This book took me back to the Point Horror books of my childhood (if their characters swore). Addison is a 17 year old who is obsessed with a series of books and writes fan fiction on her popular blog. Reader dream #264 comes true for her when the mysterious author of the Gap Lake books contacts her and asks for her help in generating buzz for the upcoming series finale.
Addison and her best friend Maya stumble upon the body of the most popular girl in school, the details of which eerily mimic those of the snippets of the new book the author has asked Addie to post on her blog. Addie begins to wonder whether the person contacting her really is the author or if she’s talking to the killer.
While there was nothing specifically wrong with Addie’s character it was Maya that made the book for me. I loved her snarky quips and the banter between her and Addie. Spencer, ex boyfriend of the dead girl and Addie’s crush, and Colton, who is not so secretly in love with Maya, both felt mostly two dimensional. I wasn’t a fan of Addie’s dad or Maya’s parents, although I’m fairly sure Mr Garcia could twist my arm and force me to eat some of his cooking.
I loved the snippets of the Gap Lake book that the author sends Addie as they had a creepy teenage horror vibe. I’ve read so many books like this and am a lot older than the target audience so I found the plot really predictable and I knew who was responsible for the murder early on. Had I read this as a kid I expect the whodunnit aspect probably would have floored me. The explanations espoused during the baddie monologue are quite groan worthy.
I was fortunate enough to have an ARC but life happened so I read it after its release. This became a fun game for me once I realised that the library book in one hand and the Kindle in the other didn’t always match. I preferred the ARC, mostly because there are two missing chapters in the final version. Not a lot happened in the first one but without it the continuity was off and I did flip back through the pages of the book to try to work out what I’d missed before I realised the ARC version made the story flow more smoothly.
My favourite difference between the ARC and the final version is totally irrelevant to the story itself but talked about food which always holds my attention. In the ARC Mr Garcia gives Addie “lessons on making something like gumbo or étouffée”. In the final version it’s his “signature enchiladas”.
I had a few irks and question marks while reading and think I may have tripped over some plot holes but there was nothing that made me want to stop reading.
Early on we’re told multiple times that Maya’s mother is the chief of police and her father is a homicide detective. I got it the first time. The descriptions of Addison’s saliva were also repetitive and included “Addison’s saliva tasted sour”, “Her saliva soured”, “her saliva going sour”, “saliva that tasted like hot metal”, and “her saliva tasting bitter”.
Addison’s phone pinged twice and another character mentions how insistent the person sending the message is. When Addison checks her phone there’s one message, not two.
When her blog was hijacked I screamed at Addie to take some screen shots so she had some evidence but alas, she didn’t hear me.
Maya is hit by a car and taken to hospital by ambulance. Addie is driven home at the same time. Addie walks in the door, slumps to the floor and calls Maya. Maya’s mother tells Addie that she’s taking her daughter home now. She was hit by a car! Either Barry Allen works at the hospital or she’s a meta so heals rapidly (yes, I’m currently bingeing The Flash! Why do you ask?!) or something is wrong with this picture. After knowing that Maya has been taken home Addie has a thought bubble: “You’re the reason Maya is lying in a hospital bed somewhere.” Then Maya’s parents are at work together maybe an hour later while their daughter who’s been hit by a car is either home alone or in the hospital. Perhaps this is a job for Schrödinger?
There were a few others but you get the point. It’s the sort of thing you expect to be picked up during the editing process and because I wandered through several ‘huh?’ moments I started questioning whether I was stupid, having missed a whole pile of information, or whether I was super smart for finding them when those before me didn’t. I’m still unsure.
Content warnings include alcoholism and dating violence.
Overall this was a fun, easy read and I’ll be checking to see if my library has any more books by this author. Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire for the opportunity to read this book.
Once Upon a Blurb
Everyone is dying to read the latest book in the popular Gap Lake mystery series, and Addison is no exception. As the novels biggest fan, Addison is flattered when the infamously reclusive author, R.J. Rosen, contacts her, granting her inside information others would kill for.
But when the most popular girl in Addison’s high school is murdered, Addison can’t help but think that life may be imitating fiction. And as other terrifying events from the book start happening around her, Addison has to figure out how to write her own ending – and survive the story.