Saturday, April 22, 2023

Today's read... Going Dark by Melissa de la Cruz

Today's read is one I've been looking forward to diving into but couldn't get to until now (so many books, so little time!) This one came out end of January and promises tons of thrills and tension pure. The characters are in college, which does make me wonder if it works as a YA read, but I've been told that it does and that's enough for me...because this one does look exciting. 

by Melissa de la Cruz
Union Square Kids
YA Thriller
338 pages

In this ripped-from-the-headlines Gone Girl meets A Good Girl's Guide to Murder, #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz weaves a white-knuckle YA thriller about a beautiful young influencer who vanishes after going on vacation with her boyfriend.


The Influencer
Amelia Ashley shares everything with her followers – her favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurants, her best fashion tips, and her European trip-of-a-lifetime with her hot boyfriend.

The Boyfriend
Josh has no choice but to return home without Amelia after she abandons him in Rome. He has no clue where she went or how her blood got in his suitcase. Why won’t anyone believe him?

The Hacker
To Harper Delgado, Amelia Ashley is just another missing white girl whipping up a media frenzy. But with each digital knot she untangles about the influencer, Harper wonders: who is Amelia Ashley?

The Other Girl
Two years ago, another girl went missing, one who never made headlines or had a trending hashtag.

The Truth
Amelia’s disappearance has captured the world’s attention. What comes next? Watch this space…

Told through a mixture of social media posts, diary entries, and firsthand accounts, Going Dark is a gripping, suspenseful thriller about all the missing girls who fall off the radar, perfect for true crime fans and readers of One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus.

GOODREADS  /   B&N   /   KOBO   /   AMAZON


Reminding, in some ways, of the recent missing case surrounding Gaby Petito, this is a dark and thrilling delve into murderers, victims, and the cloak social media provides.

In a short time, Amelia has it all. She's not only reached near celebrity status with her restaurant review blog, but she has an amazing relationship with her boyfriend, Josh. So, the last thing anyone expects is for her to suddenly to missing. Josh returned from their dream trip to Europe alone and doesn't even realize Amelia has disappeared until he's hit by a social media storm. He has no idea where she is but knows that everyone expects him to, especially since they were supposed to take the return flight together. He's innocent and plans on cooperating with the police, but it soon becomes clear that he's the main suspect...that is, if there was a murder. Amelia's body, evidence of her death, or even clear evidence of violence is nowhere to be found, but that doesn't keep suspicion away. Plus, there's more at play than meets the eye. A dangerous game has begun, and no one is as innocent as they seem. Not even close.

Weaving and twisting around secrets and lies, nothing in this story is as it appears. Social media provides the first layer of shadows, illustrating how created, false fronts can be used to manipulate and deceive. This hits close to home and already brings an uncomfortable familiarity, but it doesn't stop there. The author lets the more traditional form of deception also mix in, and that with vicious cleverness. Add mental illness, and the truth is warped in every form. 

While this takes place in the characters' college years, it is very fitting for the young adult audience. There's nothing inappropriate, and the situations still ring true. The plot is enhanced with blog, email, text, and even diary excerpts. The timeline does bounce around a bit thanks to flashbacks told from various points of view, and these also build the tension while exposing the lies, little-by-little and one at a time. The reader is kept guessing but also hits the emotional side of the characters as the mental end gains clout. I did find myself skimming through more than a few paragraphs of Amelia's going-ons and, later, even some from Josh. But then, I had a little trouble connecting with the characters, anyway. Still, it'd be wrong to say I didn't enjoy the read. Once the stage was set, I had to know what had happened to Amelia, what had truly set off the string of events, and what horrible secrets several characters were hiding. It's a book that demands to be read until the end...and even that exposes something very unexpected.

And here she is...

Melissa de la Cruz is the #1 New York Times, #1 Publishers Weekly, and #1 IndieBound bestselling author of Isle of the Lost and Return to the Isle of the Lost, as well as many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for readers of all ages. Her books have also topped the USA TODAY, Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times bestseller lists and have been published in more than twenty countries. Today she lives in Los Angeles with her family.

1 comment:

Natalie Aguirre said...

I really like thrillers so I might check this one out. Though I worry a bit that you skimmed a few parts that it drags a bit. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book.