Rachel and Jaycee had been best friends for a long time. They lived in a small town, separated by the racial divisions of Latinos and Americans. They were both ordinary “good girls.” Then, Rachel began to transform into a person Jaycee no longer could call her best friend. Rachel began to dress differently and hang out with the “wrong crowd” in their small town, and the two girls slowly drifted apart, leading separate lives. After Rachel is murdered in an abandoned house with connections to Latino gang violence, Jaycee feels obligated to further explore Rachel’s murder, having once been Rachel’s closest friend. However, Rachel did not fully comprehend the dangers of such a quest. This novel follows Rachel’s struggles of choosing who to trust, choosing who to fear, choosing who to love, and learning the reasons for the change in Rachel’s personality and the secrets she had kept the last months of her life as she attempts to learn the circumstances of her best friend’s death.
I thoroughly enjoyed this mystery thriller. I believe the character development of Rachel was extremely well done. A small portion of Rachel’s character and story was revealed during each step of Jaycee’s investigation into Rachel’s death, but it was never enough information to make the killer obvious to the reader. Additionally, although I did not care for the racial division of the town and the stereotypes the author portrayed the Latino people to have, I appreciate that the author demonstrated that these were incorrect assumptions and that if the people of this were accepting of one another, the town, as a whole, could benefit.
One memorable aspect of this novel was the complex characters and plot line that this book possessed.
Review by Rose, grade 9, Dumbarton Area Library