Synopsis: Keep your enemies close, but your friends closer.
Olivia Clayton has mastered the art of tearing others down to stay on top. She and her best friend, Adrienne, rule their small southern town like all good mean girls do–through intimidation and manipulation.
After Olivia suffers a family tragedy and catches Adrienne sleeping with her boyfriend, Olivia is over it. She decides to make a change–but it’s impossible to resist taking Adrienne down one last time. Up to her old tricks, Olivia convinces golden boy Whit DuRant to be her SAT tutor and her fake boyfriend. But when it starts to feel real, Whit gets caught up in Olivia and Adrienne’s war.
Olivia may ruin everything she touches, but this time she won’t go down without a fight–not if it means losing Whit.
And definitely not if it means losing what’s left of herself.
Review: DNF at page 166 (in ARC)
I really tried to get through the book, but the story wasn’t working for me. Usually, I’m not a reader of teen drama, at least if it’s not accompanied by superpowers and/or magical creatures, but I won this in a giveaway and figured I’d give it a shot.
At the beginning, I found the relationship between Olivia and Adrienne rather interesting. It shows a toxic friendship that doesn’t just affect the girls in the relationship, but nearly everyone around them. On top of that, there was quite a bit of slut shaming and the typical girls tearing each other down. There is a very cliché hierarchy of power and popularity among the students at Buckley High School. Part of the reason I was hanging on to the book was because of my hope that at the end someone would call them out on this and maybe they would realize it and try to fix themselves, but then I got further into the book.
Olivia decides to use fellow student Whit DuRant not only for SAT tutoring but as a fake boyfriend to get back at Adrienne for sleeping with Olivia’s now-ex, Ethan. The premise seemed trite to me, but I figured that maybe there would be a twist that kept it interesting. Unfortunately, I didn’t find such a thing. The only aspect that makes this book different from others with similar plots is that it features a lesbian character as Olivia’s other best friend. And I genuinely think it’s just coincidence that she, Claire, was really the only character I liked. For once it wasn’t because she was the sole LGBT+ character but because she was the only character that I didn’t cringe at once in a while.
Speaking of cringe-y characters, Olivia and Whit’s entire relationship, at least up to the point that I read, was hard to read. They didn’t click at all, but they’re supposed to fall in love later in the book? Maybe I didn’t read far enough to get to the good stuff.
See, I’m still holding out hope for this book.
I may come back to it later, but I have so many other books I want to read, and I don’t want this book glaring at me from my nightstand anymore, sorry.
Final thought: If you’re about dating drama and teens using each other, this book is for you. It just didn’t keep me eager to find out what happened next.
Thank you to Fierce Reads for providing me an ARC through a giveaway.