Throwaway Girls by Andrea Contos. KCP Loft, 2020. 9781525303142
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
What did you like about the book? Caroline’s best friend, Madison, has gone missing, and her girlfriend, Willa, left her. Her heart is broken about Willa and feeling guilty that she and Madison didn’t share secrets about their last few months. When Caroline realizes that other girls in the area have gone missing as well, she embarks on a frantic quest to find out if there’s a connection. She is still traumatized by her parents’ attempts at denying her sexuality (Caroline was near suicide at one point), including sending her to a conversion camp, so she doesn’t trust them with her feelings. In fact, the only person she does trust is her teacher, but he has just been arraigned as a suspect in the disappearances.
This is a taut, suspenseful read, and the suspense is amped up by the two narrators, one of whom is a mystery. The ambiance is kept dark by the terrible spring weather of the Maryland setting, with sleet and rain chilling many outdoor scenes. Questions of trust (can Caroline trust any of her friends?), abuse (was Willa abused by here mother’s boyfriends?), drug abuse (Willa’s mother), and poverty (the area around Caroline’s posh private high school has much income disparity) add to the tension, not to mention, the casual attitude of the local police about missing girls. Readers will have a hard time putting this one down, and although my guess as to who the abductor is was right, the journey gave my heart and soul a good work out.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No
To whom would you recommend this book? For high schoolers who crave dark thrillers, especially with LGBTQ characters.
Who should buy this book? High school and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Fiction
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: November 25, 2020