by Sara Shapard
Hardcover: Atria | ISBN: 9781501162770 | On sale: April 17, 2018 | 352 pages | $26.99
eBook: Atria | ISBN: 9781501162794 | On sale: April 17, 2018 | 352 pages | $13.99
When debut novelist Eliza Fontaine is found at the bottom of a hotel pool, her family at first assumes that it’s just another failed suicide attempt. But Eliza swears she was pushed, and her rescuer is the only witness.
Desperate to find out who attacked her, Eliza takes it upon herself to investigate. But as the publication date for her novel draws closer, Eliza finds more questions than answers. Like why are her editor, agent, and family mixing up events from her novel with events from her life? Her novel is completely fictional, isn’t it?
The deeper Eliza goes into her investigation while struggling with memory loss, the closer her life starts to resemble her novel until the line between reality and fiction starts to blur and she can no longer tell where her protagonist’s life ends and hers begins.
This is a sharp, snappy clever mystery perfect for YA fans. Debut novelist Eliza Fontaine has just been pulled from a near-drowning in a hotel swimming pool, but apparently it’s not the first time.
“Why am I in a hospital?” I ask again. “Please. Somebody tell me.”
Bill clears his throat awkwardly. “You were found at the bottom of another pool last night.”
There is no denying she almost drowned. But why? Eliza swears she did not try to kill herself. The police don’t seem all that interested in finding out how Eliza ended up in the pool. She can’t swim and she is sure that someone pushed her. The problem is that she just can’t seem to remember the night very clearly and there seem to be no witnesses to what happened.
Eliza is an unreliable narrator, as her family and friends are quick to point out. She’s very smart and this story was loads of fun in trying to figure out who was telling the truth and who was lying. Or was it Eliza that was untruthful? This clever book is actually two books: ‘The Elizas’ alternates between Eliza’s narration and the book she is about to publish, ‘The Dots’.
“It’s not so crazy they think I jumped. I have a bit of a track record of this kind of behavior. But I didn’t go into that water willingly—this I know for sure. Someone wanted me dead.”
I wasn’t sure what was real in this book and what was a product of Eliza’s very vivid imagination. The author created a cast of very real and colorful characters which added to the fun of this story. I was rooting for Eliza to find a true friend and perhaps make a real connection with someone. She enlists the help of the unusual and very unique Desmond to try and unravel the mystery of what happened to her in the Palm Springs hotel pool.
“I’m smitten by you, Eliza,” Desmond says. “You’re like the Lady of the Lake. I don’t understand a lot about you, but I’d spend the rest of my life figuring you out. I want to help you however I can, including figuring out what scared you so much. I want to save you.”
I read this book in one sitting and very much enjoyed both the main story and ‘The Dots’. This book is both funny, poignant and very suspenseful and will definitely appeal to fans of the YA genre who are looking for a slow-building mystery.
There is a huge twist at the end that was a big surprise. While I felt that this book mostly read like a script (it would make a great movie or mini-series!), overall I really enjoyed this fun thriller and am still thinking this book even after I finished. I loved the author’s writing style and recommend this if you are looking for a fast-paced poolside or beach read.
About the Author:
Sara Shepard graduated from NYU and has an MFA from Brooklyn College. She has lived in New York City, Brooklyn, Tucson, Arizona, Philadelphia, and now lives in Pittsburgh, PA. Sara’s Pretty Little Liars novels were inspired by her upbringing in Philadelphia’s Main Line.
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