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review 2018-06-11 17:17
Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas
Dangerous Girls - Abby McDonald,Abigail Haas

It’s Spring Break of senior year. Anna, her boyfriend Tate, her best friend Elise, and a few other close friends are off to a debaucherous trip to Aruba that promises to be the time of their lives. But when Elise is found brutally murdered, Anna finds herself trapped in a country not her own, fighting against vile and contemptuous accusations. As Anna sets out to find her friend’s killer, she discovers harsh revelations about her friendships, the slippery nature of truth, and the ache of young love. Awaiting the judge’s decree, it becomes clear to Anna that everyone around her thinks she is not only guilty, but also dangerous. And when the whole story comes out, reality is more shocking than anyone could ever imagine...

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A group of Boston teenagers travel to the island of Aruba for their senior year Spring Break. Included in this group are best friends Anna and Elise. When Elise's body is found murdered in her hotel room, stabbed a gruesome thirteen times, Anna quickly becomes the #1 suspect in the investigation. But Anna vehemently pleads innocence, and the story becomes her fight to regain her good name and freedom as she sits in an Aruban correctional facility, awaiting the murder trial.

 

While it is not revealed or directly referenced anywhere within the novel itself or Haas' author afterword, a reader can't help but feel that this story had to be at least a little bit inspired by the true crime Natalee Holloway case. There are just too many similarities.

 

* Young teens on Spring Break choose Aruba as their destination

* Victim Elise, first night on the island, begins flirting with young 20something hot guy in a club whose overall look, it's pointed out, just screams money. But her friends warn her that they get a bad vibe off him, not to go off alone with him.

 

That's just early on in the book. Then there's the media spin illustrated in the story. One brief moment of Anna's boyfriend saying something lighthearted to her to distract her from her emotional pain even for a second, and her momentary smile is snapped by a paparrazzi photographer and splashed across all sorts of media sources with the angle that Anna appears disturbing heartless, considering the circumstances -- "unconcerned, unfeeling", "sickening lack of empathy", "sociopathic", etc. One by one, as the story picks up more and more media coverage, Anna's friends begin to turn on her in the interest of fame.

 

Now, while this particular element is original to Haas' imagination, she does write in the character of Clara Rose, a court case analyst with a tv news show recognizably similar in style to Nancy Grace. Clara Rose is even described as having a blonde bobbed hairstyle and a southern accent, y'all.

 

The show cuts to commercial again. This time, every woman in the room is staring at me.

I try to remind myself how to breathe.

I knew it was bad out there. Even locked up, I've seen glimpses of newspapers and TV news. It wasn't as if I thought everyone would be lined up, protesting my innocence, but still, Clara's show takes my breath away. I thought it would be more...balanced. Isn't that what the news is supposed to do? Present both sides of the story, fairly, not jump to conclusions based on leaked information and biased statements? We're still months away from the trial; even Ellingham swore they didn't have enough evidence to convict, so where's the support? Some kind of outcry about my arrest? Instead, they showed nothing on my side -- no mention of Juan, or Tate's lies and cheating, the balcony issue, or all the problems with the crime scene -- nothing, not one hint that I might  be innocent in all this. They assume I'm guilty and they can't wait to see me burn.

"Killer."

 

But as I said, even with the similarities, there are aspects of this story that are uniquely Haas' creation, particularly when it comes to the ending of this novel. While I wasn't always glued to the page, Haas successfully keeps the suspense going enough that I was most definitely invested in seeing how things turned out. She incorporates an interesting cast of shady characters and casts enough doubt on everyone that you just have to see where all the twistedness concludes!

 

Looking back now, I see how naive we all were. I stepped into that courtroom believing I'd have a fair shot -- a chance to state my case and be heard, the way you're supposed to. But the real truth is, it's all a performance. The trial is no different from the Clara Rose Show, in its way, only instead of a film studio with lights and cameras, we have the courtroom as our stage. The lawyers and witnesses are all actors; the judge is our audience, and whoever can sell their version of the script -- make you believe it, whether it's fact or fiction -- they're the one who wins. It's that simple. Evidence is just a prop; you can ignore it and look the other way, and even the script doesn't matter when some supporting actor can improvise their scenes and steal the whole show.

 

Anna's story also brings up a good point: that if enough digging were done in virtually anyone's life, we could ALL be made to look guilty of something if enough spin were put on it. For example, one of the points the prosecution team brings out is Anna having lyrics from a Florence & The Machine song scrawled on a school binder, lyrics that they claim clearly illustrate her mental instability.

 

Those are somebody else's words that I scrawled on my notebook during a boring class, and now he's holding them up as some kind of proof of my "violent urges". Why doesn't he go further, and pull up my DVR records and all the horror movies I used to watch, curled tightly against Tate on the living room couch? Why not go through my bookcase for every crime novel he can find?

Wouldn't we all look guilty, if someone searched hard enough?

 

 

As it turns out, the song they reference is actually one of my FATM songs (mainly because it has a cool, unique rhythm to it) so it gave me, as the reader, a jerked back reaction of Whoah, what might I be judged on, what innocuous things about my life or interests could be spun into something incriminating. It does make you pause and wonder!

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review 2018-05-14 00:26
Dangerous Girls
Dangerous Girls - Abigail Haas,Abby McDonald

This was a really entertaining read and I really enjoyed the book, but it was also so got damn irritating.

 

I know that there are parents out there who pay no mind to what their children do and as a result their kids take full advantage of it and do some insane shit. I know this, I really do. And yet, reading books like this it always shocks me because, like ... WHERE ARE YOUR PARENTS? What kind of parent thinks it would be a GOOD IDEA to send their underage child on a vacation with a bunch of underage, equally irresponsible teenagers, in a foreign country? Without any adult supervision I might add, why would you think that would end well?

