Beware That Girl
Teresa Toten, acclaimed author of THE UNLIKELY HERO OF ROOM 13B, returns with a dark, alluring and mesmerizing novel, BEWARE THAT GIRL.
Secure the scholarship. Schmooze the in-crowd. Eyes on the prize. Katie O’Brien has the routine down. Her own past is riddled with trouble and she’d prefer to work hard, get by however she can and get to Yale, the ultimate goal, just like she promised her mom. But when she arrives at Waverly, her usual plan hits a snag --- Olivia, the token rich girl, the one Katie planned to milk for all the money she’s worth. She’s got problems of her own, and Katie quickly starts to care for her for more than just her bank account.
As Olivia and Katie grow closer, they share secrets until each girl feels like she’s found a sister more than a friend, and their relationship stops being one entirely of convenience. But underneath it all lies more treachery than either had ever anticipated.
Enter Mark, Waverly’s new Fundraising Director --- and maybe someone even more sinister. As Olivia gets closer to Mark, Katie’s intuition about him worsens. Soon it seems that Mark is a danger to Olivia and Katie’s friendship. But as the girls find themselves pulled in deeper, they begin to realize that Mark could be dangerous, period. How can Katie risk her past, her road to Yale and her newfound status to save Olivia? More important, how can she not?
“[BEWARE THAT GIRL] is a psychologically thrilling, largely well-written book that stays chillingly fascinating until the final revelation.”
BEWARE THAT GIRL is full of mystery and underlying suspense, and as the hidden layers of the story reveal themselves, you’ll be left wondering if there’s anyone you can really trust. Both girls’ narrations are compelling and enigmatic, aloof enough to stay cryptic until the end, but just vulnerable enough to stay interesting throughout. Katie, especially, is a fresh voice in a slew of cookie-cutter YA narrators: damaged but intelligent, deceitful yet genuine. Although their stories are frequently far from believable, the plotline works when the characters’ emotions ring true. As a reader, I found myself increasingly invested in the wellbeing of both Kate and Olivia, as well as in the survival of their friendship. Even more so, I was captivated until the last page, eager to finally discover what was real.
The story as a whole is admittedly unrealistic, but the grandiose nature of the setting, characters and plot makes up in entertainment for what is lost in credibility. The gargantuan plot twists and convoluted backstories fit right in with the overblown and elaborate lives of the Waverly elite, and whatever you think, you never know the truth until it finally comes to light.
BEWARE THAT GIRL might not live up to the GONE GIRL model, but it is, nonetheless, a psychologically thrilling, largely well-written book that stays chillingly fascinating until the final revelation --- a fusion of mystery, drama and thrill, that will leave you puzzling over all its intricacies long after you’ve turned the last page.
Reviewed by Laura T., Teen Board Member on May 24, 2016