When reading the blurb of this book, it reminded me of the 2008 film Wild Child, starring Emma Roberts. It was set in a boarding school and there were catty friendships and backstabbing. It all sounded a bit cliché, to be honest. Boarding schools have this tendency to be portrayed in a very bitchy way… But I decided to give the book a shot anyway because I enjoyed reading Cat Clarke’s The Lost and the Found.
Harper has tried to forget the past and fit in at expensive boarding school Duncraggan Academy. Her new group of friends are tight; the kind of girls who Harper knows have her back. But Harper can’t escape the guilt of her twin sister’s Jenna’s death, and her own part in it – and she knows no one else will ever really understand.
But new girl Kirsty seems to get Harper in ways she never expected. She has lost a sister too. Harper finally feels secure. Then Kirsty’s behaviour becomes more erratic. Why is her life a perfect mirror of Harper’s? And why is she so obsessed with Harper’s lost sister? Soon, Harper’s closeness with Kirsty begins to threaten her other relationships, and her own sense of identity.
First off, let me just say that my favourite character was Rowan. She stood up for her friends, let Harper know when she was in the wrong (which seemed to be all the time), but she knew that friendship was important and couldn’t just let it go like it didn’t mean anything. Harper just seemed … I don’t even know… she just didn’t seem to care about anyone but herself. I know that she was going through a difficult time, I completely understand that, but the way she treated her friends as soon as the new girl came along was horrible. (FYI, new girl is called Kirsty which is fab because I never see my name in anything ??)
I did really like the thrilling atmosphere of it and I found that the storyline wasn’t predictable. I was guessing what was going to happen or what the secrets were, to find out that I couldn’t have been more wrong. However, when we did find out the secrets at the end of the book, I was a little disappointed. I thought the secret would be… more, I guess? I also didn’t really like *minor spoilers ahead* that the girls gave Kirsty a second chance. I mean, c’mon! She ruined everything! She was so manipulative, she was a liar and she was selfish. I’m sorry, but I would not give someone like that a second chance. She nearly tore apart the friendship group with her lies and backstabbing!
“Sometimes I wish they could cut open my brain and scoop out the broken bits”
– Cat Clarke, Girlhood
The one thing that I really did like about this book was the friendship between Harper, Rowan, Lily, and Ama. They knew that it was Rowan and Harper and then Ama and Lily, but that didn’t stop them from being a close-knit, four-person friendship group. I will admit, there were definitely a clash of personalities in there because they were so different from each other. Another thing that I really liked about this book was that Harper was bisexual (and also our protagonist, which you don’t see often in YA!) and then there was also Rowan who was a lesbian. So having that kind of dynamic within a young adult novel was definitely a good thing to see. At times, I got the sense that maybe Rowan liked Harper, but it was never expanded on within the novel.
Overall, this was a thrilling book that I could have enjoyed until the very end if it wasn’t for the slow middle and the ending… But it is a good story about losing someone you love, friendship and family, and even better… THERE IS NO ROMANTIC LOVE INTERESTS! WHOOOO!
Disclaimer: this book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review