People Like Us by Dana Mele (2018)
YA Fiction | Contemporary | Mystery
“Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but the past is past, and she’s reinvented herself entirely. Now she’s a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl’s body is found in the lake, Kay’s carefully constructed life begins to topple.
The dead girl has left Kay a computer-coded scavenger hunt, which, as it unravels, begins to implicate suspect after suspect, until Kay herself is in the crosshairs of a murder investigation. But if Kay’s finally backed into a corner, she’ll do what it takes to survive. Because at Bates Academy, the truth is something you make…not something that happened.”
pooled ink Review:
A good YA mystery for sure if that’s your preferred genre. I’m always up to read a good mystery so I did enjoy this one, but I dunno, I’m sort of done with all these murders in boarding schools and all the endless drama that goes with it. But cliché premise aside, yeah this was quite the twister!
Evil popular rich girls, elite boarding school, revenge, murder, betrayal, DRAMA. If that is your preferred menu then rest assured for this book serves them all with excellence. A nobody is found dead in the lake, apparent suicide, but it isn’t long before this shocking discovery quickly turns best friends and school queens against one another as Kay receives an email with a website link blackmailing her into exposing her besties’ dark secrets or forfeit her own.
To start off, I can’t honestly say I liked any of the characters. Maybe Greg? Otherwise they were all pretty terrible (or ridiculous) people so I wasn’t exactly rooting for any of them (tearing people down like it’s a sport, doping, cheating, pettiness, playing mind games sometimes even with just theirselves and creating endless unnecessary drama, etc). But that makes sense when everyone accused of murder has legitimate ties to the dead girl, and they’re not friendly ones. But yes, Kay, her friends, her acquaintances, her exes, her peers, her teachers, the school staff, even the investigating police officer and the victims…they’re all the worst and I didn’t like them haha. It was entertaining to watch the mystery unfold but they weren’t getting any sympathy from me.
Regardless of not liking anyone in this book the plot was really well mapped out. Plenty of twists and turns, lots of morbid thrill with the revenge website’s tasks, doubt and suspicion amongst many plausible candidates. The killer did seem a bit…easy to guess? But the story was definitely written well enough to keep one uncertain and there were still surprises in the full Why? and How? of it all.
Oh the ending was interesting too. A bit open-ended. I sort of hate when writers do that because I’m the type of person who likes to know, but I’ll just have to satisfy myself with my own theories on Kay Donovan’s fate. (Her own backstory is like a sub-plot mystery that slowly unfolds and comes to light, keeping the stark truth hidden up until the very end and it’ll shock you when you read it. It’s one of the surprises that this book actually had for me.)
Umm…yeah, weirdly I’m short of words haha. It was a good fun murder mystery so if that’s what you’re looking for then definitely check this one out! I just can’t give it full stars because personally I’m tired of the clichés it’s built upon (murder, horrible popular rich girls, posh boarding school…). But like I said, even with those not being my favorite parts of this book I still enjoyed reading this and read through it crazy fast absolutely captivated by reaching the end and finding out the Who Dunnit?.
People Like Us takes well worn mystery clichés and paints it up with a freshness that will keep you captivated until you’ve read every detail. Fast-paced, ever twisting, and riddled with more than one murder and mystery noosing the characters, this is a must read for YA and mystery fans alike.
Purchase Here: People Like Us
Meet Dana Mele!
Dana Mele is a Pushcart-nominated writer and a work at home mother. A graduate of Wellesley College, she is a former actor, lawyer, musician, and briefly, associate producer. She prefers tea to coffee, snow to sand, and stars to sunshine, and she lives in the Catskills with her husband and toddler.