Beware That Girl - Teresa Toten

Kate O'Brien's whole life has been a series of setbacks--some more sinister than others. But she's determined to change that. She's book smart. She's street-smart. And she's also a masterful liar. As the scholarship student at the elite Waverly School in NYC, Kate has her work cut out for her: her plan is to climb the social ranks and land a spot at Yale. She's already found her "people" among the senior class "it" girls--specifically in the cosseted, mega-wealthy yet deeply damaged Olivia Sumner. As for Olivia, she considers Kate the best friend she's always needed, the sister she never had.

When the handsome and whip-smart Mark Redkin joins the Waverly administration as head of fundraising, he immediately charms his way into the faculty and students' lives--especially Olivia's, although she doesn't share what's going on. It becomes increasingly obvious that Redkin poses a threat to Kate, too, in a way she can't reveal and can't afford to ignore. Mark has his own plan for a bright future and never doubts that he can pull it off. 

This. Book. Is. Dark! If you know anything about me, I'm a big fan of dark and twisted books. Just look at my love of Steph Kuehn's Complicit or The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch. Teresa Toten's Beware That Girl does not disappoint on that front. This is a book that will literally keep you guessing until the last page... make that the last paragraph!

As Kate, Olivia, and Mark each lie, charm, and mesmerize one another for their own personal gain, Toten's prose perform their own magic, weaving a slow and steady build-up to a thrilling conclusion. As the girls develop their own twisted bond, they still feel the need to help each other where Mark Redkin is concerned, trying to understand his motivations and discover whether or not he is as dangerous as Kate thinks. I would go on, but I don't want to spoil anything!

Though a thriller as far as genre is concerned, this book is also literary in tone and rich in characterization and development of the setting. Though some of the characters are annoyingly rich, it is the disdain you will feel toward them that makes the whole story work. I am fully aware that this book will likely be polarizing in terms of its appeal, much like Kuehn's work, but it is well worth reading for those who enjoy a solid thriller along the lines of Gone Girl.

I Highly Recommend this book!

(NOTE: This review is from an Advance Reading Copy - Out May 31, 2016)


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