Book Review: Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten

Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m not sure what to make of this book. I did enjoy it but I’m not sure I should have if that makes any sense.

It’s described as Gone Girl meets Thirteen Reasons Why but if you are anything like me and haven’t read either of those that doesn’t really help.

Basically it’s a young adult mystery/thriller about a girl called June who on returning to school finds out that the girl who used to be her best friend (Delia) has died. The circumstances around her death are kept very quiet but it soon leaks out that it was suicide. Feeling shocked and more than a little guilty at not being there when her friend needed her June tries to reconnect with Delia’s life to understand why she did what she did.

After meeting Delia’s current group of friends and ex boyfriend, Jeremiah, June becomes convinced that this was more than a suicide and starts to investigate.

I won’t say anymore about the plot as I suspect I’d give something away but it’s safe to say there are quite a few twists throughout the story including a major shift in direction that I didn’t see coming around the halfway mark. It definitely kept me guessing and turning pages to find out what would happen.

There are a few parts that border on the unbelievable and I found myself wondering about the adults and the police in this town who seem at best absent and at worst incompetent. It seems completely ridiculous to me that a teenage girl could die and there would be no investigation. It also seems a little odd that the school would just announce it and provide no support to the students who knew her. However if you can ignore these points it is quite gripping.

The narrative mostly follows June’s investigation but includes some flashbacks over the period of their friendship to give you an idea of their relationship. These were definitely an integral part of the story but I found it a little disconcerting the way that it seemed to jump from first to third person narration particularly as there was no obvious reason for it.

Almost all of the characters are troubled in some way and could be considered either the outcasts or the cool rebels who like to smoke, drink and do drugs while their parents don’t really care. June comes across as quite isolated and very lonely right from the start while Delia is unpredictable and out of control. Their relationship is fascinating and I thought it was good to see some more complex and darker characters that despite their issues you could empathise with. There were some secondary characters that I would have liked to know more about and I think there could be room for a sequel (or prequel) to give more of their story.

There are some quite mature themes, sex, drugs, abuse, suicide etc that make me question how suitable this book would be for younger readers but they are probably no worse than some of the young adult fantasy books out there. It was definitely a different read for me and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a mystery.

Big thanks to NetGalley and the publishers Egmont Publishing/Electric Monkey for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

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