This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Max Cantrell's life just got a little better. It all started with a lie to get himself into detention. That lie showed the possibility to profit off of similar lies. Suddenly Max, Parvarti (his girlfriend), and Preston (his best friend) are rolling in money and esteem. Forging permission slips and creating alibi's is, apparently, a very profitable business. Then Preston needs a cover story for a weekend getaway and Max is happy to provide one. But something goes wrong and Preston is missing and Max is now the prime suspect. Then Preston turns up dead and Max is really under fire. He knows he didn't do it, but can he find the real killer before he takes the fall?
Max Cantrell was someone I fell for instantly. Max isn't the popular guy or the hottest guy in school or the brain or the clown. He's just your average, decent looking guy with a passion for surfing. He's an adopted kid who has a nice family, not an abusive bunch of jackasses. He lucked out with an awesome girlfriend, though they have their minor issues. It's hard for me to really put Max into words. He's just an average guy and I loved that. We never get stories about average guys. It's always the popular boys or the brainiac or the dark brooding guy with the ripped body. I image Max has decent muscles because surfing is a serious sport, but it's not the focus. And he doesn't have girls falling all over themselves to get with him. He's also kinda a loner. He's fine with quiet and solitude.
Parvarti is his opposite in a lot of ways. She's smart and super-sexy and oh so confident. She's the school's it girl. I liked her, but I was always unsure of her. Something felt a bit off from the very beginning. I was convinced pretty early on that she had something to do with Preston's disappearance, but you'll have to read for yourself to find out if she did or not because I'm not telling! I will say that I do like her by the end.
This is the type of review where I want to rave about how awesome it was, but I can't say a whole lot of anything because it's almost all spoilers. I will say that I absolutely loved it and I didn't see the end coming. That final twist just blew my mind.
I also will say that I know changes were made for the final book and from what I can tell, there were nothing really major. A few things I can see why they were changed for the better, but if I'm being honest, I didn't really notice problems. This book is so good that none of the things that were changed caught my attention while I was reading. I was too enraptured in the story and finding out exactly where this was going to go to care if a line or two didn't make complete sense. I got the gist and that's the important part, right? After the fact, when I got a summery of the changes, I was all "yeah, that makes total sense!" and I think they'll make the story a bit more cohesive. As far as the small consistency errors, I tend to either not notice them or be entirely forgiving of them when I read an ARC/eARC. I know that what I have is not the final product. I know more work goes into it. I also know that I sometimes have consistency errors in my 2 - 3 page reviews that I do not ever edit, so I can't imagine how many would crop up in 300+ pages after revisions and edits!
What can I really say? This book is awesome. It has mystery and intrigue with a bit of romance and just a small touch of humor. I wasn't entirely sure I'd love it going in. I tend to skew more towards the happily ever afters and, for a while, I wasn't sure that was going to happen. I wanted to read it regardless because I loved The Art Of Lainey and knew I could expect great things from Paula. For those like me worried about the conclusion, it does end on a happy note. Not everyone gets to ride off into the sunset consequence free, but the important people are on the right track. All you really need to know is that this is an edge of your seat, must keep reading kinda book that makes you completely forget reality for however long it takes you to finish it. What more do we need? Is that what we all look for? To get lost in a fictional world? I hope you love it as much as I did.
****Thank you to Harper Teen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****