**4.5-stars rounded up**
Tress Montor and Felicity Turnado were best friends when they were younger. Not anymore.
Now in high school, Tress has an ax to grind with Felicity. She wants some answers to a long-standing mystery and she believes Felicity has them.
When the girls where in the fourth grade, Tress’s parents disappeared late one night while driving Felicity home from their house.
Felicity was found bruised and bleeding at the side of the road, but the Montors were never seen again.
After that, Tress loses her life as she knew it. With no parents, and no one else to claim her, she is forced to live with her drunken grandfather at what the locals call the ‘white trash zoo’.
There are animals that Tress helps to feed and care for. A zebra, an ostrich, an alligator, a panther, among other things. Life is hard.
Tress is not cared for as a child should be and becomes a social pariah at school. Literally abandoned by the entire town, she has no one to advocate for her.
Felicity feels guilty for all that has happened to Tress. Part of her wants to comfort and care for her ex-best friend, but she doesn’t dare. What would people think?
Felicity keeps her true thoughts tucked deep inside her, like she’s been taught, all whilst exuding that Queen Bee attitude that everyone expects.
She’s rich, beautiful, popular and has a secret way to suppress her negative thoughts.
Tress has had enough of it all, so she develops a plan to get the answers she seeks.
It involves a crowded costume party at a deserted house, a coal chute, a lot of bricks and mortar. Felicity is going to talk, one way or another. Tress has nothing to lose.
Alternating between Tress and Felicity’s perspectives, this novel follows the girl’s friendship from the start, to the present, and through various stages in between.
Both girls keep a lot of things to themselves. There is anger, guilt and plenty of low self esteem to go around.
This story is extremely heavy. There is a ton of baggage between these two girls. Even when they aren’t the ones doing things to one another, they are there to bear witness.
They’ve been intertwined in one another’s lives for a long time. As a reader, you can feel the weight of that history. It’s almost tangible.
I found this entire storyline unique and completely engaging. Once I started reading, I could not put this down.
It’s just so well written. I know that this story will not be for everyone, but I think the people who are going to enjoy it, are REALLY going to enjoy it.
McGinnis was not afraid to go dark and stay there. There is not one moment of lightness in this novel and I was here for it.
I cannot believe how this one ended up. The final few scenes, my word.
Thank you so much to the publisher, Katherine Tegen Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review.
I really, really enjoyed this and cannot wait to see how this duology turns out!!!