Pretty Little Liars meets People Like Us in this taut, tense thriller about two teens who find their lives intertwined when an anonymous texter threatens to spill their secrets and uproot their lives. PRIVATE NUMBER: Wouldn’t you look better without a cheater on your arm? AMANDA: Who is this? The daughter of small town social climbers, Amanda Kelly is deeply invested in her boyfriend, real estate heir Carter Shaw. He’s kind, ambitious, the town golden boy—but he’s far from perfect. Because behind Amanda’s back, Carter is also dating Rosalie. PRIVATE NUMBER: I’m watching you, Sweetheart. ROSALIE: Who IS this? Rosalie Bell is fighting to remain true to herself and her girlfriend—while concealing her identity from her Christian fundamentalist parents. After years spent in and out of conversion “therapy,” her own safety is her top priority. But maintaining a fake, straight relationship is killing her from the inside. When an anonymous texter ropes Amanda and Rosalie into a bid to take Carter down, the girls become collateral damage—and unlikely allies in a fight to unmask their stalker before Private uproots their lives. PRIVATE NUMBER: You shouldn’t have ignored me. Now look what you made me do…
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Amanda is Carter's long-term girlfriend and likely wife one day. Her parents have groomed her for high society where they, Carter's parents, and other socioeconomically elite parents have dictated what their children's lives will be like. Amanda's parents were keeping up the farce of their wealthy lifestyle for years, and her mother now drinks heavily and is likely an alcoholic. Amanda is not sure she wants to be with Carter, not least of which is because she knows how often he cheats on her- however, this is just the way things must be.
However, Amanda soon is receiving threatening texts from a private number and fighting to keep herself afloat while uncovering the villain. As we bounce between Amanda and Rosalie, we see the tangled web around their lives.
I was pleasantly surprised that I did not guess the ending as easily as I thought I had- I love to be wrong in thrillers! I was not sure whether I liked any of the characters, but it did not matter because I still wanted to know who was behind the private texts and what was happening. One of the really interesting and important elements was about conversion therapy in evangelist/fundamental Christianity and the harm that this can cause. This can start some important discussions.
The pacing was pretty well done, though I found it to drag a little in the middle, being caught in what felt like a loop, but it did maintain the thriller/suspense feel all the way through. If you are looking for a dark and twisty GOSSIP GIRL-style read, I would highly recommend picking this one up!