Friday, January 13, 2017

Beware That Girl by Teresa Toten

Author: Teresa Toten
Publisher: Delacourte Press
Date of publication: May 2016

Kate O’Brian appears to be a Have-Not. Her whole life has been a series of setbacks she’s had to snake her way out of—some more sinister than others. But she’s determined to change that. She’s book smart. She’s street-smart. Oh, and she’s also a masterful liar.

As the scholarship student at the Waverly School in NYC, Kate has her work cut out for her: her plan is to climb the social ladder 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, he immediately charms his way into the faculty’s and students’ lives—becoming especially close to Olivia, a fact she’s intent on keeping to herself. 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. How close can Kate and Olivia get to Mark without having to share their dark pasts?

Whenever I see the tag " For fans of The Girl on the Train", I am instantly wary of the book.  I didn't care for Girl on the Train.  But, I gave Beware that Girl a try anyway.  Overall, it wasn't a bad book and had great potential. But, I just didn't love it and it fell short of my expectations.  At first, this seemed like a YA appropriate book, but after finishing it, I wouldn't classify it as that.  It's kind of like Gossip Girl in that the girls are rich, go to a private school, and seemed to have the freedom to do anything.  But, the last half of the book was kind of disturbing and I would be reluctant to let my under 17YO reader read this book.

The story involves Kate who is an admitted liar, but, not really. She is a scholarship kid starting at Waverly School in her senior year.  All she wants to to get into Yale.  She also needs to find a new best friend and use her to better her living situation. Olivia just might fit the bill. There were a couple of twists that kept the book interesting, but there was more about the story that bothered me.  The girls  are seniors and 18, yet the parents have no problem letting them drink openly and freely.  Even at a fundraising gala.  Can the rich get away with underage drinking in public?  Also, the whole story line with Mark and Olivia was really uncomfortable to read.  18 or not, she was still in high school and it was really unnecessary. Kate's flashbacks are disturbing, but do kind of give you some insight as to her character and situation. The story is also told in Kate's POV in first person and in Olivia's in third person.  I thought that was a weird choice and was really disrupted the flow of the story for me.

The ending was terrible. In fact, it just ended and at the same time kind of came out of nowhere.  I can see what the author was going for, but the rest of the book didn't really lead up to that ending.  I'm not sure I would really recommend this one.  It wasn't a thriller or even remotely thrilling.


Alyssa Nelson said...

Sorry you didn't really enjoy this one. I think there are a lot of high school books out there that include open underage drinking, which is fine, but I agree with you that they are usually so brazen about it, I wonder about what consequences there would be in reality.

Alyssa @ Purple People Readers

Kari Boardman said...

It wasn't so much taht it was the underage drinking. It was the fact that the parents openly allowed it to go on with the kids in from of them. I found that odd.

Alyssa Nelson said...

Yes, that's what I mean. Underage drinking in itself is fine, but when it's so openly done, it's weird. There are quite a few high school books/TV shows where they do it in front of parents, cops, teachers, etc. and nobody blinks an eye.