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Caroline Lawson is three months away from freedom, otherwise known as graduation day. That’s when she’ll finally escape her rigid prep school and the parents who thought they could convert her to being straight.
Until then, Caroline is keeping her head down, pretending to be the perfect student even though she is crushed by her family and heartbroken over the girlfriend who left for California.
But when her best friend Madison disappears, Caroline feels compelled to get involved in the investigation. She has her own reasons not to trust the police, and she owes Madison — big time.
Suddenly Caroline realizes how little she knew of what her friend was up to. Caroline has some uncomfortable secrets about the hours before Madison disappeared, but they’re nothing compared to the secrets Madison has been hiding. And why does Mr. McCormack, their teacher, seem to know so much about them?
It’s only when Caroline discovers other missing girls that she begins to close in on the truth. Unlike Madison, the other girls are from the wrong side of the tracks. Unlike Madison’s, their disappearances haven’t received much attention. Caroline is determined to find out what happened to them and why no one seems to notice. But as every new discovery leads Caroline closer to the connection between these girls and Madison, she faces an unsettling truth.
There’s only one common denominator between the disappearances: Caroline herself.
Title: Throwaway Girls
Author: Andrea Contos
Publication Date: September 1, 2020
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery Thriller, LGBT
“I’d talk about a world that honors power and influence above twelve girls’ existence.”
I had lots of mixed feelings about this book, but I think, in the end, I enjoyed it.
I really appreciated the thriller/suspenseful aspect of this novel. It reminded me of a darker version of They Wish They Were Us maybe mixed with The Lovely Bones. It not only had me trying to figure out what happened to Madison, the main character’s missing best friend, but also had me wondering about a plethora of characters, their secrets, and an unknown character whose POVs were occasionally showcased. The dark suspense had me hooked throughout the whole book.
Something that was perhaps most convincing and heartbreaking in this book was its overall message. The truth it spoke of “throwaway girls”; girls, or people in general, who are looked over by the public because of their social/economic/racial statuses. It was a hard and much-needed look into the way things are and how they need to change.
That being said, it was difficult for me to get into this book at first. I liked the thriller parts of things, but it kinda had a slow beginning. Things picked up later into the book, but not until about halfway through. If I hadn’t been committed to figuring out the whodunit, I might have stopped reading.
I also wasn’t a big fan of Caroline. I understand she was going through some hard things throughout the book, but I just wasn’t a fan of her character. I’m not sure if she added or subtracted from the main voice of the story, but she was who I learned this story through anyway.
Overall, this was a great book that gave a hard look at society and how things truly are. It’s never easy for me to read these kinds of books, but then again, change is never easy. And it definitely sparked a change in my heart.
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.