Blog Tour Review: Lies My Memory Told Me

Title: Lies My Memory Told Me
Author: Sacha Wunsch
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Science Fiction
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: October 19, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the thrilling voice of Sacha Wunsch comes a heart-stopping psychological mystery in a world where memories can be shared—and one girl can’t trust any of them. 

Enhanced Memory changed everything. By sharing someone else’s memory, you can experience anything and everything with no risk at all: learn any skill instantly, travel the world from home, and safeguard all your most treasured secrets forever. Nova’s parents invented this technology, and it’s slowly taking over their lives. Nova doesn’t mind—mostly. She knows Enhanced Memory is a gift.

But Kade says Nova doesn’t know the costs of this technology that’s taken the world by storm. Kade runs a secret vlog cataloging real experiences, is always on the move, and is strangely afraid of Nova—even though she feels more comfortable with him than she ever has with anyone. Suddenly there are things Nova can’t stop noticing: the way her parents don’t meet her eyes anymore, the questions no one wants her to ask, and the relentless feeling that there’s something she’s forgotten…

Review:

Nova’s parents invented Enhanced Memories, which is technology that allows you to instantly gain a memory, including learning a skill, traveling the world, or doing a dangerous activity. Now, people can live through risky activities, such as skydiving or doing drugs, without any dangerous consequences. Though Nova’s parents created Enhanced Memories, she doesn’t know the real impact of this technology on the world. Then, she meets Kade. Kade has an anonymous YouTube account where he does risky activities that are now obsolete since people don’t have to do them to have the experience. Nova and Kade have different opinions on the effects of Enhanced Memory, but she is still drawn to him. When people start treating Nova differently, she starts her own research into what Enhanced Memories, and her parents, are really hiding from her.

This story hooked me right from the start. Immediately, there were things in Nova’s life that didn’t make sense. When she was out with friends, there were people who would approach her, thinking she was someone else. Nova worked part-time in a nursing home with a memory care unit. There were some great practical uses of Enhanced Memory with those patients, since their memories could be saved before they were lost. However, as with all inventions that seem helpful at first, Enhanced Memory was used in harmful ways as well.

Nova was a senior in high school, but the storyline about her school got lost throughout the book. The story focused more on her part time job and her social life. It would have made more sense to have that school storyline continue, since she was still a teenager. I also would have loved to see a longer ending where there was more closure. I really enjoyed this story, and I would love to see what happens next.

Lies My Memory Told Me was a great new YA contemporary novel!

Thank you Inkyard Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

This Is Why We Lie by Gabriella Lepore

This Town Is Not All Right by M.K. Krys

About the author:

Sacha Wunsch grew up dividing her time between the family farm in Canada and traveling to numerous fictional worlds. She was a bookseller before discovering her love of writing mind-twisty novels – which has proved an excellent job since she gets to blame all the TV she watches on her love of storytelling. She now splits her time between the city and the lake, and still travels to made-up worlds as often as she can.

Have you read Lies My Memory Told Me? What did you think of it?

Review: A Lesson in Vengeance

Title: A Lesson in Vengeance
Author: Victoria Lee
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Thriller, LGBTQ
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Source: Owlcrate
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: August 3, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Felicity Morrow is back at Dalloway School.

Perched in the Catskill mountains, the centuries-old, ivy-covered campus was home until the tragic death of her girlfriend. Now, after a year away, she’s returned to graduate. She even has her old room in Godwin House, the exclusive dormitory rumored to be haunted by the spirits of five Dalloway students—girls some say were witches. The Dalloway Five all died mysteriously, one after another, right on Godwin grounds.

Witchcraft is woven into Dalloway’s history. The school doesn’t talk about it, but the students do. In secret rooms and shadowy corners, girls convene. And before her girlfriend died, Felicity was drawn to the dark. She’s determined to leave that behind her now; all Felicity wants is to focus on her senior thesis and graduate. But it’s hard when Dalloway’s occult history is everywhere. And when the new girl won’t let her forget.

