Ivy, Mateo, and Cal used to be close. Now all they have in common is Carlton High and the beginning of a very bad day.
Type A Ivy lost a student council election to the class clown, and now she has to face the school, humiliated. Heartthrob Mateo is burned out–he’s been working two jobs since his family’s business failed. And outsider Cal just got stood up…. again.
So when Cal pulls into campus late for class and runs into Ivy and Mateo, it seems like the perfect opportunity to turn a bad day around. They’ll ditch and go into the city. Just the three of them, like old times. Except they’ve barely left the parking lot before they run out of things to say…
Until they spot another Carlton High student skipping school–and follow him to the scene of his own murder. In one chance move, their day turns from dull to deadly. And it’s about to get worse.
It turns out Ivy, Mateo, and Cal still have some things in common. They all have a connection to the dead kid. And they’re all hiding something.
Now they’re all wondering–could it be that their chance reconnection wasn’t by chance after all?
I’ve read a couple other mystery/suspense books by this author and couldn’t resist the opportunity to participate in a blog tour for her newest release.
It starts out like a Ferris Bueller kind of day for friends Ivy, Mateo, and Cal when they decide to skip school, but they sure don’t wind up at a baseball game or fancy restaurant for lunch. When they wander into the scene of a very recently committed murder – seriously, the body hadn’t even begun to cool – their day goes off the rails at the speed of light. Panicked and on the run, the teens make one bad decision after another and dig themselves in deeper. I wanted to rip their heads off. Although close friends in middle school, the three of them drifted apart and spend time rehashing the scenario that seemed to cause the divide. Old wounds are reopened, fingers are pointed, and at times the three turn on each other while trying to discover who the murderer is.
All three characters are well-crafted and are dealing with their own problems – besides being possible murder suspects. Mateo works three jobs to help pay for his mother’s medications after she loses the family business. Cal is dumped by another girlfriend who left him with some unfair parting shots, and his list of friends is sadly very short. Overachiever Ivy struggles to prove herself to her parents. After her talented younger brother skips a grade, she feels as if a competition exists between them. She’s undoubtedly an intelligent girl (I adored the random trivia she’d text Cal in the wee hours of the morning), but of the three seems to make the worst decisions. Honestly, I’m surprised Cal and Mateo didn’t just dump her a few times, but she does make up for it.
The plot will keep you guessing, and there are a couple red herrings to throw you off. At the big reveal, the person behind everything is probably someone you’ll never guess, but I won’t say why – no spoilers. I will say I’d hoped for a more jaw-dropping moment.
I think all of this author’s books are standalones, but the ending almost leaves an opening for a sequel. I know I wouldn’t mind seeing what happens next, but I doubt it’s in the cards. This is a quick read that doles out clues along the way – pay attention early in the book – and will keep you guessing.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Karen M. McManus is the #1 New York Times and international bestselling author of young adult thriller/mystery novels, including One of Us Is Lying, One of Us Is Next, Two Can Keep a Secret, and The Cousins. You’ll Be the Death of Me will be her next novel, publishing December 2021. Her work has been translated into more than 40 languages worldwide. Karen lives in Massachusetts and holds a master’s degree in Journalism from Northeastern University, which she mostly uses to draft fake news stories for her novels. For more information, visit http://www.karenmcmanus.com or @writerkmc on Twitter and Instagram.