I received a free digital ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 4.5 Stars
I will tell you straightaway that the only reason I am not giving this book five stars is because the vocabulary was off for everyone at various times. I suspected very early on that the author is from the UK, based on random phrases, and sure enough when I took a look, I was correct. The author is from Scotland. I love Scotland, it is my fave country in the whole world. But teenagers from NYC hanging out on Long Island for the summer should speak like teenagers from NYC, not from the UK. It honestly got very distracting, and this is coming from someone who is a bonafied Anglophile. I am not sure why these words and phrases were overlooked throughout the book, there are so many instances of them occurring and I wish now I had documented them all. There were quite a lot and an editor should have made the changes, or the story should have taken place in the UK.
Now, onto the good stuff, because this was a really great story and I didn't want to put it down.
Louise and Peter have two high schoolers, Katie and James. Each summer the family heads to their beach house for some relaxation. However, this year Isa is joining them, Katie's best friend. This worries Lousie from the start, though she can't exactly say what it is about Isa that she feels is so dangerous. Even Katie was not enthusiastic about Isa coming along, but along she goes anyway, and does not return home alive.
Isa is not meant to be likable. None of the main characters - Louise, Katie, Isa - are actually very unlikable, truth be told. But that is the draw, they are all human and flawed in one way or another. The story is told from alternating view points of mother and daughter. Louise wondering how to protect her family from whatever trouble Isa will bring, and Katie constantly living in the shadow of her gorgeous best friend.
Both Isa and Louise have secrets. I really thought this would play into the story on a much bigger level than it did. So, this book wins the prize for stumping me. Louise was there the night Isa died, but not directly involved. That's all I can really say without giving more away.
Despite not being likable, it was easy to see that Isa was really just a lost little girl who needed her mom and dad to actually be parents, to pay attention to her and give her the love she needed and craved. All of Isa's behaviors stemmed from the dysfunction at home, her father's affair, her parents blindness to Isa's behaviors as they planned their second honeymoon and dumped their only child off on another family. Isa might have been a spoiled brat, but she deserved better than the ending she came to, drowning just feet from the end of summer bash at the beach where she had partied all season.
This book would be a full five stars if not for the language issues mentioned at the beginning. Highly recommended.