- Bad Girls with Perfect Faces by Lynn Weingarten
Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-1860-7 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 978-1-4814-1862-1 $10.99
Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 9-12
Just as Sasha is about to tell her best friend Xavier that she’s falling for him, Xavier’s cheating ex, Ivy, shows up and immediately has Xavier wrapped around her little finger. Sasha therefore convinces herself she’s doing Xavier a favor when she creates a fake social media account under the name Jake to see if she can tempt Ivy into betraying Xavier again and prove what an awful person Ivy really is. Of course, it doesn’t quite work out that way: after texting with Ivy as “Jake” for weeks, Sasha [End Page 139] finds Ivy dead in the forest with Xavier as a possible suspect, and her own guilt at bringing about the situation eats away at her until she takes drastic measures. Initially, this seems a stock premise with stock characters, but the multiple perspectives of Sasha, Xavier, and several secondary players give readers a chance to see how well-intentioned actions can be wildly off the mark both in their origin and their execution. The second portion takes the book into deep thriller territory with narration from the killer increasingly erratic and disturbing, especially since the book cunningly retains the possibility that it could be the voice of either Sasha or Xavier. It all comes crashing down in both a surprising and heartbreaking way, revealing how emotionally dependent these teens are on each other and pointing to the toxicity of those bonds. Fans of Weingarten’s previous Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls (BCCB 9/15) will happily find another twisted web to fall into here.