“Oh sweetie, we were the mean girls.”
There are some books that make you feel as if you have just scrambled out of a dark, endless maze when you’ve finished it. I’ve just clambered out of one! Laden with a fast-paced and intense plot with plenty of mind forking twists, this was a gripping tale that had me on the edge of my seat, eager to know what would happen next. I’m referring to the recently released psychological thriller, ‘The Girls Are All So Nice Here,’ written by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn.
The Girls Are All So Nice Here (Review)
A fan of all things mystery, I was on the lookout for a juicy and compulsive thriller, something that could bring much-needed excitement in this otherwise bleak and stressful pandemic time. A couple of extensive online searches later, I landed on this one. One glance at the book cover, and I immediately thought, oh, just another high school drama! But boy, was I wrong! This book gave me the chills! In fact, when a book begins with a dedication to ‘every girl who got what she wanted at a cost she couldn’t afford‘, I should have known that that was my cue for a rollercoaster read. I guess I’ll never learn—anyway, enough of my rambling. Let’s get to the plot.
The book opens with the protagonist (or, is she?), Ambrosia “Amb” Wellington, receiving an email invite to her class reunion. It’s not just any informal get-together of former classmates; it’s the ten-year college reunion and, therefore, an occasion for the entire alumni to celebrate along with their spouses. For Amb, however, Wesleyan University is a reminder of a dreadful chapter of her life she never wants to revisit. Seeing how Amb is fielding the many invitations requesting her confirmation to the reunion, one might think she’s trying to avoid unpleasant encounters with any former bullies who belittled her. But a few pages into the book, we get to know that Amb was not the poor suffering victim, but rather the despicable, mean girl who made life a living hell for the others.
Now, a successful career woman and married to the love of her life who knows nothing about the terrible things she has committed in the past, she’s managed to build a new life for herself. She’s not the same person anymore, or at least she likes to believe she’s not, has managed to come out of the clutches of her former college best friend, Sloane “Sully” Sullivan, who brought out her monstrous side and prompted her to do vicious things without much regard for herself or others. Having eliminated any trace of evil from her personality now, she has safely put her troubled past behind her. Or, that’s what she thought until she receives an anonymous letter:
“We need to talk about what we did that night.”
And from that point on, things get really intense and interesting! And for me, as a reader, this marked the juncture where I really got sucked into the story. Who sent that letter? What ‘night’ are they referring to? And most importantly, what happened that night? My head was reeling from these questions!
Getting back to the plot, this anonymous letter forces Amb to finally confront her past that she h/as been trying all her might to run away from. Although to the outside world, it may look like she is living a happy, blissful existence, she alone knows the weight of the guilt she has been carrying. Hoping to get closure, she, along with her gullible and unsuspecting husband, goes back to the scene of the crime, the ‘Dorm Doom’ as it was nicknamed after that infamous night. But as Amb receives more threatening letters and her husband begins to hear of some of her carefully concealed secrets, will she be made to pay the price for what she did all those years ago?
We all have had that nemesis who has threatened to wreak havoc on our existence at some point or the other in our lives. If one of them were to tell a story, from their point of view, justifying and defending the vile things they have done, how would it be? This book is just that. For Amb, fresh from a devastating breakup and desperate to shed her ‘small town girl’ image, the things she does to become one of the ‘It Girls’ is truly terrifying. Even as she knows that her actions could bring immeasurable pain to others, she still goes ahead with Sully’s evil schemes in order to gain acceptance. Although I could understand the motives that led to Amb doing the things she did, I couldn’t bring myself to feel any sympathy for her. Blame it on peer pressure or adolescence, but we all have seen young adults become someone they are not, acting cool, spending all their time in social parties, and getting wasted on drinks and drugs simply in their need to ‘belong.’ And while most bullying is about the small things, it is often the smallest things that have the gravest consequences. It is for this reason that this book becomes an extremely relevant read for the present times. Narrated through Ambrosia’s point of view, switching between the past and present, this book touches upon some of the worrying social issues faced among teenagers, such as anxiety disorders, sexual assault, and substance abuse, to name a few.
Hats off to Laurie Elizabeth Flynn for a cleverly crafted and thrilling read! There was nothing in this book that I didn’t like. Ms. Flynn manages to keep the story seamlessly moving, bringing in unexpected twists that keep the readers engrossed. And as for the climax, nothing prepared me for that ending! I was literally left with my mouth hanging open! So, if you are craving for a brilliantly woven murder mystery, then you know what you should be reading next! Trust me. You won’t regret it! You can get the book here! 📖
The Girls Are All So Nice Here
"Oh sweetie, we were the mean girls."
Author: Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
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