I received this galley in consideration for an honest review.Wicked Games by Sean Olin
Series: Wicked Games #1
Published by Harper Collins on June 10, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Thriller
To all the locals in the small beach town of Dream Point, Carter and Lilah seem like the perfect It Couple—but their relationship is about to brutally unravel before everyone’s eyes.
Carter has always been a good guy, and while Lilah has a troubled past, she’s been a loyal girlfriend for the last four years. When smart, sexy Jules enters the picture at a senior-year bash, Carter doesn’t intend to succumb to temptation. He’s not planning to fall in love.
But Carter’s best intentions add up to nothing when Lilah catches wind of his betrayal—and decides that Jules needs to pay. By the end of the summer, the line between right and wrong will be blurred beyond recognition. Blood will be shed. Nothing in Dream Point will ever be the same.
I began reading this book thinking I would get a suspense novel centered around a broken relationship and that is what I got, to a certain extent. Carter and Lilah are a golden couple, but when times get rocky things, of course, start to fall apart. Lilah is quite obviously mentally ill. Her parents are checked out and, conveniently, she is also brilliant at arranging all sorts of horrible ways to get back at the people who have wronged her. Among those people is Carter, who still keeps an aura of perfection around him, even when things become less than perfect. As a thriller/suspense, this novel had all of the things you would expect. There is a Sleeping With The Enemy type urgency to the story and I can’t deny that I read the whole thing just to find out what happened. However, I also kind of hated this book, as well.
I suppose the reason this whole plot annoyed me was that it followed that old, and somewhat sexist, trope of the psycho girlfriend against the blameless and perfect boy. In the middle, of course, was “the other woman” who is slut shamed as a part of the story and in the overarching idea that ‘the other woman’ will be punished. (Sort of the same underlying morality of horror movies, where the couple that sneaks off to have sex in the woods is the first to be murdered, the girl eventually running from the killer in her underwear.) While the pacing was good and the story certainly suspenseful, I couldn’t get over my feelings about the dynamics of the situation. I found it to be an easy way out, to demonize one girl and make a whore of another, while the more interesting issues of mental illness and socioeconomic privilege were left behind. I have no doubt that this book will work for some readers, it just didn’t work for me.