Happy New Year everyone! Cannot believe it’s already 2020 and so far it’s been pretty good. I got some reading in and got to rest a little bit before going back to work tomorrow. I swear the Christmas and New Year holidays always mess me up when it comes to my work schedule. But at least I get to start the year off with another blog tour post, courtesy of Harlequin Trade Publishing! Thank you so much for having me on your Winter 2020 Mystery/Thriller Blog Tour. It has been such a fun time.
Perched atop a hill in the tiny town of Marchburg, Virginia, The Goode School is a prestigious prep school known as a Silent Ivy. The boarding school of choice for daughters of the rich and influential, it accepts only the best and the brightest. Its elite status, long-held traditions and honor code are ideal for preparing exceptional young women for brilliant futures at Ivy League universities and beyond. But a stranger has come to Goode, and this ivy has turned poisonous.
In a world where appearances are everything, as long as students pretend to follow the rules, no one questions the cruelties of the secret societies or the dubious behavior of the privileged young women who expect to get away with murder. But when a popular student is found dead, the truth cannot be ignored. Rumors suggest she was struggling with a secret that drove her to suicide.
But look closely…because there are truths and there are lies, and then there is everything that really happened.
J.T. Ellison’s pulse-pounding new novel examines the tenuous bonds of friendship, the power of lies and the desperate lengths people will go to to protect their secrets.
J.T. Ellison is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than 20 novels, and the EMMY-award winning co-host of A WORD ON WORDS, Nashville’s premier literary show. With millions of books in print, her work has won critical acclaim, prestigious awards, and has been published in 26 countries. Ellison lives in Nashville with her husband and twin kittens.
Suicide, Death, Bullying, Drug Abuse, Physical Abuse
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Netgalley, Mira Books and Harlequin Trade Publishing for this free copy.
This was my first book from Ellison, and I don’t know if all of her books are like this, but the writing style was very interesting. The entire premise of this novel was pretty interesting when I think back on this. I believe it was the narration in the beginning that had me intrigued the most part, because it starts off with someone being found dead on the front gates of The Goode School. Now, this all-girls school is very small, very elite, so clearly it wouldn’t take very long to figure out who it was, which I can’t believe it would start off like that.
Then when that third person narrator tells us who it is, we end up going back in time in the POV of the victim, and wow. Ash Carlisle is an interesting sixteen year old girl. Sometimes when I was reading it, I would forget that she was supposed to be sixteen. Actually, all the time, I kept forgetting that she was only sixteen. She gets accepted into The Goode School as a sophomore, and yet when I hear her voice throughout the novel, I felt like I was listening to a young 20 year old woman. Maybe it was her upbringing in Oxford, I mean she did come from a very rich family after all. Her father, really. Her mother just married into it. Her vocabulary had me highlighting all these words to get the definitions, and then feeling stupid for not knowing them right away. Her mannerisms were something I wouldn’t have pegged for a girl like her, and yet she was one of the most interesting characters in this entire novel.
I was a little bummed at how one of the few brown girls that we know of in this novel is hostile towards Ash over something that wasn’t even her doing? At first we think Vanessa – the brown girl – is going to be a friend and ally to Ash, but then when Ash gets an invitation to “the attics” for something that’s supposed to be prestigious or whatever, Vanessa gets all bitchy. Then her suite-mates as well – mostly Camille – starts treating Ash like the enemy and that just didn’t sit well with me. I know girls are supposed to be catty or whatever, but the girl on girl hate gets me every single time, and not in the good way. I get that drama has to happen somehow, but I mean the deaths could have been drama enough. No need for girls to randomly hate on one another for no reason. They are already in a league of their own. It would be better if they were supportive of one another when they are already isolated from the rest of the world, in a sense.
Other than that, I was intrigued by the mystery that surrounded this novel. The mystery surrounding Ash, her reasoning for keeping her true identity a secret, for trying to stay under the radar. She was an interesting character and while I wasn’t necessarily rooting for her to survive by any means, I couldn’t help but respect her for everything that she went through. Dean Ford was also an interesting character, whenever we would get to see from her point of view. Well, not really since whenever it was her chapters, it was a third person POV. But you know what I mean.