I picked this book up in the bargain section of Barnes and Noble. The title intrigued me and ever since running out of Gillian Flynn books I was looking for good thrillers and mysteries. The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood looked like it would do the trick.
The Wicked Girls follows the story of two girls who met one day when they were 11 years old. By the end of that day they would be charged with the murder of a 4 year old. Now twenty five years later one girl is a journalist and the other is the manager of the cleaning crew for an amusement park. Both girls had got new identities since the entire country nick named them “The Wicked Girls” and hated them. They have both created new lives keeping what had happened that one day twenty five years ago a secret from everyone they know. Amber, the manager of the night-time cleaning crew, lives in Whitmouth where there has been a series of murders taking place, the latest occurring at the amusement park. It is then decided that the town has a serial killer on their hands bring journalists from all over to the small seaside village. This includes Kirsty, who was chosen to cover the topic for the newspaper she works for. There the girls run into each other for the first time since that fateful day. With a killer on the lose and both of them hiding secrets, the two girls must wonder: how well can you really know someone?
I liked the complexity of all the characters in this book. A lot of times when you read the several books from one genre you start to run into the stereotypical character. I did not feel that way about this book. Each character was complex and changing with the situation. In one scene I would think I had formed an opinion on that character and then by the next scene suddenly my opinion would change from them. They felt like real people not just characters in a book. They had several different aspects to them. Specifically for Amber and Kirsty who were written off an evil girls when they were 11. Now as grown women they are trying to prove to themselves that they are not the evil people the world thinks they are.
Another thing I really liked about this book was that it makes you think about different issues. One of those issues is whether kids are born evil. There is a whole conversation between Kirsty and another character about whether those children were just born evil or if their parents were evil and raised them that way. It is the type of thing people always question when a child commits a crime. Was it nature or nurture? If a teenager shoots up a school some people will place that blame solely on the parents or the school for not preventing this child from being “evil” while others may claim that it is who the child was and there was nothing the parents or the school could have done to keep the child from wanting to do something like that. Another topic they make you think about is the topic of media and corruption. They discuss how they media takes the truth and manipulates it to get a good story or sell more copies of the newspaper. There are also people interviewed who tell their story in a way that is not quite the whole truth and twists the light into an unflattering fashion.
I absolutely loved the conversation at the end of the book. Don’t worry I won’t give anything away. But man oh man in my opinion that conversation is the most important one of the book. It will leave you thinking about what you thought the entire book. It made me question if what I had thought originally was true or was I wrong.
The things I disliked about the book was that it was a little slow going in the beginning. It flip flops between the two girls as 11 year olds on the day they committed the murder and the present day. For the first half of the book I found myself looking forward to the flashback back scenes but by the end I was looking forward to the present day parts. The book takes place in England and was written by a British author so I struggled through some of the slang. I am not familiar with British slang and words so there would be scenes that I would find I did not fully comprehend what had happened but I got the jist of it. So if you are like me and you do not read a lot of English based books you may face this problem. It is also formatted differently and took some getting used to. When a character would speak it would be written like this:
‘I don’t want to!’ Jane exclaimed.
Instead of written how I am used to like this:
“I don’t want to!” Jane exclaimed.
I am not sure how I feel about the mystery aspect of the book. It kept me guessing right up until the end. Then at the climax I had a pretty good idea of what was probably going to happen. There was a little bit of a difference from what I predicted and what happened. So if you are really good at figuring out these books you might figure it out before me.