September 17, 2013
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Rachel died at two a.m . . . Three hours after Skyler kissed me for the first time. Forty-five minutes after she sent me her last text.Jennifer Shaw Wolf's Dead Girls Don't Lie, her second novel after last year's fantastic Breaking Beautiful, deals with a lot. Jaycee's best friend since grade school, Rachel has just been murdered. Only, she and Rachel have not been very close in the past few months, something Jaycee will now never be able to change.
Jaycee and Rachel were best friends. But that was before. . .before that terrible night at the old house. Before Rachel shut Jaycee out. Before Jaycee chose Skyler over Rachel. Then Rachel is found dead. The police blame a growing gang problem in their small town, but Jaycee is sure it has to do with that night at the old house. Rachel’s text is the first clue—starting Jaycee on a search that leads to a shocking secret. Rachel’s death was no random crime, and Jaycee must figure out who to trust before she can expose the truth.
In the follow-up to her powerful debut, Jennifer Shaw Wolf keeps readers on their toes in another dark, romantic story of murder and secrets.
In Jaycee's small Washington town is one that experiences a great divide between the Mexican migrant workers and the other residents. Something that left Rachel, living with her Mexican, single mother, in a confusing place -- especially recently.
As the town cries out against the gang violence they're sure is responsible -- brought to their idyllic town by the migrant workers -- Jaycee works to find out if that's the truth. While possibly putting herself in danger.
Jaycee is both the perfect person to uncover Rachel's secrets and the secret of her murder and, nearly, the last person you wish were doing it. We learn about their friendship, from its inception to its disintegration and a bit in between, while Jaycee investigates. While it's clear that Jaycee really should be able to not have to look at all of this detail and go through all of this, its also obvious she has to. Both because no one else will - or can - but also because she needs to know what happened to Rachel.
The dynamic between the migrant workers and the other residents of the town creates a very interesting element in the story. Especially when Rachel and her mother are added to the mix. Prior to Rachel's death, we see that the tension was already there and, as the story unfolds, we see how much of a role there being two communities played in her life.
After her death we're able to see it through more obvious portrayals -- the town's reaction and gossiping. Much of this happens through Jaycee's eyes. While she can be naive, almost annoyingly so, at times, it's possible to see why.
The mystery bit of Dead Girls Don't Lie seemed a bit easy to figure out, but only some of the larger parts. The intricacies of it all, how everything all came together and what everyone's role was, in the end, was still quite surprising. This is somewhere else I actually liked Jaycee's naivete or stubbornness even as it aggravated me. While something about a character may have been obvious to me, a refusal to believe it on her part made things believable in an interesting way. And gave the story interesting twists.
Jaycee's investigation into Rachel's death forces her to look back at parts of her past she'd rather forget and examine things she'd rather not. As well as a bit of mystery, thriller Dead Girls Don't Lie is also a sort of coming of age. Jaycee has to figure out some of who she is, what she thinks about things she's been presented with her whole life and who she trusts and believes.
You can't help but wish she and Rachel could have gone through the process at the same time or that she didn't have to lose her best friend to 'grow up.'
Other books you may also enjoy: Shine by Lauren Myracle and Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield
thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the digital galley for review -- and Bridget and the publisher again when the NG one was wonky!