- All Eyes on Her by L.E. Flynn
Flynn, L.E. All Eyes on Her. Imprint, 2020 [384p] Trade ed. ISBN 9781250158178 $17.99 E-book ed. ISBN 9781250158161 $9.99 Reviewed from galleys R Gr. 8-12
The story is a media sensation: after seventeen-year-old Tabitha and her boyfriend Mark, beloved golden boy of their small Colorado town, took a hike, only Tabby made it back, while Mark's body was found at the bottom of a cliff. Everyone has their own ideas of what happened—was it an accident or was he pushed—but few have the facts, and even those who do are having trouble lining the pieces up. Tabby's best friend and sister are convinced of Tabby's innocence—and if she did push him, well, the overbearing and possessive Mark probably deserved it. Mark's best friend, on the other hand, has no problem believing that Tabby, notoriously jealous and temperamental, sent Mark to his death. Past flings, ex-friends, random witnesses all complicate the story, and even what appears to be damning evidence is largely circumstantial. Lies are peeled away in tightly constructed, brief chapters, but the truth is never clear, keeping the tension relentlessly and excruciatingly high in this twisting psychological thriller. The story shifts perspectives among various players, with diary entries, newspaper articles, and social media posts interspersed throughout, and it soon becomes clear that no one here is honest and everyone might be culpable. Beyond the intrigue and scandal, however, is a lacerating interrogation of a society that assigns little power to teen girls and damns them when they reach for anything that looks like agency. Readers only hear from Tabitha at the beginning and end of the book, and she is, as her accusers say, not terribly likable—but does that make her guilty? Fans of Weingarten's Bad Girls with Perfect Faces (BCCB 11/17) will appreciate the twisty plot and ambiguous ending.