My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Taking a break from her taut crime series, Lisa Scottoline spins a melodramatic tale about six members of a high school clique, whose lives will be forever changed by their reckless behavior on one summer night. Their story is related by Allie Garvey, a shy, socially awkward girl reeling from the recent death of her beloved older sister. The opening sections of the book set the stage for the cataclysm that overtakes the group, which produces the ghastly secret that they swear to keep forever.
The long aftermath of the disaster continues to be narrated by the now thirty-something Allie, married and working as a child advocate. She has never been able to forgive herself for the disaster, which she cannot relate even to her husband or therapist. When the clique gathers once again at the funeral of one of the members, it becomes evident that they too have had to deal with significant emotional fallout. They begin to regard each other with deep suspicion, and other secrets come to light. Pressures build, and one of the members is determined to see to it that they all respect their oath of silence.
Scottolini’s writing is competent, as ever, but many of the scenes are histrionic. You’d expect that from the high schoolers, but meeting them twenty years later, it seems they haven’t matured much. Apparently the trauma experienced at age 15 stunted their psychological development. One of them comes across as a psychopath, others as completely self centered, but their representation as mid-teenagers was authentic. There was enough action in this book to keep me reading till the end, however, and it was worth it for the last minute surprise that I never saw coming.
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