Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
What did you like about the book? Not since We Were Liars by e. Lockhart have I been as shocked by the end of a book! Without giving away the secret, let’s just say that this one goes somewhere completely unexpected and reveals the narrator is unreliable at the last moment — but it works.
Ruthie is devastated but struggling to emote after her mother’s accidental death on a hiking trip in Portland, Oregon. She’s sent to live with her father in Anchorage, Alaska, whom she hasn’t seen in five years since she and her mother left him for being an abusive alcoholic. He’s sober now and remarried with a stepdaughter who immediately befriends Ruthie. Upon Ruthie’s arrival, she’s surprised and upset to find out that her best friend from childhood, Zahra, has gone missing. As Ruthie gets pulled into a search for her friend, dark secrets emerge about Zahra and Ruthie’s past. Zahra is biracial and her boyfriend is Indigenous; race is a realistic part of the story. Donaldson manages to make readers care deeply about Ruthie’s search for Zahra and then flips the entire story on its head at exactly the right moment to reveal a horrific secret. Best read in one sitting with all the lights on!
To whom would you recommend this book? Students who like twisty thrillers!
Anything you didn’t like about it? Not really.
Who should buy this book? All high school libraries
Where would you shelve it? Mystery
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Laura Gardner, Dartmouth Middle School, Dartmouth, MA
Date reviewed: November 12, 2019