It’s Ellis Haley’s first year at Dalloway, and she’s already amassed a loyal following. A prodigy novelist at seventeen, Ellis is a so-called “method writer.” She’s eccentric and brilliant, and Felicity can’t shake the pull she feels to her. So when Ellis asks Felicity for help researching the Dalloway Five for her second book, Felicity can’t say no. Given her history with the arcane, Felicity is the perfect resource.

And when history begins to repeat itself, Felicity will have to face the darkness in Dalloway–and in herself.

Review:

Felicity Morrow has returned to Dalloway School to redo her senior year, after her best friend and secret girlfriend, Alex, died the year before. Her dorm, Godwin House, is rumored to be haunted by the ghosts of five former students who died in mysterious, magical circumstances. Felicity has always been drawn to dark things, but she had to give up her magic beliefs after Alex died. Now, Ellis Haley, a writing prodigy, has moved into Godwin House to complete her senior year. Ellis needs to complete her second book, and she enlists Felicity’s help in researching the ghosts of Dalloway for her project. Felicity can’t help but be drawn to Ellis, until they both take their research too far.

I knew I would love this book as soon as I heard about it! It had a dark, isolated setting in a dormitory of a girl’s school. Their house was separated from the other dorms and close to the woods. The girls didn’t even use cell phones, despite being teenagers, so they were isolated from the rest of the world that way too.

Felicity was a very unreliable narrator, but that kept the story unpredictable. When Felicity would explain certain things or tell a story from her past, it would soon be revealed that it was untrue. Sometimes this can be frustrating in a narrator, but in this case, it made for some shocking twists throughout the story.

I highly recommend A Lesson in Vengeance!

What to read next:

S.T.A.G.S. by M.A. Bennett

Dark and Shallow Lies by Ginny Myers Sain

Have you read A Lesson in Vengeance? What did you think of it?

Review: The Woods Are Always Watching

Title: The Woods Are Always Watching
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Thriller
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: August 31, 2021
Rating: ★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A companion to There’s Someone Inside Your House.

Bears aren’t the only predators in these woods.

Best friends Neena and Josie spent high school as outsiders, but at least they had each other. Now, with college and a two-thousand-mile separation looming on the horizon, they have one last chance to be together—a three-day hike deep into the woods of the Pisgah National Forest.

Simmering tensions lead to a detour off the trail and straight into a waking nightmare; and then into something far worse. Something that will test them in horrifying ways.

Review:

Best friends Neena and Josie want to have some special time together before they go away to college. They have never backpacked or camped before, but they decide it would be a nice chance to bond before they are separated. During their three-day trip, they venture off the hiking trail and fall into a nightmare. The woods are haunted by more than just bears.

This book wasn’t what I was expecting at all. It was described as a companion to There’s Someone Inside Your House, which I loved. That book had more thriller aspects, but this one was gruesome and horrorific.

What I found strange was that the real suspense didn’t actually begin until halfway through the story. The first half described their camping challenges in detail, which have assured me that I never want to go on a trip like that. The second half of the story was filled with gruesome horror scenes. It was quite disturbing at times. I only kept reading because I wanted to know what happened with the girls. The story didn’t end the way I had expected to, so I’ll give it credit for that.

Unfortunately, The Woods Are Always Watching was a disappointing read.

Thank you Dutton Books for Young Readers for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Wildfire by Carrie Mac

Have you read The Woods Are Always Watching? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: This Is Why We Lie

Title: This Is Why We Lie
Author: Gabriella Lepore
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: September 21, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Everyone in Gardiners Bay has a secret.

When Jenna Dallas and Adam Cole find Colleen O’Dell’s body floating off the shore of their coastal town, the community of Gardiners Bay is shaken. But even more shocking is the fact that her drowning was no accident.