 

The only person that you really get to know throughout the story are Anna and Elise, everyone else is just kind of background. They don't really serve a purpose and honestly, if they hadn't been in the book, it wouldn't have made a difference. Honestly, I can't even name anyone else other than Tate and I finished this book today.

 

I didn't even like Anna or Elise, both of them were so fucking annoying I just wanted them to shut up. Elise was honestly such a lil bitch the entire time, she had perfectly caring parents and she treated them like garbage. She had no regard for her own well-being and safety, and in the end she stabbed her best friend in the back honestly fuck her. I don't feel sorry for her.

 

Anna seemed like a whiny cry baby throughout the entire book in the flashbacks building up to the day the murder happened like sis buy a journal and write your feelings in it. I can't believe someone would get this worked up over some crusty boy who was literally so uninteresting. She shoulda just dumped both Elise and Tate and moved on with her life. Don't get me wrong, she faked the entire thing really well, if my friend hadn't already spoiled the book for me, I would've been S H O O K.

 

Detective Dekker was honestly such a creep, I hate that man. On top of that, he was really fucking bad at his job. He had literally zero actual solid evidence that Anna was the murderer. He just kept pulling up stuff that had happened years ago and acted as if it was relevant to the murder which it literally was not.

 

"I'm just trying to establish the relationship the suspect had with the victim," EVERYONE LITERALLY TOLD YOU WHAT THE RELATIONSHIP WAS DROP IT AND MOVE ON TO THE ACTUAL MURDER CHRIST.

 

I don't even know what charges they had Anna arrested on. I don't know what the laws in Aruba are regarding murder, but from the episodes of Law and Order: SVU that I've been binge watching lately, courtesy of my mom, it doesn't seem like they had anything to hold her on. I'm probably mistaken, but I'm pretty sure you can't have someone arrested and held in captivity based on circumstantial evidence. And where even was the evidence? Elise was stabbed in the chest 13 times and you're telling me there was no evidence except for the knife she was stabbed in? Where are the clothes that Anna wore to stab her in? Aruba is a pretty small island it's not like the clothes would've just disappeared.

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review 2016-12-29 05:11
Dangerous Girls - Abigail Haas,Abby McDonald

A tad bit predictable, but I enjoyed this.

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review 2016-12-29 00:00
Dangerous Girls
Dangerous Girls - Abigail Haas,Abby McDonald I've been meaning to read this book for some time now. It was originally published in 2013 so it has been out for a while but recently I've seen several reviews of it on booktube and they were really intriguing so I actually went to my local library, signed out a copy, and read it in less than 24 hours. I was really impressed with everything about this story and frankly I'm kind of surprised there hasn't been more hype around it because I thought it was just that good. I want to be very careful to not say to much to risk spoiling this reading experience for anyone because although I watched a "spoiler free" review of [b:Dangerous Girls|16074758|Dangerous Girls|Abigail Haas|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1356513050s/16074758.jpg|21869436]I think in a way I had an idea of what to expect because of what was said in the review and that took away from my reading experience so I will recommend going into this book knowing as little as possible and just see where it takes you and enjoy the ride!

I will say that although this is considered a YA novel, and the characters in this book are mainly teenagers, it's not one of those PG rated YA books with the squeaky clean Pollyanna types, because honestly, nothing annoys me more then when that happens. On the contrary, these teens were realistic and believable, they drank, partied, had sex, went on spring break in Aruba without parents present - all things that I would expect out of seniors in high school, relatable to my own high school experience and I appreciate that. Haas doesn't sugarcoat and she really captures the dynamics of the relationships and emotions that teens experience when discovering their independence and coming into adulthood (minus finding their BFF stabbed to death, of course).

Along with the authenticity of the characters, I also appreciated the way the story was set up, it's all told from Anna's point of view but it jumps all over the place to different points in time to really give a well rounded account of her perspective and I don't think I've ever read a book that is told in such a way but I think the execution was both brilliant and beautiful. This book is pretty thick but it was a really fast read, the story line kept me guessing and needing to know more and more so I couldn't put it down and overall I just really enjoyed reading this book and I highly recommend it! There is another book by Abigail Haas called [b:Dangerous Boys|19732381|Dangerous Boys|Abigail Haas|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1401967915s/19732381.jpg|27789580] but from what I understand the two books don't go together although I believe that the style of writing is similar in both- but don't quote me on that. Either way I'm very impressed with [b:Dangerous Girls|16074758|Dangerous Girls|Abigail Haas|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1356513050s/16074758.jpg|21869436] and look forward to reading [b:Dangerous Boys|19732381|Dangerous Boys|Abigail Haas|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1401967915s/19732381.jpg|27789580] very soon.
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review 2016-08-31 23:01
Dangerous Girls Book Review
Dangerous Girls - Abigail Haas,Abby McDonald

I  want more YA thrillers and mystery's, like Malice, The Fixer and now Dangerous Girls. They're written well, have complex characters and keep you on your toes. 

 

Dangerous Girls is the story of a vacation to Aruba gone bad. Anna, her best friend Elsie and her boyfriend Tate can't wait for spring break away from their parents. But the fun ends fast when Elsie is found dead, blood everywhere, and Tate and Anna are thrown into jail. 

 

I loved reading about Elsie, Anna and Tate. Elsie is especially a character with layers beyond layers. Your never really sure who to believe and who to trust throughout the entire book. 

 

I'd be hesitant to recommend this to younger teens, its barely a young adult, if only because of the age of the characters...but such a gripping and dark read. 

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