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  • Mandy McHugh

The Girls Are All So Nice Here, Laurie Elizabeth Flynn: A Five-Star Review

This cover caught my attention immediately, and when I read the blurb, I had high hopes for a taut psychological suspense, and boy, did this book deliver.

In her freshman year at Wesleyan, Amb is trying to figure out who she is in a sea of girls who seem to know exactly who they are. The breakup with her boyfriend still stinging, she doesn't see herself sharing much in common with her roommate, Flora (and Flora's perfect relationship with her Dartmouth-boyfriend, Kevin) and through a series of risky dares, she becomes closer with Sloan. One night changes the course of her life forever, and as the tenth anniversary of graduation approaches, Amb receives an ominous note, forcing her to return to her old stomping grounds and face the consequences of what she did that night. I can't even hide it. I loved this book. It's not because I loved the MC--I actually found Amb to be pretty shitty in her behaviors, both past and present. But, her raw honesty was endearing and gave her an edgy vulnerability. Yes, she made some poor choices. She was selfish and brutal and hurt people on purpose--but who hasn't made similar mistakes at that age? Young, hurt, and confused--Flynn did an excellent job of finding a balance between despicable and relatable, and because of that, I couldn't get enough of her voice. Having gone to a small college with similar groups melding together and unsure of my own place, I saw a lot of my own college experience, from the toxic relationships to the cattiness, the distrust and the confusion, but Flynn expertly weaves the mystery into a ticking time bomb of revelations. The flashbacks were the epitome of psychological suspense. Sloan and Amb's relationship reminded me a lot of The Craft, that twisted love/hate dynamic, manipulative and pointed. I will say that I wasn't surprised at how they fed off each other, but I devoured this in a single sitting because I had to know what happened. The present timeline set the stage for more of a classic mystery, and I spent most of those moments trying to piece together the puzzle. I had this one pegged pretty early on, but there are so much beautiful doubt, that it was fun getting to see how everything unraveled. Overall, The Girls Are All So Nice Here is a taut, smart, gripping psychological suspense that bleeds nostalgia and secrets. I look forward to more from Flynn, as this will definitely be a 2021 must read. Out in March, add it to your TBR now. You'll thank me later. Big thanks to Simon and Schuster for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.

 

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