Once Jenna’s best friend becomes a key suspect, Jenna starts to look for answers on her own. As she uncovers scandals inside Preston Prep School leading back to Rookwood reform school, she knows she needs Adam on her side.

As a student at Rookwood, Adam is used to getting judgmental looks, but now his friends are being investigated by the police. Adam will do whatever he can to keep them safe, even if that means trusting Jenna.

As lies unravel, the truth starts to blur. Only one thing is certain: somebody must take the fall.

Review:

One morning, while Jenna was standing at the harbour taking photos, she found Adam pulling a body from the water. Her friend, Colleen, had drowned but it wasn’t an accident. Jenna’s best friend is the main suspect, but she is certain that her friend didn’t do it. Adam and his friends also had a connection to Colleen. She had threatened him and his friends the night before her body was found. Adam and Jenna bond over this tragedy. Everyone has a motive and everyone is keeping secrets, but the clock is ticking down until they find the murderer.

This was such a fast paced thriller. It had short chapters that flew by quickly. It was really hard to put this book down because there were so many twists.

It’s been a while since a thriller truly surprised me. I couldn’t figure out how this story was going to end and I was really surprised. I liked that there wasn’t any wasted space. Every chapter and scene was important to the plot and it wrapped up quickly at the end.

This is Why Why Lie is an exciting, fast paced thriller!

Thank you Inkyard Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

About the author:

Gabriella Lepore is a YA author from South Wales in the United Kingdom. She lives in the countryside with her husband James and daughter Sophia. When she isn’t reading or writing, she can usually be found exploring the coastline. She enjoys cups of tea, bookstore coffee shops, stormy beaches, and autumn days.

Have you read This Is Why We Lie? What did you think of it?

Review: Dark and Shallow Lies

Title: Dark and Shallow Lies
Author: Ginny Myers Sain
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Thriller
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: September 7, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A teen girl disappears from her small town deep in the bayou, where magic festers beneath the surface of the swamp like water rot, in this chilling debut supernatural thriller for fans of Natasha Preston, Karen McManus, and Rory Power.

La Cachette, Louisiana, is the worst place to be if you have something to hide.

This tiny town, where seventeen-year-old Grey spends her summers, is the self-proclaimed Psychic Capital of the World–and the place where Elora Pellerin, Grey’s best friend, disappeared six months earlier.

Grey can’t believe that Elora vanished into thin air any more than she can believe that nobody in a town full of psychics knows what happened. But as she digs into the night that Elora went missing, she begins to realize that everybody in town is hiding something – her grandmother Honey; her childhood crush Hart; and even her late mother, whose secrets continue to call to Grey from beyond the grave.

When a mysterious stranger emerges from the bayou – a stormy-eyed boy with links to Elora and the town’s bloody history – Grey realizes that La Cachette’s past is far more present and dangerous than she’d ever understood. Suddenly, she doesn’t know who she can trust. In a town where secrets lurk just below the surface, and where a murderer is on the loose, nobody can be presumed innocent–and La Cachette’s dark and shallow lies may just rip the town apart.

Review:

Grey spends her summers in her hometown of La Cachette, Louisiana, the Psychic Capital of the World. This is the first time Grey has returned since her best friend, Elora, went missing earlier in the year. Grey and Elora were closer than friends. They shared a birthday and always felt like sisters. Grey’s goal for the summer was to find out the truth of what happened to Elora. However, she didn’t think she would discover the truths behind other mysterious disappearances and deaths, including the secrets her mother took to her grave.

This was a spooky, mystical story, perfect for the fall season. The town of La Cachette was full of psychics. All of the kids born in the same year as Grey had some kind of psychic ability. Grey didn’t think she had a gift until she started seeing visions of what happened to Elora in her final moments. The town itself was also spooky. It was quite isolated from the rest of the world. The town was the target of hurricanes, like New Orleans. It added to the spookiness and unpredictability of the town.

