Published by Simon Pulse
Published on 5 July 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Source: my local library
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The New York Times bestselling “taut, sophisticated thriller” (BCCB, starred review) packed with twists and turns that will leave you breathless.
They say Delia burned herself to death in her stepfather’s shed. They say it was suicide.
But June doesn’t believe it.
June and Delia used to be closer than anything. Best friends in that way that comes before everyone else—before guys, before family. It was like being in love, but more. They had a billion secrets, binding them together like thin silk cords.
But one night a year ago, everything changed. June, Delia, and June’s boyfriend Ryan were just having a little fun. Their good time got out of hand. And in the cold blue light of morning, June knew only this—things would never be the same again.
And now, a year later, Delia is dead. June is certain she was murdered. And she owes it to her to find out the truth…which is far more complicated than she ever could have imagined.
Sexy, dark, and atmospheric, Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls will keep you guessing until the very last page.
This was an odd book. The blurb was a bit vague, so I had a pre-conceived notion of the plot before I went in. As it turns out, the plot in the first half of the book was exactly what I’d expected and wanted: a kind of murder mystery, conspiracy-theory whodunnit.
Then the second half happened and it took the book in a completely different, unexpected direction (which is good!).
So I guess that yes, I did enjoy it while I was reading it. I liked how utterly suggestable June, the main character was. She was so easy to manipulate, but she never had any awareness of that, so that was fun to watch her stumble around like a week old kitten, seeking comfort and sustenance from anyone who would take her.
I also liked seeing her friendship with the dead girl. A lot of this relationship was told in flashbacks, so we got to see moments leading up to the alleged suicide. Female friendship is fierce, and I do like very strong plutonic friendship, but I feel that this friendship dropped lots of hints and blurred a lot of lines without committing to anything. Readers identifying as LGBTQI trying to identify themselves in this novel might read into the relationship depicted, but ultimately also might come away unsatisfied. It’s all in how you choose to interpret it.
This was the kind of novel told in a vague enough way that you can never know for certain who did what. It cleverly cuts away from characters telling the truth, so that you might never know what really happened. I mean, is the teenage girl telling the truth about getting an abortion, because it appears that she only had sex two weeks ago? Or did she take a morning after pill and big it up, which is totally within character? Because of this unreliable narration, I’m at a loss for what motivates certain characters to act in certain ways. That being said, being unable to trust anyone lent a certain air of suspense that I enjoyed.
I also had a bit of an issue with these teenagers all acting like middle-aged adults. The main character likes to drive to clear her mind, but she doesn’t have a job and comes from a poor, single-income family, so I have no idea how she manages to afford petrol, and only know that she ‘saved up’ to buy her own car, but I’m not sure how she managed that with no job. The dramas created all seemed like really adult situations, but I do admit that there are teens that thrive on that sort of drama, so it’s not unrealistic. It just feels little out of place.
The ending was left open to interpretation, but due to the hints left in the narrative and the title, I’ve made up my mind – although initially, I thought the opposite.
I think it’s a good thing that this novel leaves you thinking about it afterwards, but I’m sure there will be people that disagree and just want a story told without so much misdirection.
Ultimately if you just want a good, quick murder mystery, then this might not be the book for you. If you’re after a book that forces you to think, you might enjoy this more. I enjoyed it while I read it, but I have no desire to do so again. To me, it left too many unanswered questions.