one is out looking for the person who really did this!”
Avery also breaks into the dead boy’s house, goes into his bedroom, and literally says “Okay, now to find a motive” as she searches his room. /headdesk
In short, she also makes dumbass decisions, deliberately disobeys her father and then cries when bad things happen. Boo freaking hoo.
Secondly, there were things that were illogical or simply didn’t work for me. For instance, the dude who’s been beaten nearly to the point of death is more focused on his puppy love for Avery:
He had never been this close to a girl before…He didn’t even know why he had asked for her…Maybe it was because she was kind of alone like him, or because she had been through something traumatic too. Maybe it was because she had been the one to find him…Fletcher watch Avery’s fingers – delicate and slim- brush a lock of hair from his face. The light pressure from her fingers sent a shiver through him.
Or there’s the fact that after barely having spoken a word to each other through their school lives, Avery is suddenly defending Fletcher and calling him her best friend and they’re hanging out like buddies. This dude you know nothing about and is a potential suspect in a murder. That is not really in your interest of self-preservation, Avery.
Also, slut-shaming. Delightful.
It was Kaylee Cooper, a girl who sported a wardrobe full of pink fuzzy sweaters and cheerleading skirts that barely covered her butt…She was popular for being a tease or a slut, Avery couldn’t remember which, and she never moved without a swarm of girls orbiting her.
And body snarking. I’m tired of the trope that if our girl is thin (i.e. the desired body shape in society, let’s face it), she’s always self-deprecating her figure as that of a boy’s.
The girl stood a whole head taller than Avery and had boobs that generously filled her black-and-red T-shirt. Avery sank deeper into her sweatshirt, painfully aware that she had the body of a twelve year-old boy.
The portrayal of an unreliable narrator’s perspective also doesn’t work well here. I can’t go into it too much because spoilers, but it basically starts out one way and then near the end switches to something else – which if it followed logic – should have been there from the beginning! The twist of a certain person’s condition just doesn’t work or make sense here.
Finally, overexaggerated scary-movie effects – rustling noises, windows wide open, etc were probably meant to enhance the tense atmosphere of a creepy murderer lurking behind the couch waiting to kill you, but honestly just made me roll my eyes.
ARC received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.