She doesn’t recognize the person she’s become: She’s popular. She wears nothing but black.
Black to cover the blood.
And she can fight.
Tell no one.
She’s not the only girl to go missing within the last year…but she’s the only girl to come back. She desperately wants to unravel what happened to her, to try and recover the rest of the Lost Girls.
But the more she discovers, the more her memories return. And as much as her new life scares her, it calls to her. Seductively. The good girl gone bad: sex, drugs, and raves, and something darker…something she still craves. The rush of the fight, the thrill of the win―something she can’t resist, that might still get her killed…
What worked: This is a fast-paced, suspense filled mystery on what happened to Rachel. I was hooked right at the start! She wakes up to find she's forgotten a whole year of her life. There are hints of this new life stashed away in her bedroom. Also her new 'friends' hint at a life filled with raves, drugs, sex, and more. These flashbacks move the story along. I love how the author doesn't come right out and say what Rachel did during that year but leaves little hints and clues throughout. When the reveal does come up, it totally took me off guard. The brutality and exploitation of those by others comes with a horrific price.
Rachel's need to find out the truth and the realization that she craves the darkness she left behind, builds until the final memory comes back to her. Rachel isn't a victim by any means. She goes out to find the truth and also try to help the other 'lost girls' out there.
My only concern had to be why didn't the police search her room? There were many items that gave major clues on what she'd done during that missing year. Other than that, the rest of the story was action packed and moved right along. I did want to know more on that lost year and why she suddenly had the ability to fight and not be afraid of threats-like the dragon girls in her one class.
Gripping tale of a teen who struggles to find her lost year while coming face to face with a horrific price of being popular. The twist on those who manipulate victims with their own agendas is shown in such a way that isn't preachy but rather more a cautionary tale.
It's a haunting story, and I absolutely could not predict where it would go. I did not guess anything like it was, so I will not give details so as not to spoil. There are several twists and turns along the way as Rachel regains her memories and connects the people who are now in her life and why. Most of it ends up making sense by the end, and it all comes together beautifully with great closure. No open endings here, and I really appreciated that as this book put me through an emotional wringer- it's dark and haunting and scary at times, so I needed the ending as it is written. This is an artfully crafted book.
Rachel is easy to understand and follow. Although it can be frustrating to the reader to not have the answers, we really get into Rachel's mindset and understand how she also feels- needing to know but afraid of what she will learn. Dylan, her long-term crush and boyfriend, is an intriguing character- a poet and fighter, and I really liked their relationship. It gives Rachel strength in a different way than her relationships with her family members, which are also really well written and lovely. Her father is a silently supportive man who will look out for Rachel no matter what, and she knows this. Her brother Kyle also cares for her in a loving sibling way, and he was a fun character whose scenes I really enjoyed. Her mother appears less but also provides her with support.
Rachel's former BFF Molly is a huge contrast to her new friends, and this was an interesting dynamic to reconcile between Rachel's past and present. It was interesting to see it all come together. I am not sure I would have made the "Fight Club" or "Black Swan" comparisons (though I do understand why they were made), but it made me think of the recent books "Dead Girls Society" and "Unnatural Deeds" largely because of tone and mystery, which I felt were the bigger elements of the book. Overall, this was a really fantastic, albeit dark, read, and I was absolutely captivated solving the mystery of her past and disappearance alongside Rachel.
Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are entirely my own.