Author: Pintip Dunn
Publisher: Kensington Books
Release Date: June 28, 2016
Age Group: Young Adult
“The mother I knew would never do those things.But maybe I never knew her after all.”Clothes, jokes, coded messages…Cecilia Brooks and her mom shared everything. At least, CeCe thought they did. Six months ago, her mom killed herself after accusations of having sex with a student, and CeCe’s been the subject of whispers and taunts ever since. Now, at the start of her high school senior year, between dealing with her grieving, distracted father, and the social nightmare that has become her life, CeCe just wants to fly under the radar. Instead, she’s volunteering at the school’s crisis hotline—the same place her mother worked.As she counsels troubled strangers, CeCe’s lingering suspicions about her mom’s death surface. With the help of Sam, a new student and newspaper intern, she starts to piece together fragmented clues that point to a twisted secret at the heart of her community. Soon, finding the truth isn’t just a matter of restoring her mother’s reputation, it’s about saving lives—including CeCe’s own…
And how can you miss the fact that she also has an absolutely cool name!
Given that I'm reading outside my typical genre, I'd have to say that overall, I enjoyed this book. The story starts very dark as we find our main character Cecelia at her mother's funeral. Fast forward six months and we are catapulted into a web of lies and deceit and the whole "things aren't what they seem."
Cecelia is a senior in high school and is not only dealing with her mother's death and her father's evolving depression, but she is also a victim of bullying given that her mother's death occurred amidst a cloud of scandal. The scandal being that her mother was sleeping with one of her students and shortly thereafter commits suicide. I'm not giving anything away as you find out these details within the first ten pages of the book but it definitely sets the stage for the interactions she has with the other characters in the book.
One of those characters is Sam, who is new to the school and therefore has no idea of Cecelia's past. I really liked his character even though the romance definitely does not take front seat in this story. It takes a while for Cecelia to decide whether she trusts him or not and I can't say more without giving away spoilers. There's also Liam. The older student who is there to offer Cecelia a shoulder when she needs it. It isn't a love triangle per se but again, saying too much would be too spoilery.
A great aspect of this novel is that it touches on a lot of subjects plaguing teenagers today. We see very aggressive forms of bullying, how the internet impacts self worth, and the way teens feel about their families - at a time when they are just starting to see them as human beings and not just the provider or protector.
Cecelia is smart and likeable so it did bother me that at different points of the story she seemed oblivious to some of the most obvious clues. And despite not being well-read in this genre, the storyline became predictable once I got about halfway through the book. But I do have to say, Pintip's writing is close to flawless and I can forgive weak story points when I have a seamless reading experience.
I enjoyed this book enough that I'm really looking forward to reading the author's Forget Tomorrow series - already out and available to purchase.
I'd love to hear what you guys think and to make that a little bit easier...we are giving away one finished copy of The Darkest Lie.
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