People Like Us by Dana Mele

People Like Us by Dana MelePeople Like Us by Dana Mele
Narrator: Erin Spencer
Published by Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Published on 27 February 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Thriller, United States, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Source: my local library
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RRP: $19.99
5 Stars

Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but the past is past, and she's reinvented herself entirely. Now she's a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl's body is found in the lake, Kay's carefully constructed life begins to topple.

The dead girl has left Kay a computer-coded scavenger hunt, which, as it unravels, begins to implicate suspect after suspect, until Kay herself is in the crosshairs of a murder investigation. But if Kay's finally backed into a corner, she'll do what it takes to survive. Because at Bates Academy, the truth is something you make...not something that happened.

Going in to this book, I didn’t know is was sapphic, and to be honest, the blurb doesn’t hint at it very much. In fact, I put off borrowing this audiobook from my library for a few weeks because I assumed it would be a usual hetero-style romance thing, which it most definitely was not. And I’m so glad! I’ve been trying to read more widely in the YA Mystery/Thriller genre since I discovered my love for it a few months ago, and I’m so pleased that this book has become one of my favourites in the genre so far. It is a casually queer boarding school scavenger hunt murder mystery. How awesome is that?

What I think I liked most about this – besides the obvious ‘whodunnit and why’ aspect wrapped up in a Mean Girls-style revenge plot – was the casual queerness of many of the characters. There was plenty of drama and angst, but absolutely none of it was tied up in sexuality, and I absolutely loved that. These girls were comfortable with who they were and there was no crisis around their sexuality. It was totally normalised that the lead character liked girls and boys. There were no labels.

At first there seemed to be a lot of characters and dynamic character relationships and motivations to keep track of, and that made things a little confusing, but like any good horror film, they were picked off one by one. Even though the characters did really mean, awful things, I never really thought of them as bad guys. I even thought the eventual villain was too obvious to be the actual villain, and kept trying to pick more obscure targets. It’s because I liked them all so much, but I also think it was because there were legit no red herrings. Mele wasn’t trying to lead us in one direction only to merrily throw in a twist about who the big bad might be. I dunno, it seemed kind of refreshing? I’m a newbie to YA Mystery/Thrillers, but I’m often fooled by red herrings (I am too trusting of my authors, y’all), so it was nice o throw that in and mix things up a little.

I think it was really fun trying to figure out who did what and Mele revealed every twist at the perfect time, which is why I don’t want to say much more and spoil anything!

The best thing about this book? There might be a sequel!


About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo has a degree in English Literature and specialises in reviewing contemporary, paranormal, mystery/thriller, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She is especially drawn to novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, and assassins.

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