by Teresa Toten
To be published by Delacorte BFYR
on May 31, 2016
Synopsis from Goodreads: The Haves. The Have-Nots. Kate O’Brian appears to be a Have-Not. Her whole life has been a series of setbacks she’s had to snake her way out of—some more sinister than others. But she’s determined to change that. She’s book smart. She’s street-smart. Oh, and she’s also a masterful liar. As the scholarship student at the Waverly School in NYC, Kate has her work cut out for her: her plan is to climb the social ladder and land a spot at Yale. She’s already found her “people” among the senior class “it” girls—specifically in the cosseted, mega-wealthy yet deeply damaged Olivia Sumner. As for Olivia, she considers Kate the best friend she’s always needed, the sister she never had. When the handsome and whip-smart Mark Redkin joins the Waverly administration, he immediately charms his way into the faculty’s and students’ lives—becoming especially close to Olivia, a fact she’s intent on keeping to herself. It becomes increasingly obvious that Redkin poses a threat to Kate, too, in a way she can’t reveal—and can’t afford to ignore. How close can Kate and Olivia get to Mark without having to share their dark pasts?My take: The synopsis compares this book to We Were Liars, The Girl on the Train, and Gone Girl, but as I was reading, I just got a HUGE Gossip Girl vibe. First, I'll sum up my reaction, and then for you fellow Gossip Girl fans, I will point out all the similarities.
As the synopsis suggests, Kate O'Brien has conned herself into the exclusive Waverly School, where she picks out the perfect girl to befriend: beautiful, troubled Olivia Sumner. In the end, both characters were sort of a conglomeration of stereotypes in search of a plot. Kate was a pathological liar: ambitious, conniving, and trying to get on the inside of the in-crowd. Kate is good at manipulation, but I didn't really understand what her end game was, except to pretend she was something she's not. Olivia is just as much of an enigma. She has looks and money and daddy issues, plus some big psychological problems. Throw in an attractive young school administrator with a penchant for attractive blondes, and you've got a trio of trouble....
Beware That Girl was definitely entertaining while I was reading it, but all the characters were pretty unlikeable and unrelatable. There was a "shocking" development near the end that wasn't really all that shocking. The book never made it clear what all the characters were up to beyond just being messed up connivers who get in one another's way. I hoped this would have more psychological complexity beyond Kate's obsessive reading of the DSM manual, but in the end this became a mildly entertaining story with no real point.
For those of you who are Gossip Girl fans:
Kate O'Brien = Juliet Sharp + Ivy Dickens