High school can be a killer. Literally in this story by Karen M. McManus. I mean, my time in high school was no walk in the park but I never had to deal with the mysterious death of a classmate…
Five kids walk into detention. Only four walk out. Each of the survivors had their own reasons for wanting Simon dead. Let’s be honest, he wasn’t really a nice person. As the creator of a popular gossip app, his specialty was finding out the deepest darkest secrets and putting them out there for the world to see. But killing him seems to be taking things a bit too far. When everyone’s a suspect, who can you really trust?
A good story, entirely plausible in today’s world of instant gratification and immediate access to all kinds of info good and bad.
Alrighty then. I didn’t expect that! Here’s a small Australian town with an outcast woman living uphill from a burning garbage heap, and the outcast’s daughter coming back after twenty years. For what? I think she misses her mom. Tilly does the good daughter thing, cleans up her incoherent and dysfunctional mother as well as the house she subsists in, and tries to find her place in a town that never wanted her.
And then Tilly starts making beautiful dresses for the townspeople – because she’s a talented pro with haute couture training. And they don’t pay her. And then we find out why Tilly left and why they all hate her so much. Personally I think they hate themselves and take it out on Tilly.
A new dressmaker arrives on Tilly’s heels and seems to turn the town upside down. Maybe her flawed dresses symbolize the townspeople’s real characters: uneven, backwards, trying to be something they’re not.
And from there on the story is a whirlwind of crazy. Affairs, financial ruin, secrets, deaths. I’m not sure how it all happened… I certainly didn’t expect any of it!
It’s dark and grim and clever and funny. And if it’s a mirror of life, it’s downright scary. A smart – and bizarre – read.