For spring break of their senior year, Anna, Elise (her best friend), Tate (Anna's boyfriend), and a few others went to Aruba. But what started as a great vacation takes a terrible turn when Elise is murdered and Anna is accused of murdering her. Stuck in another country, Anna finds her every action of the past few years being picked apart as evidence of her guilt. And with each passing day, it becomes more apparent that everyone close to her thinks she's guilty.
The story was told by switching between the present and various points in the past. It covered Anna's trial, her becoming friends with Elise, the vacation before the murder, the discovery of the body, and aftermath of the discovery. I love nonlinear narratives, but it's also a device that's very easy to screw up with. Luckily, Dangerous Girls pulled it off well.
What I loved the most about Dangerous Girls was seeing just how easy it was for people to take pictures, conversations, and moments of your life out of context and paint pretty much any image you want of a person and their life. A goofy Halloween picture and an outburst of anger over her mother's impending death become indications of Anna's dangerous nature in the hands of a lawyer. A common saying among friends becomes a sign of Anna's lack of grief over Elise's death. It really started to make me wonder what things could be taken from my life to paint me as a criminal if I were in her situation. Despite the whole of idea of "innocent until proven guilty," everyone is so convinced of Anna's guilt almost immediately, and it seems like everyone is hunting for every scrap of "evidence" to show that their were a ton of missed signs leading up to this moment that indicated that she was a sociopath and that this was inevitable. As far as everyone is concerned before the trial even starts, Anna is guilty.
What really made the book for me was the ending and the reveal of the murderer. I guessed who it was fairly early on, but as the book went on, it really made me start to question whether I was right or not, which doesn't often happen to me. I'm normally pretty confident in my guesses, so I actually enjoyed being uncertain about a book's ending.
Overall, Dangerous Girls was a great read that I couldn't get through fast enough. I'll definitely be checking out anything else the author writes.