This book is described as a paranormal mystery/thriller and that’s a pretty accurate description. The book is written in a unique style of writing, and based on other reviews, it’s not for everyone. That said, if you can put yourself in the right headspace when you read this book, I think you will enjoy it. The writing is more lyrical and ethereal than straight-forward fiction, so if you like more experimental writing styles, definitely check this book out.
The book is narrated by Margaret Moore, a teenage girl that has spent each summer since age 9 at the Marshall Summer Naval School. There, she made three best friends who have spent each summer together since they started. They are upper classman now, going into their last summer at the camp, which is called first class summer, and basically means they are now “first class” – sort of like a military rank. (I can understand why some people get confused, because there are third, second and first class summers. If you think about it as 10, 11 and 12th grade, third class summer is 10th grade, 11th grade is second summer and 12th grade is first summer). They are in Deck Five, a loyal group of hardworking, hard charging girls.
The time line shifts back and forth throughout the entire book. Once you understand what the names of the “summers” means, it’s easy to follow the plot. During the previous summer, Margaret started secretly dating a popular boy who is basically described as being out of her social class. Margaret believed them to be deeply in love, but circumstances occur to shatter the relationship. Events that she kept secret from her best friends, and all of Deck Five. I can’t go into too many details because that touches on the mystery. Because of events that occurred the previous summer, Margaret’s school term ends early and the summer finale Victory Race is cancelled. Naturally, the rest of the school is bitter about that and gives the returning girls of Deck Five a hard time.
Once I got used to the different style of writing (it’s kind of like dissociative association and the speaker is kind of just rambling until they get to the point, repeating certain phrases and “thinking” out loud) I enjoyed the book. It did get a bit repetitive in the middle and the conclusion drug out a bit too long, but otherwise, it was a satisfying ending.
I enjoyed the plot and thought there were some interesting surprises in the book. It was fun to read something different and I encourage you to branch out and explore it and give it a try. I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press, Wednesday Books. All opinions are my own.