Chloe Green is so close to winning. After her moms moved her from SoCal to Alabama for high school, she’s spent the past four years dodging gossipy classmates and a puritanical administration at Willowgrove Christian Academy. The thing that’s kept her going: winning valedictorian. Her only rival: prom queen Shara Wheeler, the principal’s perfect progeny.
But a month before graduation, Shara kisses Chloe and vanishes.
On a furious hunt for answers, Chloe discovers she’s not the only one Shara kissed. There’s also Smith, Shara’s longtime quarterback sweetheart, and Rory, Shara’s bad boy neighbor with a crush. The three have nothing in common except Shara and the annoyingly cryptic notes she left behind, but together they must untangle Shara’s trail of clues and find her. It’ll be worth it, if Chloe can drag Shara back before graduation to beat her fair-and-square.
Thrown into an unlikely alliance, chasing a ghost through parties, break-ins, puzzles, and secrets revealed on monogrammed stationery, Chloe starts to suspect there might be more to this small town than she thought. And maybe—probably not, but maybe—more to Shara, too.
Thank you to the publisher for an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
First off; I still love RW&RB more than anything McQuiston’s written since. Saying that, as their first foray into YA, this book read way more to the adult end. There isn’t anything in here resembling adult content, but it has the feel of an adult book written about teenagers and there is nothing wrong with that.
In fact, I love McQuiston’s writing. It’s fabulous. They truly have a gift for writing, and reading each page was a general pleasure. Even during some of the parts that I struggled with. And that’s just because I don’t enjoy YA contemporary that much anymore, but McQuiston’s name was on it, therefore I had to read it.
Overall, I think the book was good. It had themes that are going to resonate with each other, and as with all their books there was a bunch of diversity and pretty much the entire cast of characters were queer. I think this is really going to appeal to teens who seek to see themselves represented in places where it seems the most unlikely.
This shows how it feels to grow up in a very religious area who do not like anything different and still have racism embedded in the everyday life. But it also shows that there are people who are different from that; and that not everybody who lives there is terrible, and I think that is so important for teens who feel isolated or that they’re the only ones who feel like that.
I think this was a powerful book and is going to be very popular and become well loved. It was well written and touches on important topics in a way that meshes well with the story.
I think my only major complaints are that sometimes I felt the characters were a little flat, and that the pacing/plot of the story was a little awkward. But it was an enjoyable read.