Featured Review: Going Dark (Melissa de la Cruz)


About This Book:

In this ripped-from-the-headlines Gone Girl meets A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz weaves a white-knuckle thriller about a beautiful young influencer who vanishes after going on vacation with her boyfriend.


The Influencer
Amelia Ashley shares everything with her followers – her favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurants, her best fashion tips, and her European trip-of-a-lifetime with her hot boyfriend.

The Boyfriend
Josh has no choice but to return home without Amelia after she abandons him in Rome. He has no clue where she went or how her blood got in his suitcase. Why won’t anyone believe him?

The Hacker
To Harper Delgado, Amelia Ashley is just another missing white girl whipping up a media frenzy. But with each digital knot she untangles about the influencer, Harper wonders: who is Amelia Ashley?

The Other Girl
Two years ago, another girl went missing, one who never made headlines or had a trending hashtag.

The Truth
Amelia’s disappearance has captured the world’s attention. What comes next? Watch this space…

Told through a mixture of social media posts, diary entries, and firsthand accounts, Going Dark is a gripping, suspenseful thriller about all the missing girls who fall off the radar, perfect for true crime fans and readers of One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus.



*Review Contributed by Olivia Farr, Staff Reviewer*

GOING DARK is a riveting and twisty YA suspense/mystery. The story begins with Josh heading home on a plane from Italy alone. Josh is a college student who just had an amazing trip with his travel influencer girlfriend to Paris and Rome. However, just before they were set to fly out, they had an argument, and now, he is on the plane alone. As he returns back to his life as usual, it becomes clear that something darker is happening – no one can get ahold of Amelia, and she has not posted anything since their argument.

As the fingers begin to point and the online community comes after him, Josh finds himself wondering what really did happen to Amelia. The story is then told in other materials, such as blog posts, videos, and other materials, through a hacker named Harper who is digging through online information to figure out what happened to Amelia. The explosive reveal is anything but simple.

What I loved: This was such a riveting page-turner. I was completely caught up in the mystery and wondering what happened to Amelia, and just as importantly, why. As the story builds, the reader begins to put things together, but the finale was even more explosive than anyone could have guessed. The story is initially told through Josh’s perspective before turning to Harper and the online trail of Amelia. As stated in the synopsis, the story then goes back in time to another girl who went missing. As the pieces come together, the suspense rises and the plot becomes explosive.

The characters were fascinating. There are multiple layers to them, with the surface layer presenting as one thing and then deeper layers coming out with time and certain situations. It was easy to get caught up in their stories, particularly Amelia and the girl from 2 years ago. Although the story begins with Josh, the deeper and more compelling parts are certainly from later in the book. The method of story-telling worked really well here, and it was interesting to see the online collection of detritus that tells the story of a life as well as the things that we leave behind and the messages they send.

There were some really fantastic themes, in particular around the rights of the victim vs the perpetrator, especially when the latter is a white boy with a “bright future,” the power of social media/news and activism to which cases are considered solvable/given resources, power imbalances, lies, abuse, and prejudices, particularly with the police but also more broad. This would be a great book for discussion in a group or book club as a result, to consider these themes more in depth with the real life parallels.

What left me wanting more: The only thing I would change is to have more after the final page – I would have loved an epilogue to give it some bigger closure, though, to be fair, the reader can certainly infer what would happen on their own. I’m just a person who loves to have everything finalized, and this leaves it a bit open-ended.

Final verdict: Twisty and consuming, GOING DARK is a fantastic YA mystery/suspense that will keep the reader on their toes. Highly recommend for fans of SADIE, I KILLED ZOE SPANOS, and THEY WISH THEY WERE US.




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