Teresa Toten is the author of a remarkable book I have previously reviewed, The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B. This novel is quite different in style and substance.
Toten certainly knows how to use plot twist in creative ways. The book veered off into unpredictable situations that built the tension of this psychological thriller exponentially. The first third of the book was rather slow but the last third was riveting.
Toten reveals just enough about the two main characters, Olivia and Kate, to build our curiosity and suspense as the story progresses. These girls are in their senior year and aiming for Yale University. We know that something has happened to both these girls to damage them deeply in different ways. We know that they are both keeping secrets. We know that they are both afraid. We know that something isn’t quiet right with the handsome Mr. Mark Redkin who takes an interest in them.
The author cleverly reveals snippets of Kate’s life that makes us question whether she is the hero or the villain in this drama. She uses people. Does she care for them at all? The answer is as complex as the plot itself.
My major criticism of this book would be that the dialogue clunks in places and seems artificial and flat at times. As well, there are moments when the point of view is muddied. Although this is a suspense novel, character plays a major role and believable dialogue is essential. The two brilliant girls did made some very stupid choices.
Although it doesn’t have the genius of 13B, I think this would make a great suspense movie with the right script writer and director. All in all, it was a very enjoyable read.