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I found this book pretty good, interesting characters that werent as whiny as youd find in a typical Pike book while still following his usual fare of getting inside the mind of an American teenager, my only problems with this book are how much it goes on about how cute the guys are and how hot the girls are, relationships are important in a book like this but you shouldnt be overly worried about who wants to sleep with who, and the fact that he has a character in it that seems fairly important but nothing really comes of this character at the end, the character is a Spanish speaking sorcerer that tells a story that matches the general events that happened (the group of friends were after having a party when one of them was poisoned and her kidneys failed, months later theyre all invited by the girl and her adopted sister to an island where theyre trapped with a guy that turned up afterward who wants to uncover the truth) hes built up like an important main character but were left down by the fact that he doesnt even make an appearance with the whole group. The book does have its advantages however in the fact that most of the characters can take care of themselves, its very well written, and the fact that the mystery is built up for most of the book, theres even some humour here and I found the Mexican chain smoker Sol to be a truly great character in particular. Overall Id say read this book if you like suspence or just have time to kill in an airplane or waiting room.
+ THE STORY +
Nothing like ditching school before graduation to enjoy a long weekend with your classmates down in sunny Mexico, huh? The car journey is less than enjoyable due to the bumpy roads, and as much as Shani Tucker is looking forward to partying with her classmates in her best friend's holiday mansion and trying to land the boy of her dreams, her mind keeps bringing up a memory she would rather forget.
Robin Carlton, her best friend - is seriously ill, and has been missing a lot of school. As much as Shani is happy to be seeing Robin (particularly in such super-swanky settings - oh to be a millionaire's daughter), just a few pages in you stop and re-read a thought that has gone through Shani's head: "Robin is dead. We killed her."
Now, Robin is still very much alive but we discover that her kidneys aren't functioning and there is a lot of cheery optimism but the truth is that she may not have much time left since she was adopted and has no blood relatives to arrange a successful organ donation. I understand there are some people who feel naturally guilty about things, and feel they are to blame for things going wrong, but we're getting the impression from Shani that Robin's illness was actually caused by the actions of another. But what? And by whom?!
+ OTHER CHARACTERS +
Those guilty thoughts in Shani's head cease as her attentions turn to her other friends - and it becomes very much the little soap opera, let me tell you!
~ Robin's ex-boyfriend Park is Shani's close friend, who is now going out with Angie (he couldn't handle Robin's sudden illness and is very conscious and worried about Robin seeing him with his new girlfriend).
~ Kerry is a friend who Shani doesn't entirely trust as she is 'too impulsive', and went out with the tough, street-wise Sol until an unfortunate cheerleading incident led to Kerry's humiliation, and Sol ending up in the arms of another.
~ Lena (who Kerry believes orchestrated her downfall) is that other, and is Robin's adopted sister and the super-popular one who will always get what she wants (in the previous case, this was Sol).
~ Bert isn't involved in any of these 'Sunset Beach' type love triangles, but is a bit of a dope with amazing luck, apparently (getting to the last minute of an exam, and guessing the last half of the answers and getting them right, apparently).
~ Flynn is the object of Shani's affections, a quiet mysterious character who moved from England and seems to have implanted himself in the gang. Some folk begin to question his motives though, including Shani.
+ WHAT HAPPENS? (Ha! As if I'd give it away) +
Apart from a flat tyre leading to an odd encounter with a rattlesnake, a mysterious 'wiseman' type going on about a snake, an eagle and other birds, and that one of the boys is packin' (carrying a gun) the happy gang are soon back on the road heading towards the Carlton mansion, miles from anywhere, and a little bit confused as to why they haven't spotted any of their classmates yet.
Once they've arrived and settled in they discover that Robin has also spoken to the strange wiseman and try to decipher what his message meant. But what happens next just adds to their confusion. The phones go dead, there's an explosion that almost kills them all, Robin's dialysis machine doesn't seem to be working like it should, and Shani is torturing herself by reliving that night months ago at a house party when Robin got sick.
What's worse is that someone else wants to know what happened at that house party, and who is to blame for Robin's condition. Someone who will not rest until they find out the truth to exact their revenge...
+ MY OPINION (which is the only opinion worth knowing, obviously) +
An excellent Pike book with more characters than usual, but each crafted well enough to stand out in their own way. Robin can do no wrong even before the 'accident' and doesn't seem to have a bad bone in her body, Park is a bit of a prick for ditching her and going with easy Angie, Lena is rather likeable despite being the popular bitch, Kerry is a bit pathetic/pitiful with a chip on her shoulder, Angie's a tart with no morals, Sol is the bad boy but with more going on than he shows. Bert... well he's just Bert. And Flynn still seems to be the enigmatic English dude. The story seems to focus a bit more on Shani than the others, and she is a likeable character but I still find Lena the most exciting and daring.
This book I've read at least half a dozen times, and is one of Pike's best. You're always kept guessing and because nothing is given away you feel compelled to read on and find out just what happened at that house party to result in Robin's kidneys being damaged beyond repair. The problem is that everyone's memory is so hazy due to the alcohol consumed that night. The ending is rather satisfying too (although things are tied up a wee-bitty too nicely), you're actually rooting for the person (whoever it is) that's hell-bent on finding out who is responsible!
+ AVAILABILITY +
Amazon.co.uk marketplace - used and new from £0.01 (various editions)
Amazon.com marketplace - used and new from $0.01 (various editions)
eBay.co.uk - from £0.10 currently
eBay.com - from $0.38 from eBay stores
© bandcamp 2007-onwards, previous threats still apply to plagiarists
The weekend in Mexico seemed like a dream holiday, with an oceanside mansion all to themselves, but someone was taking their revenge. There was the girl upstairs fighting for her life, and the garage explosion that could have killed them all. The author's other books include Chain Letter.