The good girl, the bad boy, the diva, the hustler, the rock star, and the nerd. Six teens legally liberated from parental control for six different reasons, all with one thing in common: something to hide. Now they’re sharing a house in Venice Beach, acting like a family, and living their lies. No parents. No limits. No alibis. One witnessed a crime, another might be a murderer—and one’s been spying on them all. As they cling to a fantasy of freedom and slowly let down their guards, the past creeps up on them. And when one of them gets arrested, everyone’s carefully constructed facade comes crumbling down.
So, this story about six teens who come to live together in a house, for various reasons, is half mystery and half heart-warming contemporary. They have pasts, and it is very well coming to bite them in the ass. Candace and Grace are stepsisters who moved to LA to pursue Candace’s dreams of being a star. John-Michael is a gay kid who has been homeless for over a year, but now in the aftermath of his father’s death is in for some inheritance as well as some suspicion. Paolo is learning the hard way of life and also re-evaluating his promiscuous lifestyle when he meets Lucy, the troubled musician who is running from demons of her past. Maya, the youngest, comes with big secrets of her own.
The emancipation has been liberating for some of them, and living together with kids their own age, handling responsibilities like running a house, makes them all grown up. But they are also teenagers, which means they have their own insecurities and doubts. All that lends to the aura of mystery around each member, because even if they are friends, they don’t entirely know each other. They admire each other but can’t trust the others to hold their dark secrets. And some of those tie the members together – and I was interested in how it will play out, once I realized it. But while this book certainly has a lot of mystery attached to it, in the end it is only serving to set up events, characters and plots for the sequel, because the ending delivered that the real danger is about to come. Which makes this, while a well-written book circling the various character arcs, mostly an introduction, making the pace relatively slow. Despite that, I found this book entertaining to read, and so I would give it about 3.5 stars.
Received a free galley from Katherine Tegen Books, via Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
P.S. I don’t get that cover. Why are there only 5 people on it? Where’s the other guy?