Written by Natalie D. Richards
Expected Publication: October 4th, 2016 by Sourcebooks Fire
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Damaged. Deceptive. Dangerous. Darling. Are they labels or a warning? The answer could cost Sera everything.
Murder, justice, and revenge were so not a part of the plan when Sera set out on her senior camping trip. After all, hiking through the woods is supposed to be safe and uneventful.
Then one morning the group wakes up groggy, confused, and with words scrawled on their wrists: Damaged. Deceptive. Dangerous. Darling. Their supplies? Destroyed. Half their group? Gone. Their chaperone? Unconscious. Worst of all, they find four dolls acting out a murder—dolls dressed just like them.
Suddenly it’s clear; they’re being hunted. And with the only positive word on her wrist, Sera falls under suspicion…
Is it just me, or does the girl on the cover look like a young Courtney Cox?
Anyway, holy tamales did this book have suspense. I read it in 2 days because I HAD to know what was going on.
At some points, I was so freaked out I moved away from the window even though I live in a high-rise and there’s no chance of a killer coming through my window (or is there?). This book was just the right amount of scary—I was constantly feeling the same panic and desperation as the characters, but it wasn’t so scary that I couldn’t keep reading.
The characters were well-fleshed out and their personalities went much deeper than the tattoos on their wrists (both metaphorically and literally).
I loved that at each new section of the book we suspected someone else to the point where I was suspicious of everyone. Natalie did a great job of showing us both why it might be so-and-so and why it might not. I love that she planted so many things, led us in so many directions, yet I still didn’t figure out the end. Quite an impressive feat.
Natalie’s chapter endings made me gasp. There were so many instances where we heard someone nearby but didn’t find out for a few pages who it was. I held my breath and skimmed a few times because I couldn’t wait the extra 30 seconds to read every word.
Each big event of the book was unique, completely unpredictable, and gave us just enough extra information that I had to know more. The hints were weaved throughout well, and I didn’t figure out who it was (and even then it was very vague, the motivations not quite clear) until the page right before the reveal…when I suspect Natalie wanted us to figure it out.
I thought it was brilliant that Natalie shortened the chapters for the last hundred pages. It made everything fly by and matched the pace of the action.
The climactic scene was so exciting, the perfect length, and had me panicking—thinking there was no way out—then gasping at the twists. Then the last chapter wrapped everything up beautifully, the perfect way to bring everything to a close.
I was slightly thrown by the flashbacks and teenage angst about boys in the middle of being stalked by a killer, but this was more toward the beginning of the book. These sections were short enough when they did happen that I still devoured the book. I do like the romance in here, but it sometimes felt a little out of place given the severity of the situation. A minor issue that shouldn’t deter anyone from reading!