The ending was shocking and surprising. There was one character who I found suspicious from the beginning, and I thought they were the one responsible for Elora’s disappearance. This character was involved, but it was a complicated ending. There were some other revelations at the end that were quite disturbing and unexpected.

Dark and Shallow Lies is a creepy YA story.

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Burn Our Bodies Down by Rory Power

The Cousins by Karen M. McManus

Have you read Dark and Shallow Lies? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: Where I Left Her

Title: Where I Left Her
Author: Amber Garza
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Mira Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: August 24, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

From the author of When I Was You comes a spine-tingling new thriller about a mother’s worst nightmare come true, when her teenage daughter goes to a sleepover and doesn’t come back.

Whitney had some misgivings when she dropped her increasingly moody teenage daughter, Amelia, off at Lauren’s house. She’d never met the parents, and usually she’d go in, but Amelia clearly wasn’t going to let something so humiliating happen, so instead Whitney waved to her daughter before pulling away from the little house with the roses in front.

But when she goes back the next day, an elderly couple answers the door—Amelia and Lauren aren’t there, and this couple swears they never were, that she’s at the wrong house. As Whitney searches for Amelia, she uncovers a trail of lies her daughter has told her—from the Finsta account to rumors of a secret relationship. Does she really even know this girl she’s raised? And Amelia’s not the only one with secrets. Could Whitney’s own demons have something to do with her daughter’s disappearance, and can Whitney find her before it’s too late?

Review:

Whitney dropped off her sixteen-year-old daughter, Amelia, at a friend’s house for a sleepover. She didn’t meet the friend’s parents or walk her inside, despite feeling protective of her daughter, because she knew it would humiliate Amelia. When Whitney returned the next morning to pick up her daughter, an elderly couple answered the door. They’d never heard of Amelia and didn’t see her the night before. Whitney has to search for her daughter, which brings back some dark secrets from her past.

This story didn’t waste anytime getting right into the drama. I loved this premise. Even though I new it was coming, I still found it creepy when Whitney went to her daughter’s friend’s house and she wasn’t there. There were twists and cliffhangers at the end of the chapters that kept me turning the pages.

I thought I had the ending all figured out, but I was completely wrong. Twice I was certain I knew what had happened but I was wrong both times. Though my predictions were wrong, the ending made sense.

Where I Left Her is a suspenseful thriller!

Thank you HarperCollins for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

When I Was You by Amber Garza

The Last Thing He Told Me by Laura Dave

About the author:

Amber Garza has had a passion for the written word since she was a child making books out of notebook paper and staples. Her hobbies include reading and singing. Coffee and wine are her drinks of choice (not necessarily in that order). She writes while blaring music, and talks about her characters like they’re real people. She lives with her husband and two kids in Folsom, California.

Have you read Where I Left Her? What did you think of it?

Review: This Town Is Not All Right (This Town Is Not All Right #1)

Title: This Town Is Not All Right (This Town Is Not All Right #1)
Author: M.K. Krys
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Horror
Publisher: Penguin Workshop
Source: Library
Format: Ebook
Release Date: August 11, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Driftwood Harbor may seem like an ordinarily boring, small New England town, but there’s something extremely strange and downright creepy happening within town limits.

Twins Beacon and Everleigh McCullough are moving from their home in sunny L.A. to Driftwood Harbor, a rainy fishing village in New England. If that wasn’t bad enough, there’s something strange about this town and the mysterious group of too-perfect students called The Gold Stars. After Everleigh is recruited into their ranks, Beacon must uncover Driftwood Harbor’s frightening secret before he loses his sister forever.

This Town Is Not All Right is the middle-grade horror debut from M.K. Kyrs (YA author Michelle Krys). Be prepared for a thrilling page-turner with a major mystery because the residents of Driftwood Harbor will do whatever it takes to keep their dark secrets from rising to the surface.

