Contemporary, Mystery/Thriller (Teen), YA Fiction

A Good Idea by Cristina Moracho

I’ve read many adult thrillers but not too many that are in the realm of teen fiction. I thought it would be interesting to see how the author takes this genre and makes it appropriate for this age group. Here is my review:

Fin and Betty have been best friends for longer than they can remember. Even when Fin moved to Manhattan, they continued to maintain their friendship, through phone calls, letters, and summer visits. They even planned to apply to NYU and become roommates. But then, Betty disappears. Her ex-boyfriend Calder admits to drowning her, but his confession is thrown out. The town believes that Calder was coerced into giving the confession, and Betty has simply run away. But Fin knows the truth: Betty is dead. She returns to Williston for one final summer, determined to get justice for her friend, no matter the cost. But Williston is a town full of secrets, and Fin is not the only one with an agenda.

This book was not a good idea. I know that this novel was created for a teen audience but I still had high expectations regarding the quality of the story. And this novel didn’t match my expectations. The story starts off interestingly enough, with Fin attending Betty’s graduation – sans Betty, of course, since she’s dead – and there is a commotion when a female student expresses outrage that no one makes mention of Betty. Through Fin, we are introduced to a whole host of characters, each more ridiculous and convoluted than the next. I didn’t like a single character in this entire novel. They were unrealistic and their motives were so obtuse that it just didn’t work for me. I felt that, for the level of seriousness of the case this novel was presenting, the behaviours of the characters were very juvenile. I also didn’t think there was much happening plot-wise; it was mostly Fin stirring up drama and accomplishing nothing, and then the ending rushed up to the forefront. It really wasn’t a satisfying conclusion because it made no sense. I wish I could talk about this in more detail, but I don’t want to ruin the story for those still interested in reading this novel. Overall, I found this to be an ill-conceived, and not well-executed story that was more about teen angst than anything else. It was quite boring and had an ending that defied common sense. Other reviewers mentioned that this story is based on an actual case; I cannot speak on that since I don’t know of any crime cases similar to the one in those story, and the author also did not make mention of anything. However, based on my experience with this novel, I’m giving it a 1/5 stars.

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