All These Beautiful Strangers Review

Monday, 30 April 2018

Rating: 4/5
Source: Proof curtesy of Penguin

In the last day of summer, Grace Fairchild, the beautiful young wife of real estate mogul Allister Calloway, vanished from the family’s lake house without a trace, leaving behind her seven-year old daughter, Charlie, and a slew of unanswered questions.

Years later, seventeen-year-old Charlie still struggles with the dark legacy of her family name and the mystery surrounding her mother. Determined to finally let go of the past, she throws herself into life at Knollwood, the prestigious New Englandschool she attends. Charlie quickly becomes friends with Knollwood’s “it” crowd.

Charlie has also been tapped by the A’s—the school’s elite secret society well known for terrorizing the faculty, administration, and their enemies. To become a member of the A’s, Charlie must play The Game, a semester-long, diabolical high-stakes scavenger hunt that will jeopardize her friendships, her reputation, even her place at Knollwood.

As the dark events of past and present converge, Charlie begins to fear that she may not survive the terrible truth about her family, her school, and her own life.
I am a total sucker for a rich kid, boarding school trope. Knollwood Prep is the home away from home for societies most spoiled and attractive offspring, it's such a cliched cast of characters but there's some real development as the story goes and I really enjoyed reading about them. Plus it's a YA thriller, and we all know we need more of them. 

All These Beautiful Strangers alternates between Charlie Calloway in the present day and her mother ten years ago. We follow Charlie as she tries to navigate school life, and joining a super secret club, the A's, who are infamous for being the real ones in control of the school. This gave me flashbacks to S.T.A.G.S. by MA Bennett and the medievals who were a similar group of students past and present, it was one of my favourite reads of last year so I was hooked immediately. 

While Charlie is focussed on complete her A's trials, we're also getting her mother Grace's story. We know that Grace disappears at some point in 2007 but it's still mystery what happened to her, so it was really exciting to be reading from her perspective. Lots of secrets come to life in both timelines, betrayal, drama -it's all the good stuff you need in a mystery/suspense novel. 

There's quite a big cast of characters, which just left me suspicious because I was convinced at least half of them would be evil to some degree. Charlie isn't dislikable, but she wouldn't be my first choice for a bookish best friend. Leo, Charlie's cousin, was a lot of fun and I enjoyed a lot of Dalton's character, but I still couldn't let myself fully embrace them. This is one of those stories where I was more in it for the plot than the characters, which is unusual for me.

The only thing I wasn't totally vibing on was the length of this book. It was nearly five hundred pages which is about one hundred and fifty more than I usually expect from a thriller because honestly, big daunting reads like that take me too much time to read and it loses the suspense factor a little bit. I think a lot of the exposition added to the story and characters, but I definitely enjoyed the last third of the book the most. 

This is a debut novel from Elizabeth Klehfoth and once again I have been blown away by what first time published authors can do. I won't say anything about the ending, but I wasn't disappointed. This book will be released July 19th 2018 by Penguin books and I recommend picking it up if you're a fan of YA mystery/thrillers. Thank you to Penguin for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Thanks for reading!

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