Thank you NetGalley and Sourcebooks for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
However, unnecessary tropes like the romantic relationship between main characters Mallory and Spencer get take up space where those subjects should have been able to breathe and been explored more in-depth.
Had Mallory and Spencer stayed friends and supported each other through their respective challenges Richards would have the necessary plot space to explore these social constructs raised throughout the story. Instead, essential plot point time is given to to the relationship. This leaves Richard’s no choice but to gloss over the each main character faces on a surface level.
Time taken up by this relationship also distracted readers from the thriller/mystery parts of the story. Often there were unexplainable happenings afoot. Mallory and Spencer could have been at the center of dire situations needing solving due to these threats. However, the book never hits the mark in this area.
Lastly, there is the dialogue. I don’t think it is authentic to teenagers. While I am not trying to paint a broad stroke of teenage dialogue and their vocabulary, there is a certain way in which they speak to each other. Richards does not emulate this in her interactions between Mallory and Spencer.
It is not only more adult in tone, it is more adult intelligentsia in tone. I don’t know many adults who use some of the vocabulary and structure that Mallory and Spencer use in their dialogue.
This is a very original idea and could have been an amazing book with some corrections in plot, structure and dialogue. It could have not only addressed social constructs but did so in truly captivating ways. Unfortunately that didn’t happen because Richards chose to focus on the wrong plot points.