From the author of The Darkest Lie comes a compelling, provocative story for fans of I Was Here and Vanishing Girls, about a high school senior straddling two worlds, unsure how she fits in either—and the journey of self-discovery that leads her to surprising truths.
In her small Kansas town, at her predominantly white school, Kanchana doesn’t look like anyone else. But at home, her Thai grandmother chides her for being too westernized. Only through the clothing Kan designs in secret can she find a way to fuse both cultures into something distinctly her own.
When her mother agrees to provide a home for a teenage girl named Shelly, Kan sees a chance to prove herself useful. Making Shelly feel comfortable is easy at first—her new friend is eager to please, embraces the family’s Thai traditions, and clearly looks up to Kan. Perhaps too much. Shelly seems to want everything Kanchana has, even the blond, blue-eyed boy she has a crush on. As Kan’s growing discomfort compels her to investigate Shelly’s past, she’s shocked to find how it much intersects with her own—and just how far Shelly will go to belong…
Pintip Dunn already proved she has talent in the thriller genre with her previous book, The Darkest Lie. She continues to show off in this new novel worthy of her developing reputation.
She has a way of taking those oh so dramatic young years and turning them into a thrilling time that will grab your attention and hold it til the end. I binged through this and found her examination into the yin and yang of human behavior added this dark spookiness to her story. Her writing quality has a way of tapping into this subconscious part where we all hide our fear of the darkness in others.
I loved Kan and the way Dunn wrote her I kept rooting for her triumph because she’s this innately good person who deserves better. Of course it had the requisite ‘hot’ romance practically every YA novel adds to be a part of the genre.
One of my favorite parts though is the diversity as it’s the first book I’ve read where the main character is Thai. Dunn did a great job writing a storyline that showed how her character lives in a predominantly Caucasian world but it was done with respect to the culture so you find yourself drawn to Kan rather than feeling irritated at stereotypes.
If you’re a huge thriller genre buff you’re probably going to figure a few things out before they get revealed and since the story was mainly about the interaction between 2 girls I would’ve liked to see more from the second’s (Shelly) perspective to get inside her head more.
Speaking of side characters – Ethan? You’re going to love him or hate him. Something about him reminded me a bit of Edward from Twilight with that oh so perfect, Victorian era like romantic thing about him.
Thank you to Netgalley and Kensington Books for allowing me to review this book.
*synopsis and pic from netgalley.com