Review:

Teenage twins Beacon and Everleigh McCullough move from LA to a small New England town with their dad a year after the death of their older brother. They are all looking for a fresh start. Beacon notices immediately that people in the town are acting strangely. Soon after they start school, Everleigh becomes friends with the Gold Stars, an elite group. Her personality changes and she becomes a much more positive person, like the rest of the strange people in town. Beacon is scared of losing his sister, so he has to hunt for the secrets hidden beneath this town.

This was an incredibly fast-paced story. I love stories with a spooky atmosphere. This small town was so creepy and it had a history of a UFO landing. Since the story was fast-paced, it didn’t take long to find out what was happening.

The ending of this story was so intense. I love it when the plans keep changing and you can’t tell who’s on what side. I was holding my breath for the last couple of chapters, and I was shocked until the last page. I’m so glad I don’t have to wait a long time to read the sequel, because it was just published this week.

This Town Is Not Okay is a fast-paced young adult thriller!

What to read next:

This Town Is a Nightmare by M.K. Krys

Whispering Pines by Heidi Lang and Kati Bartkowski

Other books in the series:

  • This Town Is a Nightmare

Have you read This Town Is Not All Right? What did you think of it?

Review: The Temple House Vanishing

Title: The Temple House Vanishing
Author: Rachel Donohue
Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Source: Thomas Allen and Son (book distributor)
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: July 6, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

An Irish Bestseller and finalist for the Irish Book Awards Newcomer of the Year

Louisa is the new scholarship student at Temple House, a drafty, imposing cliffside boarding school full of girls as chilly as the mansion itself. There is one other outsider, an intense and compelling student provocateur named Victoria, and the two girls form a fierce bond. But their friendship is soon unsettled by a young art teacher, Mr. Lavelle, whose charismatic presence ignites tension and obsession in the cloistered world of the school.

Then one day, Louisa and Mr. Lavelle vanish without a trace, never to be found. Now, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the disappearance, one journalist—a woman who grew up on the same street as Louisa—delves into the past, determined to uncover the truth. She finds stories of jealousy and revenge, power and class. But might she find Louisa and Mr. Lavelle, too?

Told in alternating points of view, The Temple House Vanishing is tense, atmospheric, and page-turning . . . with a shocking, ingenious conclusion.

Review:

Louisa was a scholarship student at Temple House, a Catholic boarding school on the edge of a cliff. She became friends with Victoria, an intriguing girl who had a close relationship with their art teacher Mr. Lavelle. One day, Louisa and Mr. Lavelle vanished without a trace. The school soon closed and the case was never solved. Now, 25 years after they disappeared, a journalist begins her own investigation into what really happened to Louisa and Mr. Lavelle.

This was a slow burn thriller. It was told through alternating perspectives, from the journalist in the present and Louisa in the past. This provided an outsider view of the investigation and Louisa’s firsthand account of what happened in the months leading up to her death. Though it wasn’t fast paced, it was an unpredictable story in this format.

The writing was very descriptive. The settings were all described in detail, so I felt like I was right there with the characters. Boarding schools are one of my favourite settings in books. Temple House was the perfect, spooky setting for this story.

The Temple House Vanishing is an evocative thriller.

Thank you Thomas Allen and Son for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Finishing School by Joanna Goodman

The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

Have you read The Temple House Vanishing? What did you think of it?

Review: They Wish They Were Us

Title: They Wish They Were Us
Author: Jessica Goodman
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Contemporary
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Purchased
Format: Ebook
Release Date: August 4, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A murder mystery set against the backdrop of an exclusive prep school on Long Island.

In Gold Coast, Long Island, everything from the expensive downtown shops to the manicured beaches, to the pressed uniforms of Jill Newman and her friends, looks perfect. But as Jill found out three years ago, nothing is as it seems.

Freshman year Jill’s best friend, the brilliant, dazzling Shaila Arnold, was killed by her boyfriend. After that dark night on the beach, Graham confessed, the case was closed, and Jill tried to move on.

