Dead Girls Society by Michelle Krys

21897920.jpgWhat would you do if you received a message that asked you to show up at an address and tell no one? Would you go? Would you ignore it? Would you attempt to figure out who sent it? This is what happens to Hope Callahan. Hope suffers from cystic fibrosis. Her mother and her best friend, Ethan, are both over-protective and after each flare-up, Hope must stay at home and complete her treatments. She dreams of going to school and leading a normal life, almost as much as she dreams of being with Ethan. When she received the mysterious invitation from The Society that asks her to complete some dares in exchange for money, Hope jumps at the chance. She sneaks out of her house and finds that there are four other girls from her school there who have no idea what they are about to embark on.

After their first dare, Hope and the rest of the girls are unsure they should continue. But, they know if they don’t, they will pay the price. For Hope, it is the first time she has been able to be out on her own and live like a normal teenager, but at what price? As The Society continues to send messages, the girls are pulled deeper into the mystery and Hope is determined to stop it and find out who is behind the set of lies. At the same time, she is trying to figure out her relationship with Ethan, who she wishes was more than a friend.

Krys’ debut novel at times feels very formulaic. The unknown person who has a list of ways to blackmail the main characters in the novel reads like “Pretty Little Liars” or “Scream Queens.” There really isn’t anything unpredictable about Hope’s relationship with Ethan or with the other girls she is thrown into friendships with during the challenges given to them by The Society.

Yet, the fact that the protagonist, Hope, has cystic fibrosis is a refreshing element to young adult narratives and gives a somewhat realistic look at what it means to have a chronic disease that can be extremely life-threatening. And, the quick pace of the novel that is packed with action will draw young readers in. But, with so many young adult novels that have more complex and fresh plots, Dead Girls Society isn’t a must-read.

Note: This review was first published in PCA/ACA Mystery & Detective Reading List (Winter 2017)

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