Saturday, September 13, 2014

Dangerous Boys

Can we take a moment to bow down to Abigail Haas, the queen of YA psychological thrillers? I don't know why she isn't a huge name in YA lit circles; she deserves praise for her ability to craft novels that explore the dark side of teenage girls' lives.

In the summer before college, Chloe was ready to escape her small town for adventures and a life beyond the whispers of her neighbors. Her mother's breakdown shatters that dream and she is left behind with nothing, except bills to pay and stress. In her words, "I'd always done the right thing, but there I was on a Friday night, pouring soda refills, while people who worked half as hard, sacrificed half as much, were living it up in a world I could only imagine." This state of desperate loneliness leaves her open to a relationship with Ethan, a sweet guy who sees Chloe as better than she sees herself. When Ethan's charismatic brother Oliver arrives, he begins a dangerous game that ends in death.

Dangerous Boys is incredible, a book that begs to be read in one greedy sitting and pondered afterwards, similar to Haas' Dangerous Girls (similar title but not related). None of the characters are likable, but all are engrossing, frustrating, and dark. I found myself irritated by Chloe's attraction to Oliver, who is so obviously bad news that he warns her, saying, "Deer may be stupid animals, but they are at least smart enough to run away when danger comes their way." If Chloe's family hadn't fallen apart, she never would have been drawn to the sinister Oliver and all that he brings out in her.

If you've read Haas' work, you adore it. If you haven't, you are missing out on a fascinating and twisted novel. Move Dangerous Boys to the top of your To Be Read pile.

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