ARC Review: Avenged

AvengedAvenged by E.E. Cooper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Release date: November 8, 2016

Everyone believes Beth’s death was an accident, except for Kalah. The girl she loved was stolen from her, and now Kalah’s broken heart wants revenge. In order to crack Brit’s perfect alibi, Kalah pretends to be Brit’s best friend—with the sole mission to destroy her.

Kalah knows that playing Brit’s game is deadly. One wrong move could cost someone their life, including her own…but the more lies Kalah tells, the closer she is to the twisted truth.

I thought Avenged was an above-average mystery, but this sequel/finale blew my mind. If you wanted a YA mash-up between Gone Girl and Cruel Intentions, this is it. Because this story is about the psychological warfare between Kalah, who is out to, well, out Brit, who is hiding behind the web of lies. Kalah knows Brit killed Beth, but proving it is difficult. She tries many strategies, including waiting for her to slip up, pushing her into slipping, making her confide in her, but what she soon learns is that Brit is like the final boss of a video game – nearly indestructible, more experienced in warfare and almost impossible to beat. Whatever Kalah comes up with, Beth has already had a carefully laid out plan to dispute it. So, we see this incredible cat-and-mouse game of truth and perspective, with Beth’s recent coming-back-from-dead status working very well in her favor, and Kalah’s illness making her seem unreliable to all around her.

While this is a mystery unfolding around how to snare Beth, Kalah learns a lot along the way. She learns to not let her past define her, to not let the idea of friendship stand in the path of what is right, to be more brave, to be more truthful. There were so many moments throughout the story where I really felt for her, for her struggle, the frustration of the battle, the loss of her best friend and her lover – the author has beautifully constructed a narrative solely for the protagonist. Her personality and her past and as crucial to the story as are Beth’s manipulations. While the ending is a bit straightforward, it was also ingenious and surprising, as I did not see that coming. Hours of How To Get Away With Murder have taught me that it is not that simple, and that is the only thing keeping me from truly believing that end to the story, but for a booknerd’s purposes, let’s just say – it was a satisfying end to this duology.

Received a free galley from Katherine Tegen Books, via Edelwiess.

Previous books in series

Vanished (Vanished, #1)

View all my reviews

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