Wow, this book ended up not being at all what I expected – though I will admit that I didn’t really have concrete expectations when I started the book.
Blurb: Two wildly different women–one a grifter, the other an heiress–are brought together by the scam of a lifetime in a page-turner from the New York Times bestselling author of Watch Me Disappear.
Nina once bought into the idea that her fancy liberal arts degree would lead to a fulfilling career. When that dream crashed, she turned to stealing from rich kids in L.A. alongside her wily Irish boyfriend, Lachlan. Nina learned from the best: Her mother was the original con artist, hustling to give her daughter a decent childhood despite their wayward life. But when her mom gets sick, Nina puts everything on the line to help her, even if it means running her most audacious, dangerous scam yet.
Vanessa is a privileged young heiress who wanted to make her mark in the world. Instead she becomes an Instagram influencer–traveling the globe, receiving free clothes and products, and posing for pictures in exotic locales. But behind the covetable façade is a life marked by tragedy. After a broken engagement, Vanessa retreats to her family’s sprawling mountain estate, Stonehaven: A mansion of dark secrets not just from Vanessa’s past, but from that of a lost and troubled girl named Nina.
Nina, Vanessa, and Lachlan’s paths collide here, on the cold shores of Lake Tahoe, where their intertwined lives give way to a winter of aspiration and desire, duplicity and revenge.
Expected publication: April 21 by Random House
Other than the story hitting a slow part in the beginning, I really enjoyed reading this thriller. It did have several twists thrown in, which was expected. However, a couple of them didn’t really seem necessary by themselves, but the author had to input something in to advance the story the way she did. Which I totally understand.
Brown’s writing really brought Nina and Vanessa to life in addition to the story being a dual POV, which helped make the twists even more interesting. Sometimes we learn something from Vanessa’s POV that wasn’t really shown in Nina’s. What’s even more interesting is that the way they’re written shows that one is not better than the other; this is not a story of good vs. bad. They are both very realistic though annoying in their own way. Nina thinks she’s morally superior or maybe just superior to Vanessa whereas Vanessa doesn’t know how to function without constant validation and attention. But they both have good hearts and care about others, specifically Nina’s mother and Vanessa’s little brother.
What I found intriguing, but also a little frustrating, was that Lachlan is a big character in the story, but we don’t ever know what he’s thinking or planning because he doesn’t get his own POV. I thought that that was a smart play on the building of the characters and the plot.
Speaking of the plot, I can’t figure out if I think the plot is the strongest point or the characters. I guess they kind of go hand in hand, at least for this book. I thought Brown did a great job using the characters to drive the plot while at the same time having a clear direction for the story to go in. And while there are plenty of twists, I enjoyed having time to savor those moments instead of the story advancing too quickly.
I enjoyed this book enough to look into picking up another Janelle Brown book.
Have you read a Janelle Brown book? Is her newest Pretty Things on your TBR? Let me know in a comment!
This book was kindly provided to me for free in exchange for an honest review via Netgalley. This has not impacted my review in any way.