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People Like Us


People Like Us

When Kay Donovan enters the exclusive Bates Academy, she makes it her mission to reinvent herself. After suffering from a tragic past, losing both her best friend and brother, Kay transforms herself from the outcast of school to the popular girl at her new one. Now, she is the girl the others are trying to emulate at Bates Academy, shining as a star soccer player and captain of the team, with effortless popularity. Yet, this might be nothing but an illusion as one night Kay and her friends find a girl’s body in the school lake and her life slowly begins to unravel.

"Mele’s PEOPLE LIKE US is beautifully written; the descriptions and dialogue capture the reader’s attention as the plot unfolds and secrets begin to unravel."

While it appears that the dead girl died by suicide, the police are skeptical and question the girls’ involvement that found her body in the lake. Shortly after, Kay receives an email from the dead girl instructing Kay to complete a list of tasks for revenge or else her past and her friends’ pasts will be revealed. Desperate to maintain her status at Bates Academy, and keep her past from being revealed, Kay gets tangled up in the tasks and murder mystery investigation.

However, Kay is not the only character with a past to hide. These privileged girls Kay surrounds herself with turn out to all have flawed backgrounds underneath their beauty. They were able to climb to the top of the social scene at Bates by pushing others down, both physically and emotionally. These skeletons in their closet make them all suspects for murder with Kay being the prime suspect. Due to this, Kay begins a clandestine mission to keep the person who is emailing her from revealing everything about her concealed past.

Mele’s PEOPLE LIKE US is beautifully written; the descriptions and dialogue capture the reader’s attention as the plot unfolds and secrets begin to unravel. Unlike most YA novels, she writes her characters as lacking any redeeming qualities, making this story line unique. As a result, all of the characters are plausible suspects, it made it hard as a reader to identify the murderer early on, leading to a page turning fast paced novel. Her characters are a bit unrealistic, but they are compelling and have great depth for YA novels. Even if the reader cannot connect with them, you begin to understand the reason why they behave in the manner in which they do.

Mele also shines a light on the causes and effects of bullying which is not typically explored in YA novels and she incorporates the LGBTQ community as the main character is bi and others are gay. As a reader, I typically tend to stick with YA contemporary novels, but this was a great change of pace, as I was captivated throughout my entire read. The book offers a similar feel to THIRTEEN REASONS WHY and PRETTY LITTLE LIARS, incorporating the story line of the entitled girls of PLL, and the murder mystery of TRW. YA readers who enjoy page turning mysteries or thrillers will not want to miss this novel!

Reviewed by Ryan H., Teen Board Member on February 27, 2018

People Like Us
by Dana Mele