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I found this book a little confusing because the subject matter is incredibly adult, but all the characters are teenagers. Incredibly entitled kids can get away with a lot, but many of these themes still feel unrealistically adult for high school characters. Interestingly, an independent teenager who starts stripping to support her dying mother and then herself to avoid foster care has the same amount of parental guidance and support as five spoiled teenagers who are allowed to do anything they want.
There are a lot of morally iffy moments here. Twin boys are switching off to sleep with the same girl without any context given to show whether she’s aware of what goes on – and Ella goes along with it without a second thought. Oh, and the dosing and attempted rape were obviously terrible but even worse is these children decided on vigilante justice instead of reporting it to any authorities. Considering the culprits were very clear this was a common occurrence, I doubt the petty vengeance will stop any of their actions. It’s an irresponsible narrative, and it’s not good enough.
Ella was super inconsistent, and I didn’t understand her character. It wasn’t the inconsistency you’d expect from a teenager trying to find themself but the inconsistency of a poorly written character. One moment she was progressive, independent, and super feminist. Then, the next, she was bitchy, judgmental, or needy. Considering we meet these other characters from her perspective, it doesn’t help that she can’t make up her mind about people. For example, in one chapter, she’s literally afraid Easton will sexually assault her. Then a few chapters later, she’s hooking up with him and telling herself it’s okay because her mother was into bad men so she must be too. I’m hoping she becomes more consistent moving forward because the flip-flopping the fit the narrative as needed is lazy.
I know it’s stupid to keep reading because of a cliffhanger, but I’m going to continue this series to see what kind of bullshit they come up with to explain away what happens at the end here. Of course, knowing me, I’ll keep making excuses and read the whole series and hate myself for it, but hey, let’s pretend I have standards for now at least.
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