Blacklist by Alyson Noel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Blacklist, the second book in Alyson Noel’s Beautiful Idol’s series is even more addictive than the first. It’s a fast paced and enjoyable read and there are plenty of reveals and twists to keep you hooked. With another cliffhanger ending I will definitely be looking out for the third and final book in this trilogy.
Note as this is the second in the series there are some spoilers for the first book.
The Blurb (from GoodReads)
In the second book of the suspenseful Unrivaled trilogy from #1 New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noel, Layla, Aster and Tommy have to unearth Hollywood it-girl Madison Brooks’ secrets before one of them takes the fall for her disappearance and murder.
Layla Harrison has finally found herself in the middle of a celebrity story worth reporting. Aster Amirpour’s name is in every tabloid—even if it isn’t the good kind of publicity she hoped for. Tommy Phillips is inches away from getting the girl of his dreams, which may be harder than scoring a VIP ticket to an Unrivaled nightclub.
But Layla, Aster and Tommy never imagined it would be because they’re entangled in the disappearance of Madison Brooks—a story that’s blinded the world like a starlet blinded by the flash of a paparazzi camera.
Now, Layla is receiving mysterious messages from an anonymous source, Aster’s looming murder trial is so huge even her parents’ lawyer can’t save her, Tommy is retracing his steps as the last person Madison saw alive, and Layla’s ex Mateo finds himself lured into the fold.
You can dig up dirt about celebrities that the tabloids miss if you search long enough. But when Layla, Aster, and Tommy team up with an unsuspecting insider to unearth the truth, they’ll find that some secrets are best kept in the grave.
The story picks up pretty much where the previous book finished with superstar Madison Brooks missing and wealthy wannabe (and club promoter) Aster in jail charged with her murder. Her family have pretty much disowned her and she can’t trust the lawyers nightclub owner (and her boss) Ira has hired to defend her. It’s up to her and friends Tommy and Layla to figure out what really happened to Madison and why Aster can’t remember.
I did really enjoy the first book in this series but I have to admit that I liked the shift in direction in this one. While I liked the competition between Layla, Tommy and Aster in the first story and the change in their relationship I definitely preferred the focus on the mystery that is Madison Brooks. The book begins with a chapter from her pov so we know what happened to her but we don’t know why or who is behind it all. It makes for some addictive reading as we follow the other characters as they begin to uncover bits of her past and also try to track her down.
The author gets the pacing more or less spot on and spaces the reveals out perfectly, although I am still feeling a little frustrated. There are also quite a few suspects so it’s fun to try and guess who’s behind it all.
Like the first book the story is told from multiple points of view which is something I’m usually not too keen on but worked well here. There are some characters I prefer to others but I love how the different perspective help to slot everything together. With so many characters there isn’t a huge amount of character development and I did find myself wondering a bit about their families who seem to be largely absent or neglectful. I also had a bit of an issue with one character who had a much bigger role this time. I just didn’t find the change in him to be believable. He seemed almost like a different person, even from the start of the book to the end, and it didn’t ring true to me.
Overall therefore I’d say if you don’t look too closely or expect a lot of character development or depth it’s an enjoyable read. I know I certainly couldn’t stop reading it and I will definitely be looking out for the third and final book.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC. As always all views are my own.