06. November 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Courtney, Fiction, Mystery, Teen Books

The Girl in the Park by Mariah Fredericks , 224 pages, read by Courtney, on 10/31/2013

Rain is a quiet girl who attends a swanky private school in New York. The day after a party, Rain gets a call from the mother of an old friend wondering if Rain has seen her daughter. Rain had seen her old friend, Wendy, at the party the night before, but had left before Wendy. Within hours, a call from the police comes in with reports that Wendy’s body has been found in Central Park. Consumed with the guilt of not having acted on her instincts at the party and angry at the lack of compassion shown by her classmates, Rain decides to investigate a bit on her own.
Rain had previously been a close friend of Wendy’s, but Wendy had aspirations of popularity, which involved people and activities that Rain had little interest in. Wendy had since earned the reputation of being a party girl and notorious boyfriend stealer. In other words, Wendy had plenty of people who didn’t like her for a variety of reasons. When evidence that the killer may be a student at their prestigious boarding school is leaked, Rain becomes convinced that she knows who the killer is, but she must get out of her personal safety zone if she’s going to get justice for Wendy.
This book reads a lot like a Gossip Girls-style whodunnit. The lives of the characters are those of extreme privilege, which largely makes them unlikable. Rain as a character is interesting enough. She was born with a cleft palette, which led to years of speech therapy. As a result, she doesn’t like speaking out loud with people she doesn’t know well. She’s also surprisingly sympathetic to Wendy’s situation, but still relatively naive with regards to the lifestyle Wendy led. The plot moves fast and there are a few twists and turns, but observant readers will have the mystery solved long before the end of the book comes.

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