‘Nicole Morgan has been labeled many things — the geeky music girl, the shy sidekick to Miss Popularity, and the girl with the scar. Now only one name haunts her through the halls of Oyster Bay Prep. The Girl in the Picture. After high school heartthrob Chace Porter is found dead in the woods near the school, the police are in search of the girl whose picture with Chace is the only clue found amongst his personal belongings. A girl who no one knew was even close to Chace–and whose dormmate, Lana Rivera, was Chace’s girlfriend. Nicole is that girl and now she’s the primary suspect in his murder. But what really happened that night? Were Nicole and Chace dating behind Lana’s back; were he and Lana over? Could either of them have killed him? Told in alternating points of view, that of our suspect, Nicole Morgan, and her former best friend and roommate, Lana Rivera, readers will piece together the story of a starcrossed love, a fractured friendship–and what really happened the night Chace was killed.’
I requested this novel a little while ago and said that in return I would give an honest review about what I thought of the novel. I love a good thriller and this seemed to pull me in, the murder of a loved boy, best friends at war, the mention of a scar, what’s not to love? Set in an exclusive boarding school for the rich and talented the crime rocks them to their core, but would either girl have it in her to murder someone?
I’m sad to admit that this novel was not as I expected, instead of a fast paced thriller with various twists and turns that left me in shock I was left with an ‘okay’ novel which used a lot of YA cliches as well as some quite see through plotlines, which was disappointing. At first, I thought I’d really like Nicole in particular, she seemed smart and approachable as a character, but as the novel wore on I felt increasingly frustrated with her and her plot, it just didn’t seem like she carried on as the same character throughout. This was similar with Lana, however, she appeared to be a stereotype rich bitch girl from the beginning, without a lot of depth or vulnerability to her, which was disappointing.
The plot itself could have worked really well but I just felt that it had so many holes in it. If I’m honest I think it would have worked much better as a longer novel, at many times the plot felt too rushed, like it was crammed into the space of a young adult novel and some things which seemed important were almost completely ignored. There’s not a doubt that Monir has good ideas, but I definitely think this would have worked better as a longer novel, simply because there were so many points where I wanted to know more and wanted to explore the characters, their motives and their backgrounds.
I gave this novel 2 stars. I was really excited to read this but unfortunately, it just didn’t show me anything new in the genre. I worked out quite early on what was happening and there were some things within it that just didn’t make sense or just seemed to fall into place too easily in the story. I definitely think that there was potential here but unfortunately, it was too much like other thrillers that I’ve read and didn’t give me anything new to take away from it.
Review by Chloe Metzger