Mantle | May 2018 | 448 pgs
Source: Library

First of all, I want to say this is a dark book which features some heavy and disturbing issues (i.e. pedophilia, rape, abuse and murder). I read through it with a heavy heart due to the subjects and that how a young mind's thinking and a few bad choices could lead to some unexpected consequences. 

Set in a small village in an English countryside during the 90s, this story is about the disappearance and murder of an eleven-year-old girl Billie Brooke. Thera Wilde was her best friend and she is the narrator of this story. 

Before tragedy struck, Thera and Billie loved playing imaginary games; sometimes they would pretend they were detectives and solve cases. At other times, they would simply play with their other friends, Hattie and Poppy, but Thera found them boring and mean. On one occasion Thera played the Ouija board and that was the time she thought she had seen four black dogs and a girl with blonde-brown hair while they were playing near the wheat fields. The thing is, the other girls with her didn't see anything. After Billie disappeared, Thera made it a personal mission to find the truth and this set a chain of events which would change all their lives thereafter. 

Dead Girls isn't your typical crime thriller as it doesn't have that edge-of-your-seat intensity or complex characters whom you might doubt or hate. Well, of course there are some unlikeable characters but this isn't the main focus here. Right from the start, I felt the connection with Thera not because she is the narrator but because of her voice. She has a way of captivating her audience with her speech and thoughts but there are times I found them confusing (or contradictory) as she may seemed to be childish at a time and matured the next. Still, I've to say Thera is both a smart and a fearless girl for an eleven-year-old. Once she set her mind into doing something, she would make sure to follow it and accomplish it in the end. Generally, it sounds like a good thing but Thera's mission is no ordinary task. Her mind is set on finding Billie's murderer and what she did to herself both worried and terrified me. 

I suppose I'd have to be vague about my thoughts from this point on because I've so much to talk about it yet I couldn't to avoid any spoilers. As mentioned, this isn't really a fast-paced thriller but one which focus on character developments, Thera's thoughts and the things which are set in motion through her perspective and her morality. There is a side of paranormal aspect based on Thera's "communications" with the dead girls, but one is never sure if this is only in Thera's head or otherwise. I liked this ambiguity for some reason; and my favourite part is the reminiscence of Thera's childhood when the Tamagotchi (Nano Pets) and the Spice Girls were all the rage during that time. I'd have given this a 5-star rating if not of that ending. That said, I enjoyed this book due to the author's writing and I found it refreshing to feature a young narrator in a crime suspense which is rare in my opinion. 

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12 Responses
  1. Jenny Says:

    I like when darker books are from a kids perspective. Not because I like to see kids in bad places but I love their outlook on said situation.

  2. Mystica Says:

    It sounds particularly dark.

  3. Kay Says:

    I saw something else recently about this book, but can't remember where. It piqued my interest at that time and your review has really cemented it. Sounds like a book I'd read. I'll watch for it and let you know if I read it. :-)

  4. This book sounds so disturbing! I especially care to read about child molestation in books, and tend to avoid them when I can. I don't know if I will read this one, but maybe.

  5. Lark Says:

    A book that focuses on character development? I'm in! :) And I agree with Jenny, I like when books like this are from a kid's perspective. Even when they're a bit dark. Great review, Melody!

  6. Melody Says:

    Jenny - Yes, I find their perspective refreshing.

  7. Melody Says:

    Mystica - It was dark yet the topics are an important one and we should teach our children to be always wary of strangers.

  8. Melody Says:

    Kay - I'll be looking forward to your thoughts if you do read it, Kay.

  9. Melody Says:

    Wendy - Yes, it has a few disturbing topics. I felt so much for the girls, in particularly Thera. It's definitely not a book for everyone; and I'll be curious of your thoughts if you do read it, Wendy.

  10. Melody Says:

    Lark - Yes, this is very much a character-driven book but it is still very much suspenseful, though. I'll be curious of your thoughts if you decided to read it, Lark. :)

  11. jenclair Says:

    It is so frustrating when you have things you want to discuss and get feedback on--and you can't because of spoilers! I also like the ambiguity of the communication. I'm interested in this one!

  12. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - Indeed! I've so much to say about this story yet I couldn't because of that. Hope you'll enjoy this one if you get to it, Jenclair.

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