Anna and her friends are on what should be an awesome Aruba vacation during their senior spring break. Instead, this adventure begins with a phone call to emergency services, about teens finding a lot of blood and the body of their friend Elise in a bedroom of the beach house they are sharing. Told from Anna’s point of view, the months leading up to this event and the time of the arrest and trial are juxtaposed to help readers piece together what happened. The sinister story builds to a shocking conclusion in this suspense loosely based on events from the news.
"Haas does a great job portraying troubled teens and their opposing points of view in the midst of the facts of the legal case."
The group was enjoying relaxing and partying after college application and school stress. Anna is ready for some quality alone time with serious boyfriend Tate and planning on sharing a room with him in the house. And her best friend Elise wastes no time in hooking up with a local hottie in the first vacation scene.
The story moves quickly back to Anna’s first hearing. She and Tate have been arrested and at the bail hearing, she discovers that Tate’s family has money for bail while she is detained as a flight risk. As the story moves back and forth, Anna reveals that she and Elise became friends after Anna was crying over her mother’s cancer and the other girl offered comfort. The two ditched other friends and school, developing an intense friendship. When Anna got involved with Tate, Elise would make some comments, but Anna did her best to balance her two relationships.
During the trial scenes, it is clear that everyone thinks Anna killed Elise. Her father has to work at home in Boston to raise money for her case. She tried to stand by Tate though they are not a perfect alibi for each other, and the police focus on a few discrepancies in both of their stories. Tate makes a bargain and soon Anna is the only one left to face the charges of stabbing her best friend 13 times, killing her. She does not understand why no one believes she is innocent. The media portrays her as a killer, and even some people from the group are interviewed as saying she and Elise were not getting along.
The shifting of time distorts the story, but soon secrets and betrayals are revealed. Life in prison gets harder, and Anna gets into a fight. A new lawyer and diplomatic employee take up her case, and she worries, knowing she cannot stay in prison even for a reduced sentence.
Haas does a great job portraying troubled teens and their opposing points of view in the midst of the facts of the legal case. Each person in the group has hidden motivations and secrets. Readers may not relate to the self-centered and troubled teens in this group, but the building suspense is skilled and fun to read. The shocking twists at the end will make readers want to go back and reread to piece clues to see if they could figure out who really killed Elise --- and why.
Reviewed by Amy Alessio on July 29, 2013
- Publication Date: July 16, 2013
- Genres: Youth Fiction
- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Simon Pulse
- ISBN-10: 1442486597
- ISBN-13: 9781442486591