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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Review: Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

How come this book is so perplexing?

Title: Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
Release Date: August 1st 2013
Published by: Simon & Schuster UK
Source: Publisher
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository


It's Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives. But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations.

As Anna sets out to find her friend's killer; she discovers hard truths about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love.

As she awaits the judge's decree, it becomes clear that everyone around her thinks she is not just guilty, but dangerous. When the truth comes out, it is more shocking than one could ever imagine...

Anna, whose family's business was just taking off, was an outcast in her new school. Aside from being new, she wasn't as rich as everyone was. Until Elise came along, and all of a sudden they're inseparable, bonded together by all the things they did that challenged anyone and everyone, far from the normal house life they both have. But Elise was killed, and now Anna's the prime suspect. As the trial gets underway, Anna finds out who her real friends are and who aren't, trapped and alone in a foreign country, and for the first time, Anna takes a good look at her friendship with Elise, the good, the bad and the ugly side of it. What was true and what wasn't?

I am so torn between love and hate for a lot of characters and happenings in this book. Where I should feel pity or at least a semblance of it for Ana, I was apathetic instead. I understand what she had to go through, new kid from a newly rich family, trying to find her way through a place filled with kids from old money but her overall attitude and the actions she took made it very difficult for me to understand her as a person. I kept on asking myself "why, Ana?" countless of times. Too caught up in a destructive, toxic friendship to be aware of what really happens until it was too late. Was Anna a doormat? Too weak? Too trusting? It felt like she was the receiving end of her so called friends spite, envy and anger, all forms of it and the bad thing was she wasn't very nice herself and it's not like those things weren't warranted.

Elise is the sort of character who I instantly disliked. She's the type to self-destruct yet still be mysterious enough to hold some very terrible secrets of her own. Her beauty comes from the dangerous, intriguing, dark edge in her personality, the type you couldn't resist. Elise had a very twisted idea on what friendship is between her and Anna. Was it even friendship? Was there something more underneath that? They needed each other to get through the tough times of their lives but she still had enough in her to betray the person she claims she needed the most. I wanted to get inside her head, if only to know what drives her to do what she's doing. What a very disturbing character.

What kind of a spineless person is Tate? I kept feeling bad for Anna for falling for a person like him. Didn't she see what he truly looked like? Lamar was the only decent person in her string of so-called friends, one who I felt Anna should have given a chance instead. AK and Mel, I can't even begin to comprehend how much jealousy and envy they must feel to turn against Anna. I kept on feeling that those were not just spur of the moment, but a deep rooted hate for Anna for taking away Elise, for putting the blame on the most convenient person in their circle of friends. You get to see just how ugly everything can be when dark emotions take root in people's hearts.

Lies, betrayal, murder. As Anna goes through every single party, conversation, fights leading to the night of Elise's murder we see the motivation behind each of the characters. It doesn't end with her elite circle of friends, but there are also those in Aruba that might want Elise dead which adds to the complexity and mystery of the murder itself. You get to see what money can do for the rich, how corrupt officials can be and how the justice system can be compromised, and how hope as well as the perseverance to reveal the truth can change everything. Not everyone in Dangerous Girls is unpleasant. Gates and Lee were two of the most admirable characters in this book. They didn't have any obligation to help Anna, but they were there for her in her darkest moments. As if that wasn't enough to complicate the story, the role of the media in sensationalizing things are also felt in this story. I honestly think the way it was portrayed was truthful and spot on, as if Anna was the star of a dark reality show that anyone can just examine and form opinions of the way they want to.

The allure in Dangerous Girls comes from the waiting what fate awaits Anna. Alone in a foreign land, a primary suspect in her bestfriend's murder. While she was fighting to stay sane and re-evaluate her friendship with Elise, she was being typecasted as a psychopath at home, a cold blooded murderer. The emotions Anna felt were palpable and engrossing, it wraps around you, that feeling of despair and helplessness, the what-ifs, the bits and pieces of realization that not everything is as they seem, the injustice. Here is a teenage girl being tried for something she said she has not done, in a foreign country, where everything was done the wrong way from the onset. But then doubt stars to creep in, and you start rethinking and analyzing everything you have read to try and figure out just really what was the truth and what wasn't. My lack of emotion for the dismal behavior of the characters were compensated by how emotionally invested I was in the very story itself. It was a very, very good thriller.

I still insist that you give this book a try, no matter how unpleasant the characters can get. The ending, ultimately messed up my mind but Abigail Haas did a good job in exploring just how deep the ties of friendship between two people can get and how grim court battles can be. I always loved brain teasers and Dangerous Girls provided enough of that, urging readers to re-think their own ideals and perception of people.

Content (plot, story flow, character):
Can someone please explain to me what happened when Anna visited Elise's grave? Because I really don't get it. It made me think if she was truly guilty or not. And just to clear things up, if Anna and Elise did have something more than friendship, I just want to be clear that it's perfectly fine. What I didn't like was the psychological and sometimes physical abuse and violence that seem to surround their friendship that Anna might not even be aware she was getting. She didn't even do anything about it.
Okay: Liked, but The Goddess demands more!

Book Cover:
I think this cover fits the imagery of the story better than the US one.


  1. So... I just found out that Abigail Haas is Abby Mcdonald! I've only ever read one book by her but I definitely enjoyed her writing! I have to read Dangerous Girls soon! The book sounds really engrossing.. it's nice that you were emotionally invested in the story. And I like this cover design so much better than the US one- I'll surely be on the look out for this at the book store!

    1. Yep! I've only read 1 of her other books too, which was good so my expectations for this one was pretty high. The story was fine, it's just that the characters are too annoying for me.

  2. This doesn't sound like something I'd enjoy. I have to like the characters instantly or I won't suffer through the entire book. At least you found some positive in it.

    Thanks for the honesty!

    1. The story got me through the entire thing, but yeah, it's hard to like any of the characters. I just wish they were a wee bit more likable so I could've enjoyed this more.

  3. Wow, absolutely fantastic blog. I am very glad to have such useful information.

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