Whitney: Before we get started on our chat, let’s agree to try really hard not to spoil the most important mysteries of the book, just in case some of those out there haven’t managed to get to the end bits yet, kay? Kay.
Austyn: I completely agree. Without spoiling anything, this whole novel revolves around a murder, but until the end you have no idea who was killed or who killed them. Each chapter ends with dialogue of people getting interviewed by the police, and I LOVED that! It kept me so engaged and curious. It was also a great way to learn more about side characters and how they all interacted with each other.
Kate: I also loved the bits of interviews at the end of the chapters. If it weren’t for those pieces of information tantalizing me, I honestly would have lost interest very quickly…
Whitney: Seriously, these parents. I just don’t want to believe that people like this exist.
Austyn: I thought it was really interesting that one parent explained all the cliques and hostilities as stemming from a mix of upper and lower class families in this one school. I found that idea to be, sadly, pretty believable.
Whitney: I am way too committed to acting like a grown-up to engage in some of the petty garbage that these characters did.
Kate: Whitney, I feel the same way, but I can absolutely see how the people in those kinds of situations get dragged into that ridiculous behavior, even when they are trying really hard not to.
Austyn: Yes, but it was soooo fun to read about at the same time.
Whitney: Totally! Even in their bizarre disfunction and behaving like children, they actually manage to have solid friendships and actually support each other in a weird way. In fact, when push came to shove (see what I did there?) they really had each other’s backs.
Austyn: I do see what you did there! Nicely done, haha. And even adversaries could come together under certain circumstances, which was incredible. I really love that this novel was based on a core set of women who become actual friends. I thought their interactions were so real and I could see myself having a breakdown as a parent over a school project I forgot my child had due, like Jane did. The way they came to each other’s aid was really great.
Kate: Having been in the house when my nephew had a last-minute project nightmare situation, I can say I was having vicarious anxiety for Jane in that scene. And I loved Madeline for rescuing her the way she did then. Actually, at that point I realized Madeline was my favorite, even though she totally engaged in the petty behavior throughout the book. I loved that she took Jane under her wing and wasn’t a fair-weather friend the way her kind of character can be in other books. She was fiercely loyal and I appreciated that a lot.