Genre: Adult Psychological Thriller
Year Release: 2021
Listened to the audiobook
Content warnings: Drug abuse, suicide, bullying, rape (depicted), alcoholism, murder
PR manager Ambrosia “Amb” Wellington is invited to a college reunion, but there are so many skeletons buried within that closet and someone is bent on revealing the truth. What follows is a story told in dual timelines, the past and the present, as what looks like normal college debauchery turns into a matter of light and death. There are parties, there are hookups, there are gross boys and even more despicable girls. There’s a laser focus on the extracurriculars of college that felt uncomfortably true to life.
This book is one hell of an anti-bullying PSA. It’s not often we see the person who did the bullying as the protagonist, but the layers to it are hard to take your eyes of.
Flynn explores the idea of entitlement and different types of perception through the eyes of a college girl who is both bully and bullied. Her own toxic ideas of who girls are and what they are like in the lens of preventing future hurt felt so raw and real to me. It’s hard to watch the social dynamics unfurl and tangle as Amb makes the wrong friends, while ultimately making her own shitty choices.
When we’re in the present, however, Amb’s incredibly guilty conscience is like another character in this book. It’s difficult to talk about without spoiling anything. But it’s frightening how much things escalate and the clear guide posts, but it, sadly, makes a lot of sense as far as character motivations go. There isn’t a clear turning back point as from the very beginning. The fact that Flynn manages to maintain tension even though we know Amb makes it to adulthood is impressive.
Compelling with yet again not a single likeable character to be found. Though the time frame is different, it conceptually and tonally reminds me a lot of Social Creature by Tara Isabella Burton. If you liked that, you will like this.