*This review is based on an advanced reading copy. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a chance to read the book in exchange for an honest review*
"Goes to show, though, doesn't it?" I find a tissue in my pocket and blow my nose.
"Well, you know, that you never can tell about people."
This is a book that will probably stay with you for a while. A haunting psychological thriller, something that seems to be a story of a manipulative and obsessive girl turns into a manifestation of horrifying actions. When Edie, an attractive and immediately popular girl moves into town, Heather (an overweight and very self-conscious girl) is shocked to have Edie's attention and companionship. The girls bond over their broken home lives and become fast friends. Seemingly normal, right?
Wrong... so very wrong.
This book not only goes between time periods by the chapter, but also by perspectives. FINALLY! An author that creates a story line that actually benefits from a technique that is so overused that I've actually come to resent it. When I first realized that the chapters were broken up to 'before' and 'after' a big event that isn't revealed until the end of the book, I couldn't help but think it was going to be another book that fell flat in my eyes. And then to find out that the before chapters are in Heather's POV and the after in Edie's, I was furious. However, the premise works perfectly to create a mysterious atmosphere and to keep the suspense until the big reveal of what happened to the two girls that caused their irregular behavior and skepticism towards each other.
Both characters are pretty unlikable, which is why I loved them (of course). I found myself sympathizing with Edie for pretty much the entirety of the book. She was a young girl who fell hopelessly in love with the worst kind of boy, Connor.
"I know how it feels to love every inch of someone: eyelashes, earlobes, toenails, the skin and flesh and muscles and veins and bones, every one."
He was abusive, manipulative, and constantly surrounded by his 'friends' and drugs. Edie found herself in the middle of Connor's crappy lifestyle, and found herself trying so hard to show Connor how much she loved him so that he might return the affection. Edie was also very troubled in the 'before' chapters. In the 'after', we find that she is pregnant and gives birth only to suffer from a debilitating mental disorder, postpartum depression. Heather seems to find her at her worst and takes care of both her and the baby.
Heather is something else entirely. She seems like a sweet kid, and just wants people to like her... especially Edie. All she can think of is this new girl and how freely she feels that she can talk to her. So, when Heather sees Edie spiraling out of control at the hands of Connor, she knows she has to do something to help her. 'After', we find that she is possessive and seems to be stalking Edie, but is this really the case?
There are some great secondary characters in here too, specifically Monica. I really just love when authors can give these people such depth and really immerse us in their backstories to show why they are relevant and why we should even care about their stories.
The ending is worth every single time you think 'what happened?' to yourself (which will be quite often). Psychological thriller to the extreme, I cannot give enough praise for the mentality that went behind the creation of this outstanding piece of literature. Highly recommend.