Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Tragedy Girl ~ Christine Hurley Deriso (earc) review [@CHurleyDeriso @fluxbooks]

Tragedy Girl
April 08, 2016
240 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Of course Anne would be drawn to Blake. He’s good looking, he’s friendly, and they both bring sob stories to the table: her parents died in a car wreck, his girlfriend, Cara, drowned. Of course Blake would understand what she’s gone through. And of course they can help each other work through the pain. It’s like it was meant to be.

But just as Anne starts to feel she’s finally found something good in all the tragedy, she can’t ignore signs that something’s off. Her friends rarely let her be alone with Blake. Even those closest to Blake seem uneasy around him. And then there are the rumors about the death of Cara, whose body was never recovered. Rumors that suggest Blake’s pain is hiding something darker than Anne can even begin to comprehend . . .

Now, after the fact, I have no real explanation but when when I started Tragedy Girl, I was expecting something similar to What You Left Behind. No idea if it was the similarly themed covers (the lone figure on a beach, the large font title over them) or just some random, illogical decision my brain made. Whatever the reason (or lack thereof), it made for a surprising read.

The 'Tragedy Boy . . . Meet Tragedy Girl," idea sounds, at once, like something that could be right and healing, a perfect fit and something troubled and unhealthy.

What makes Anne and Blake Tragedy Girl and Tragedy Boy is really executed very well here, for who it makes the characters and how it draws them together. They have each, recently, experienced tragic loss, Anne with the deaths of her parents and Blake with his girlfriend's drowning death. While their experiences and losses are different, they have more in common with each other than with just about anyone else. They understand the other; they know what it's like to get pity stares, to have no one sure what to say.

The author did a great job creating Anne's character. Not only in how the death of her parents created that connection with Blake but how it affected her personality which impacted the development of their relationship. She really is the perfect fit for a relationship with Blake, at least for the sake of the novel and its story.

The way Anne is still adjusting to living with her aunt and uncle, to thinking of it not as 'their' home but hers as well, her questions over her new friends and their personalities, and if she's still her in this new life was great. It is a whole new life for her, without her parents or best friend, so you understand some of her questionable decisions. Even wonder if maybe they are right.

I liked the progression of her character from a confused girl living in her aunt and uncle's house, thoughts full of Blake to, well, who she became. (Spoilers are no fun.) It was smart and really fit her character, the story, the mystery and how one might grieve and begin to heal over time.

Tragedy Girl is not an outstanding mystery, thriller but for how the focus was on Anne, her character and figuring things out, I think it was done correctly. It does add some tension to things as you hope she isn't making a mistake.

review copy received from publisher, via NetGalley

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