Balzer + Bray
February 16, 2016
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WHO KILLED GRETCHEN MEYER?
Fear grips the residents of Hidden Falls the night Sonia Feldman and her best friend, Gretchen Meyer, are attacked in the woods. Sonia was lucky to escape with her life, but Gretchen’s body is discovered at the bottom of a waterfall. Beautiful, popular, and seemingly untouchable, Gretchen can’t be gone. Even as Sonia struggles with guilt and confusion over having survived, the whole town is looking to her for information…could she have seen something that will lead the police to the killer?
At the top of the list of suspects is Gretchen’s ex-boyfriend—and Sonia’s longtime enemy—Marcus Perez. So when Marcus comes to Sonia for help clearing his name, she agrees, hoping to find evidence the police need to prove he’s the killer. But as Gretchen’s many secrets emerge and the suspects add up, Sonia feels less sure of Marcus’s involvement, and more afraid for herself. Could Marcus, the artist, the screwup, the boy she might be falling for have attacked her? Killed her best friend? And if it wasn’t him in the woods that night…who could it have been?
I like that we start with Sonia's escape from the woods. It's not only dramatic, but it throws readers right into the action. We not only see Sonia trying to come to terms with her best friend's death, but also her own guilt over surviving - and a desire to be know what's happening, what the police are finding out, who they suspect.
It makes sense, then, when she agrees to help Marcus. Though, he wants to prove he's innocent, she's looking for proof of his guilt. Sonia may not be as sure of his guilt as everyone else seems to be, but she wants to find proof, to find answers.
They are an interesting match - they supposedly hate each other, but Sonia hints that may not be the whole truth. The more they try to figure out who killed Gretchen, the more we learn of who Gretchen really was. She may be being remembered as the beautiful, wonderful girl but she had her secrets. And her enemies.
The more you find out about Gretchen, the larger it seems the suspect pool should be. I almost (almost) couldn't understand why Sonia was best friends with her. Yet, Sonia - through author Emily Hainsworth - gives us glimpses into the good times with Gretchen, the why of their friendship. You can see why they were best friends, more the more we learn.
Take the Fall is a twisty-turn mystery full of surprises. As soon as it seems like one character is likely the guilty party, someone else will do something questionable or suspicious and you'll think it might have been them, instead. This was a great group of friends, classmates, neighbors to read about but certainly not one I would want to be a part of. I don't think I would ever be able to trust anyone!
The ending of Take the Fall was somehow a huge surprise and not a surprise, all at once. It was unexpected but fit. It left me with a lot of questions, but the good kind. The, 'So that means . . .' 'What about . . . ?' 'But they . . . ?' type, not unresolved things. It's one you'll think about and speculate on for a while.
(Also the author gets points from me for using 'alumnus,' and correctly because I've read too many titles lately that used alumni incorrectly.)
You May Also Enjoy: Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten and The Escape by Hannah Jayne
review copy received, from publisher, via Edelweiss