People Like Us. Dana Mele. Mystery/Young adult/LGBT. 2018. 384 pages. 3 stars.
You can get away with murder if you’re lucky. You don’t even have to be smart. Just have a social or political one up on everyone else. People look the other way if they want to. Everyone knows it.
I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy in exchange for an honest review.
Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but the past is past, and she’s reinvented herself entirely. Now she’s a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl’s body is found in the lake, Kay’s carefully constructed life begins to topple.
The dead girl has left Kay a computer-coded scavenger hunt, which, as it unravels, begins to implicate suspect after suspect, until Kay herself is in the crosshairs of a murder investigation. But if Kay’s finally backed into a corner, she’ll do what it takes to survive. Because at Bates Academy, the truth is something you make…not something that happened.
“Killers are people. They eat the same food and breathe the same air. They don’t announce their presence.”
“Maybe they do if you’re listening.”
If I were asked to describe this book I would at best call it interestingly dull. The premise is inviting, because who would turn down an LGBT Mean Girls that turned into a murder mystery? I don’t understand what happened to the execution of the book because I was left confused for a good portion of the story.
Vaguely, this story is about a revenge plot against the “it girls” of Bates Academy. After they come across a dead body in a lake, suddenly one of them is coerced into exposing her friends’ secrets in order to keep her own.
The writing never got to me. It only ever skimmed what could have been a great narrative for the hype it has. I did not feel for Kay at all. And despite the why of the story being dragged until the last possible chapter, I never had that “oh my god” moment. You would expect a groundbreaking revelation as to who the killer is or why the main character played along with the blackmailing, but it never delivered for me. I was constantly going back and forth between the pages because of its nonlinear timeline and had to constantly remind myself what I was reading because the style of writing wasn’t really in line with its genre.
We have a scatterbrain for a main character. Kay is a stuck up, pretentious girl who had to climb her way to the top of the food chain because she isn’t your typical rich mean girl. In fact, she’s in Bates as an athletic scholar and that’s pretty much the only thing keeping her where she is. The way she does things is questionable (or maybe it is another issue with the writing). I really can’t explain how the writing irked me, only that it did.
However, the story did make sense at the end. Once the eureka moment is revealed, everything starts to fall into place! I just wish the moments leading up to it were executed better so I could have enjoyed the entire story as a whole rather than only appreciating the ending. I’m giving this one 3 stars.
People Like Us is set to be released on 27 February 2018.