Title: Beware That Girl
Author: Teresa Toten
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: 12th January 2017
Format: ARC e-Book
Note: This book was received from the publisher in return for an honest review
About the book:
For fans of Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars comes a tense thriller of secrets and lies and obsession.
Kate O’Brien has always been known as the scholarship kid, running away from a terrible past and overcoming obstacles, some more sinister than others. She’s determined to make a better life for herself. She deserves it. And at the elite Waverly school, Kate is willing to do whatever it takes to climb the social ladder and land her spot at Yale.
There’s one girl in particular that catches Kate’s eye. Olivia Michelle Sumner, all born blonde and rich and just messed up enough for Kate to latch on to. As for Olivia, she’s a damaged girl, looking to be mended. She finds something promising in Kate. A study buddy. A best friend. A sister she never had. But even a vulnerable girl like Olivia has her own dark past to contend with.
When the handsome and whip-smart Mark Redkin joins the Waverly administration, he manages to woo the whole student body, paying particular attention to Olivia – an affair she very much wants to keep to herself, especially from Kate. And as a man who knows just how to get what he wants, Kate realises that Mark poses a huge threat, in more ways than she is willing to admit.
A deeply twisted YA novel that will have you guessing until the very last line.
What I Thought:
Beware That Girl is set in the corridors of the prestigious Waverly School in New York City. The story is told from two different viewpoints. Both Olivia Sumner and Kate O’Brien are Waverly girls. Olivia is the only daughter of a wealthy businessman, often left alone with the housekeeper in their expensive penthouse apartment while her father is away on business. After taking time off to spend time at an inpatient facility Olivia is now back to re-sit her senior year, and this is when she meets Kate.
Kate O’Brien is the scholarship kid, from the opposite end of the scale to Olivia, her mother soon realised her best shot at a better life came from her education. Her end goal being acceptance to Yale Kate has moved from elite school to elite school, always as the scholarship kid.
The book tells the story of the girls’ journey through their final year, studies, rich kid parties, and the extra curricular activities they need to make their college applications stand out. At the same time filling in information about the girls’ past.
I found the book to be a little misrepresented, I don’t want to give too much of the plot away for anyone going on to read this so forgive me if my reasoning below seems a little vague. The Goodreads blurb for the original edition of Beware That Girl describes it as a powerful psychological thriller. I will agree that Beware That Girl is a thriller, it is full of twists and turns, both Kate and Olivia are manipulative and it will keep you guessing exactly which girl you should beware of. However the book simply wasn’t as dark as I was expecting it to be. I’m not sure if the author held back because this was to be marketed primarily as a YA book. I felt some of the issues in the story were brushed over by the author, in particular I felt the character of Mark Redkin was wasted slightly. If the situations had been explored in further detail I feel that Beware That Girl would have been a better book, as it stands it feels to me as though the author took a serious issue and used it as a simple plot point without really delving into its true impact.
Would I recommend it?
For me it was a fairly quick read and I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it either, maybe because I’m used to reading psychological thrillers marketed primarily at adults and so my expectations in regards to a YA psychological thriller were too dark. If you see it on offer and this is your sort of thing you might want to give it a go.