“Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?”
-Edgar Allan Poe.
I haven’t read a Monica Murphy book in such a long time and I can’t even explain as to why that is, but all I do know is that I will have to go back and read other stories that I have missed throughout the years, especially if she has written captivating novels as good as Pretty Dead Girls. This was such a great read for me and I literally couldn’t put down. I love a great murder mystery, where you keep guessing “who did it,” and one of the things I loved most about this intriguing and emotional read was the brief insights we got into the killers psyche, with the killers POV thrown into the mix it kept my interests peaked.
Pretty Dead Girls centres around Penelope, who is the president of the Larks and her gang of elite self-entitled followers. The Larks own the school and have been formed as a way to give something back to the community in the way of fundraising and volunteering. When tragedy strikes and one of the members of the Larks is found dead at a nearby church, it is the beginning of a lot more tragedy to come for these pretty Lark girls and this quiet, seaside town, Cape Bonita.
“She was a fierce competitor. She was also a friend – and sometimes an enemy, if I’m being completely honest.
And now…she’s dead.”
Soon many secrets, lies and betrayals come to the surface and they all start to question who can they really trust, and whether they’re next on the killers list. The backstabbing lies and betrayal between these so called friends really captivated me and to be honest I loved all the drama it caused. Although a lot of the characters were extremely unlikeable, that was indeed the whole point. As a reader I was meant to not like them; I mean who needs enemies when you have friends like these.
I glare at him, insulted by his assumption. “You don’t know me.”
“Ah, but I do.” His smile fades. “You just don’t realize it yet.”
Penelope starts to notice the quiet, strange, outcast “bad boy” Cass and she can’t help but ponder why she has never noticed him before. Soon a friendship starts blossoming between the two and as they grow closer, they decide to go on the hunt for the killer of the pretty, popular Lark girls. They feel the police aren’t doing a good enough job so they will take it upon themselves to solve this mystery.
Pretty Dead Girls is a fast-paced YA murder mystery that kept me guessing throughout and really intrigued me until the very end. If you’re a fan of Pretty Little Liars mixed with Mean Girls, then you will be sure to love this one. I love delving into a really good YA book every now and then and this one did not disappoint. I really enjoyed it and couldn’t recommend it enough.
“That car is still trailing us.”
Glancing in the side mirror, I see that the car is behind us. Cass chooses that moment to take a curve extra fast, making the tires squeal, and I gasp. “You’re scaring me,” I murmur. It feels like my heart just flew into my throat.
“Just wait. What I really want to do is going to scare you even more,” he says cryptically.
“What do you want to do?”
“You’ll have to trust me on this.”
“Okay.” I clamp my lips shut. I shouldn’t automatically agree, right? I’m still having trust issues, even though I’d never say that out loud. This entire day has been confusing. I don’t know who to believe anymore.
“No demanding we back out once we commit,” he says, his gaze never wavering from the road. “That’s a surefire way to get ourselves hurt.”
His words are ominous. Like a warning. “Fine. I’m all in.”
He eases up on the gas pedal, just the slightest bit. The car slows, the vehicle behind us drawing closer. So close I swear it looks like it’s going to eat the back bumper. “I don’t want you to freak out.”
“Oh my God, Cass.” Why is he slowing down? “Just tell me.”
“You have to promise me one thing first.” His gaze meets mine, lingering a moment too long. He should be watching the road, not staring at me. “Say you’ll promise.”
“I promise,” I readily agree, frowning. “But what am I promising?”
He’s staring straight ahead once more, his fingers sliding over the steering wheel, almost like a caress. “You can’t scream.”
“I mean it. No screaming. No yelling. You must remain quiet. I need you to trust me, Pen.” He hesitates, his voice dropping lower. “Do you trust me?”
Do I? He’s already asked me once and I said yes, but the doubt still creeps in. He scares me a little. He also—God, I am so ridiculous thinking this, but—he turns me on. He does. There’s something about him. He has this edge that other boys don’t have. And when he touches me, kisses me…
I’d probably do just about anything he asks me to.
So how can I doubt him when we’ve already gone this far together?
“I won’t scream,” I tell him quietly. “And I won’t yell. I promise.”
“Okay.” He nods once, then hisses out a breath between his teeth. I chance a glance at him, the way his dark hair falls over his forehead, how he’s squinting his eyes. What he’s about to do, what’s about to happen, feels…dangerous. “Here it goes.”
With a flick of his wrist he turns the car’s headlights off. Like, completely off. The road goes dark. I suck in a breath, hold it until I feel like it’s choking me. He hits the gas pedal hard, the SUV roaring to life as he flies down the road. A dangerous, winding road where multiple car crashes occur every year. The windows are down, the wind blows through my hair, blasts against my face, and I close my eyes.
I’m scared, and I can’t make a sound. Not a peep. I hold onto the handle right above the window, gripping it with both hands as Cass takes the twisty road with ease. My gaze is trained on the side mirror and I watch for the car lights behind us.
They’re still there.
About the Author:
Monica Murphy is the New York Times, USA Today and #1 international bestselling author of the One Week Girlfriend series, the Billionaire Bachelors and The Rules series. Her books have been translated in almost a dozen languages and has sold over one million copies worldwide. She is both self-published and published by Random House/Bantam and Harper Collins/Avon. She writes new adult, young adult and contemporary romance.
She is a wife and a mother of three who lives in central California on fourteen acres in the middle of nowhere along with their one dog and too many cats. A self-confessed workaholic, when she’s not writing, she’s reading or hanging out with her husband and kids. She’s a firm believer in happy endings, though she will admit to putting her characters through angst-filled moments before they finally get that hard won HEA.