For fans of We Were Liars, The Girl on the Train, and Gone Girl, this powerful psychological thriller with multiple mysteries is set against the backdrop of the megawealthy elite of New York City. Toten delves into the mesmerizing yet dysfunctional world of those who manipulate but seem ever so charming. With its gripping pace and Hitchcockian twists, Beware That Girl will keep readers guessing until the very last line. The Haves. The Have-Nots. Kate O’Brian appears to be a Have-Not. Her whole life has been a series of setbacks she’s had to snake her way out of—some more sinister than others. But she’s determined to change that. She’s book smart. She’s street-smart. Oh, and she’s also a masterful liar. As the scholarship student at the Waverly School in NYC, Kate has her work cut out for her: her plan is to climb the social ladder and land a spot at Yale. She’s already found her “people” among the senior class “it” girls—specifically in the cosseted, mega-wealthy yet deeply damaged Olivia Sumner. As for Olivia, she considers Kate the best friend she’s always needed, the sister she never had. When the handsome and whip-smart Mark Redkin joins the Waverly administration, he immediately charms his way into the faculty’s and students’ lives—becoming especially close to Olivia, a fact she’s intent on keeping to herself. It becomes increasingly obvious that Redkin poses a threat to Kate, too, in a way she can’t reveal—and can’t afford to ignore. How close can Kate and Olivia get to Mark without having to share their dark pasts?
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The hardest part of this review is trying to give you just enough without misleading or giving away the plot. The narrative jumps between Kate, a self-confessed liar and manipulator who has a dark past, and Olivia, who swings from happy to depressed, to obsessive to dismissive all while relying on pills to get her through. Kate befriends Olivia to further her own goals, but a wedge is driven between them when Olivia becomes involved with an older man.
What I liked best: It is a quick read and it is great to bring to the beach. Beware that Girl is definitely a page-turner and reads like a TV movie. The alternating narratives are easy to follow and help keep the pace moving.
However, the scenes between Mark and Olivia at times were really uncomfortable. Though this isn’t a teacher/student relationship, Mark is way to old for Olivia. Mark as a character made me uncomfortable, his use of manipulation along with the emotional and physical abuse and demeaning treatment of women were sometimes over the top. But in my opinion good psychological thrillers do this! While I love a book that can make me feel extremes like this, I would caution giving this to younger readers who might find it disturbing.
Beware That Girl book is dark. However, it has a spine-tingling classic ending, carrying out all the hallmarks of a good psychological thriller. Older readers, who love books like The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl will love this book.