Hello everyone. Today we have another blog tour, this time featuring Jennifer Lynn Alvarez’s new novel, Friends Like These. I’ll be reviewing the book for you today, so let’s get this party started!
I received this book for free from NetGalley to facilitate my review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Friends Like These by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez
Published by Random House Children's Books on 11/01/2022
Genres: Young Adult Fiction / Social Themes / Emotions & Feelings, Young Adult Fiction / Thrillers & Suspense / General
Format: ARC, eBook
Buy on: Amazon CA // Amazon US // Author Direct // Barnes & Noble // The Broken Binding
Twisted secrets that will have readers guessing with every flip of the page. Perfect for fans of GONE
GIRL and Karen M. McManus.
Tegan Sheffield’s annual end-of-summer beach party is the only way to start their senior year. At least that’s what Jake Healy tells his girlfriend Jessica Sanchez.
But when a video prank from the party goes viral and a body is discovered at the beach, Jake and Jessica find themselves at the centre of a national media storm and a police investigation.
It’s a race to uncover the truth before the killer strikes again.
Content Warning: Toxic friendships, sexual assault, rape, mentions of various types
Ok, if you’ve been coming here long enough, you know that I absolutely LOVE a good suspense/thriller novel. Even better if it is a YA suspense/thriller novel. Trust me when I say this book doesn’t disappoint.
So let’s look at our characters:
First, we have Tegan, who drives me up the wall. I’ve known girls like her – they think they’re so generous and so loyal, but the only person they’re truly loyal to is themselves. I really don’t care much for her, to be honest. She and Jessica used to be best friends, until Chloe came along that is.
Next, we have Jessica. She’s one of our two main characters. She’s in love with Jake. I like Jessica. She’s got spunk – although I don’t like it when she lets her friends or her parents try to make her decisions for her or tell her that Jake is bad news. But her loyalty to her friends could be her downfall.
Speaking of Jake – the other of our two main characters. He’s in love with Jessica. I like him. He’s had a tough life and it shows. I can relate to some of it because I’ve been there. I can’t say which parts because that’d spoil the book. But I can relate to him in some ways.
Chloe is Jessica’s best friend. She’s hard working, focused, and isn’t friends with Tegan. Tegan never liked Chloe even though Chloe tried to be friends with Tegan. It’s complicated. I don’t really have much of an opinion about Chloe.
There are other characters as well, but I don’t have much of an opinion of them, so I’m not going to list them off.
So this book is set in a small beachside town in Northern California. Although we don’t get a lot of description, suffice it to say that the greater majority of this town seems to be the kind of people who have money to spare. Not everyone mind you, but enough that it might make you wonder how the events in the book would happen there.
To me, the town seems to be a darker place than one would expect. After all, all the events in the book certainly don’t point to an idyllic little seaside town in California. But I think that’s part of what makes it such a great book and such a great atmosphere. This is small town America. You get a taste of the type of headlines you’ll find when things go awry in small town America. It’s great.
The writing in this novel is superb. It’s easy to follow along, and it’s easy to get lost in. There aren’t a bunch of glaring typos or missing words, there aren’t a bunch of $10 words that are hard for readers to understand, and the writing flows nicely along. The author keeps the book going at a good clip and doesn’t let up until the very end. This is not a slow burn type of novel – which in my opinion is a good thing.
This book has a rather unique plot to it. Sure, we’ve probably all either read or heard about a book where a politician’s child goes missing. But in this case, it’s an ex-politician and it’s not the typical kidnapping and ransom request. This goes much deeper and is much more suspenseful and terrifying.
This isn’t a plot that most authors would go with and I love it. I think the plot for this book is brilliant and I wouldn’t want anything to be changed about it. Absolutely nothing!
As I said above, this book isn’t a slow burn. The intrigue starts almost as soon as the book does. There’s very little time between the start of the book and the beginning of the action. This is a good thing. Slow burns aren’t generally my thing when it comes to suspense/thriller novels, so I appreciate the action starting right away.
Another thing I loved was that the book keeps you guessing. You know who the cops think did it. You might think you know who did it. But you’re probably wrong about that. Trust me, I can almost guarantee you’re wrong about that. And if you aren’t? Well, then you must have picked up on some clues I didn’t.
Logic-wise, you’ll need to stay on your toes and pay attention when the chapters change. This is because while they are done in a logical manner, they also move back and forth in time between Tegan’s Fourth of July Bonfire and the current state of affairs. Make sure to read the chapter headings so you don’t get lost, although it shouldn’t be too terribly difficult to figure out.
The ending of this book is amazing. Simply stunning. I had no clue until the very end, when everything fell into place, who had actually committed the crimes. I thought I knew. I had a couple of guesses. But the person it turns out to be? Nope. Not a single clue. I loved the ending of this book.
I gave this book five stars because this book was absolutely amazing. I only stopped reading it to do things I needed to do, like sleep. Once I got going, I didn’t want to put it down. Trust me, you need to read this book.