The Breakfast Club meets Murder Club meets Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys.
But, what we get is a lumpy bowl of cereal meeting cliche after cliche wrapped in post-John Hughes.
If you’re going to evoke the aforementioned, make your work saucy. McManus offered a good setup, we meet five kids preparing to sit in afternoon detention. Bronwyn’s the nerd. Nate’s the rebel. Addy’s the princess. Cooper’s the jock. Simon’s the outcast.
What did I say in the first sentence? McManus created a good premise. One of them, Simon, bit the dust. He died. Four suspects gunned for him since he hosts a gossip app, spewing sordid tales. Who hated him the most? Did they work together?
Kudos to the writing, though clichê-ridden (e.g. the good girl falls for the bad boy), holds your attention. Yet, by the middle, I figured the whodunit while still hoping I figured wrong to no avail. The solution deserved more time as it created some true angst and nuance towards the characters. Oh well.
Another issue is that, bar one student, the other teens felt blah to me. Nate’s the bad boy. But, he doesn’t feel as threatening as John Bender (Judd Nelson). He felt like a wannabe. Bronwyn bored me. So, you…spoiler alert…cheated in class. Big whoop! Boring. Cooper’s reveal, while not exactly fresh, gifted a little dish. However, Addy granted me actual character development. At the beginning, she’s the pretty ditz. But, at the ending, she’s smarter than let on and she’s willing to risk her mind, body, and soul to solve the mystery. Go Addy! Leave the others.
Always bet on the princess. Sometimes the nerd disappoints.
It’s a fine and quick read. Nothing substantial. A tad mediocre. But, isn’t those two aspects a selling point nowadays?
Verdict: 3 out of 5
*This book sits somewhere on my bookshelf. Can you find its location? Or, will you grab the bull by the horns?*