Now, it’s Jill’s senior year and she’s determined to make it her best yet. After all, she’s a senior and a Player–a member of Gold Coast Prep’s exclusive, not-so-secret secret society. Senior Players have the best parties, highest grades and the admiration of the entire school. This is going to be Jill’s year. She’s sure of it.

But when Jill starts getting texts proclaiming Graham’s innocence, her dreams of the perfect senior year start to crumble. If Graham didn’t kill Shaila, who did? Jill vows to find out, but digging deeper could mean putting her friendships, and her future, in jeopardy.

Review:

Jill Newman and her friends attend Gold Coast Prep in Long Island, where she’s part of the elite Players group. The Players are an exclusive group of students who have power in the school. This power includes having access to all the tests and assignments in the school, so they can keep their grades up while they’re partying in their free time. Three years ago, Jill’s best friend Shaila was killed during their initiation into the Players. Now, Shaila’s boyfriend, who was convicted in her murder, is claiming he’s innocent. Jill can’t help but question if he’s telling the truth, so she digs into past, while jeopardizing her future.

This was a creepy and authentic view of the power hierarchy in high school. All schools may not have a group like the Players, but there are always popular kids who have power over the other students and who get away with a lot more. The senior members of the Players would force the younger members to do horrible things, including drinking excessively, taking drugs, and taking part in sexual assaults and harassment. These were humiliating things, that the younger kids thought they had to do to impress the older ones, but it, unfortunately, felt like realistic bullying.

There was one character that I thought was suspicious right from the beginning. I was correct in suspecting that character, because they had done something horrible that was revealed at the end. Even though I was right, I still got chills reading the ending.

They Wish They Were Us is an intense young adult thriller!

What to read next:

These Vengeful Hearts by Katherine Laurin

One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Have you read They Wish They Were Us? What did you think of it?

Review: Tell Me When You Feel Something

Title: Tell Me When You Feel Something
Author: Vicki Grant
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Contemporary
Publisher: VIZ Media
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: June 15, 2021
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The perfect after-school job turns deadly for teens working as simulated patients at the local med school. Everyone has something to hide and no one is safe in this contemporary YA thriller that exposes the dark reality of #MeToo in the world of medicine, for fans of Karen McManus and Holly Jackson.

It seemed like a cool part-time program — being a simulated patient for med school students to practice on. But now vivacious, charismatic Viv lies in a very real coma. Cellphone footage just leads to more questions. What really happened? Other kids suspect it was not an intentional overdose — but each has a reason why they can’t tell the truth.

Through intertwining and conflicting narratives, a twisted story unfolds of trust betrayed as we sift through the seemingly innocent events leading up to the tragic night. Perhaps simulated patients aren’t the only people pretending to be something they’re not . . .

Review:

Viv worked with her friends as simulated patients for medical students. It seemed like an innocent job, but after a party, Viv ends up in a coma from an overdose. No one can believe that she would have taken drugs on purpose, but there’s a lot about Viv’s life that no one knew. Through the accounts of her friends Davida and Tim, as well as police interviews and Viv’s own narrative, the story of what really happened to Viv is slowly pieced together.

This was an intense and unpredictable thriller. There were lots of twists throughout the story. Every time the narrative switched to a different character, I wanted to continue the previous narrative. I figured out part of what was going on with Viv pretty early. However I couldn’t figure out the connection with the overdose, so that was a surprise.

I don’t want to give spoilers but there were some potentially triggering parts of this book. There was alcohol abuse, drug abuse, parental abandonment, sexual assault, and rape. These parts made the book quite intense and disturbing at times. They were integral to the plot but also potentially triggering.

Tell Me When You Feel Something is an intense young adult thriller!

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Window by Amelia Brunskill

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

Have you read Tell Me When You Feel Something? What did you think of it?