by Abigail Haas
Pages: 388 (paperback)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books
Publication Date: August 1st 2013 first published July 16th 2013)
Elise is dead.
And someone must pay.
Anna, her boyfriend Tate, best friend Elise and a group of close friends set off on a debaucherous Spring Break trip to Aruba. But paradise soon turns into a living nightmare when Elise is brutally murdered.
Soon Anna finds herself trapped in a foreign country and fighting for her freedom. As she awaits the judge's decree, it becomes clear that everyone is questioning her innocence. To the rest of the world, Anna isn't just guilty, but dangerous. As the court case unfolds the truth is about to come out, and it's more shocking than you could ever imagine...
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Book Club Discussion
What were your first thoughts after finishing Dangerous Girls?
Mily: What that actual f**k!?!? How has this woman done this to me again!! Abby has this unsettling way of being able to change the WHOLE book in the last paragraph and it leaves me feeling confused and a little betrayed. Like the character has been lying to me the whole time. It’s brilliant, but it also leaves me so confused.
Emma: “Oooooh that was gooooood!” And, then the weirdness of that whole situation hit me! Ha! I think I didn’t realize it was even the end. I thought there was another chapter, or an epilogue, or something. In some ways it felt incomplete, but in other ways it was just right!
Mily: That’s exactly how it felt, incomplete… like there was an epilogue missing or something. Although, as frustrating as it was, I kind of love the way Abby can change the whole book in a couple of sentences.
Emma: Me too, you never know where you’re going to end up!
Both of us read Dangerous Boys before this, do you think that affected the way you saw this book?
Mily: Yes. All I heard while reading Dangerous Boys was how much better Dangerous Girls was. I think it meant that I went into it was seriously high expectations. I adored the book, I did. However, for me I preferred Dangerous Boys. I felt the progression of Chloe’s character, however disturbing, at least changed and developed over time. Anna just seemed to flip at the very end.
Emma: Yes definitely. I read Dangerous Girls knowing there would be a twist, and I was trying to figure it out the whole way through. (I totally didn’t figure it out!)
I have to agree with Mily, though, that it didn’t feel as if Dangerous Girls lived up to the hype I’d heard about it after having read Dangerous Boys first. Dangerous Boys was an absolute non-stop thrill ride; Dangerous Girls was a slow build up to a climatic end. They felt really different, and I preferred the intensity of Dangerous Boys myself.
Mily: That was it, Dangerous Girls was very slow in places and however good it was I missed to intensity of Dangerous Boys. There was always something going on and a new side of the characters to see in Dangerous Boys and with this one it wasn’t until the end.
How did you feel towards the two main characters, Anna and Elsie, at the beginning of the book?
Mily: I felt really sorry for Anna. It was obvious from the start that Elsie and Trent were sleeping together. It was also pretty clear that Elsie was a really bad friend. So yeah, at the beginning of the book Anna had my sympathy.
Emma: It was weird for me – in Dangerous Boys I sympathized and supported Chloe the whole way through (oh how I was made to feel stupid about that!), but I never liked Anna or Elise. At the beginning of Dangerous Girls, I thought Anna was innocent, but I wasn’t rooting for her. I don’t even know why!
How did you feel towards the two main characters, Anna and Elsie, at the end of the book?
Mily: Anna’s a freaking psychopath! Elsie wasn’t exactly sane and their relationship was dark and disturbing to say the least, but Elsie didn’t deserve to be murdered. Also, if you can tell me why Anna did it that would be really handy because I don’t have a clue.
Emma: I felt really creeped out by them! I mean, let’s just imagine for a minute *that* scene. The whole f*cked-up-ness that is that. And what it lead to… Yeah…
Mily: Wait… is that why Anna did it? It’s been about 2 months since I read it and I still don’t’ have a clue!!
Emma: I’m only assuming! Haha – I took from it that there was jealousy and longing and betrayal and sudden realization of feelings Anna never knew or accepted before. That last line; “how much do you love me”. I’m constructing an entire belief system on that haha
What was your least favorite part of the book?
Mily: The scene where Anna and Elsie are staring at each other while Elsie was cheating with Trent! That was when the book took on a whole new level of crazy for me. There was something about that moment that felt too twisted to even comprehend. As if all the dark desires these girls had up until that point wasn’t enough, adding this sense of dark sexual attraction to their relationship may have pushed it just that little bit too far for me.
Emma: Again, the beginning of this book was not very “me” – High School Summer Breaks and kitschy holidays – and I had to stick with it. I’m glad the court case interspersed the past to give the signals that this all gets very dark very unexpectedly!
Mily: I agree (slightly). The setting was a little on the cliché side. Although throughout the book it worked well.
Abigail has a unique writing style and this book was no different. Would you have liked a second point of view?
Mily: No. I think Anna’s was all that was needed with this one. Elsie’s might be interesting but I don’t have the need to read it the way I did with Oliver’s point of view in Dangerous Boys.
Emma: I think Chelsea’s viewpoint would have been really interesting! Someone outside that “bubble” who desperately wanted in. Perhaps she saw more than we did through Anna’s eyes. I mean, we never saw Anna in any way other than how she saw herself…
Mily: I honestly hadn’t thought of that. I was certain Chelsea was the killer for about half of the book, so I think that you’re right. I would be really interested to read something from outside of that “bubble” and Chelsea would be a really good choice.
Emma: I suspected her too!
Do you think Anna’s character turned out the way she did through circumstance or nature?
Mily: I think there was a darkness inside her but maybe if it wasn’t for Elsie and circumstance she would never have known about it. Unlike in Dangerous Boys where Chloe’s dark side was always quite near the surface I think Anna’s was much further down.
Emma: I’m going to go with circumstance…! I’ve re-read the last chapter so many times, and I think there was a moment of true realization of herself in Anna, and it was scary for her, and overwhelming… and passionately physical. And it ended in a frenzy of all those things.
What was your favourite moment from Dangerous Girls?
Mily: My favourite and least favourite moment is the same. It’s that one scene. It portrays everything this book is about! A dangerous friendship that was built up on a foundation of delusions. It’s sexy and twisted and unpredictable.
Emma: I really loved the court case scenes! (How geeky!) I loved seeing how the evidence was manipulated. It brought a whole new game to the book!