Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Review: Dangerous Boys by Abigail Haas

Title: Dangerous Boys
Author: Abigail Haas
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books
Release date: August 14th 2014
Pages: 336
Genre: Young Adult contemporary mystery
Source: Bought
It all comes down to this. Oliver, Ethan, and I. Three teens venture into an abandoned lake house one night. Hours later, only two emerge from the burning wreckage. Chloe drags one Reznick brother to safety, unconscious and bleeding. The other is left to burn, dead in the fire. But which brother survives? And is his death a tragic accident? Desperate self-defense? Or murder ...? Chloe is the only one with the answers. As the fire rages, and police and parents demand the truth, she struggles to piece the story together - a story of jealousy, twisted passion and the darkness that lurks behind even the most beautiful faces ...
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I read Dangerous Girls over two years ago, and even though I have the worst memory when it comes to books, it's still been stuck in my head as one of my all-time favorite psychological thrillers. So to say that I had high expectations of Dangerous Boys would be an understatement. And while I didn't love it quite as much as Dangerous Girls, Dangerous Boys is another captivating psychological thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat!

Like in Dangerous Girls, I was really impresses by the pacing and the structure of Dangerous Boys. It switches back and forth between then (when Chloe first meets Ethan and Oliver), the end (the scene at the burning house), and now (when Chloe is at the hospital, piecing things back together for the police). Usually, when a novel switches back and forth like that, there will be one part that's a lot more suspenseful and fun to read about, and one part you just kind of have to get through to get to the other. But that's not the case here; I absolutely loved all three parts! The scenes in which Chloe first meets Ethan are more innocent, but that part becomes suspenseful, too, when she meets Oliver and things start to get out of hand. The three elements of the story are woven together seamlessly, and I'm very impressed by how well this pacing and structure works.

The characters are hard to explain; talking about whether I related to them or liked them would be kind of irrelevant because these characters aren't supposed to be likable. All of them are complex, intriguing, well-crafted characters, and that's all that matters. Chloe is hard to understand at times because she changes so much over the course of the novel. The scenes in which she seemed the most human, to me, were the ones with her mother; Chloe's mother suffers from severe depression, and Chloe is constantly torn between staying in town to take care of her and leaving the small town she grew up in and live her dream of going away for college. This is tough to read abut at times but made Chloe a lot more real to me. Ethan isn't a character I liked all that much - he's very smothering, the "you'll always be mine"-type of guy - but like I said, whether I liked him is irrelevant because his role works really well in the novel, and that's all that matters. Oliver, I really wasn't sure what to make of - he's definitely a complex and intriguing character. I never felt like I really understood him, but you're not supposed to. I just wish the relationship between him and Chloe had developed a little bit slower in order to make their connection a little more realistic. I also wish the character of Ethan's and Oliver's mom had been developed a little more throughout the novel, since she does play a more important role in the end. Regardless, all of these characters are well-written and complex, and that's what makes this story so intriguing.

The reason I didn't love Dangerous Boys quite as much as Dangerous Girls - even though it's close - is that the ending didn't knock me off my feet the way the ending of Dangerous Girls did. The ending of Dangerous Girls, I never saw coming, so when I found out what really happened, it made me rethink everything I had read before that. And sadly, Dangerous Boys doesn't have an ending like that; the clues were a lot more obvious this time, and I already knew more or less what had happened, even if the details aren't revealed until the end. Rather than packing it all in the ending, Dangerous Boys has twists and surprises throughout the entire novel, which makes for a captivating and suspenseful read.

To be honest, I don't think anything I've written really does Dangerous Boys justice; it's the kind of book you just have to read for yourself. If you like psychological thrillers, or any kind of books that will have your heart beating faster as you turn the pages late into the night, you should definitely pick up both Dangerous Girls and Dangerous Boys. I really hope Abigail Haas publishes more YA psychological thrillers, because they're some of the best I've read.


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