Dear Daughter, by Elizabeth Little, is supposed to be this year’s Gone Girl – at least that’s what the blurb said. It’s about Jane Jenkins, a Paris Hilton type who gets convicted for her mother’s murder, and then, ten years later, released on a technicality. However, Jane’s troubles are far from over, because the world still thinks she’s guilty, and bloggers and haters are determined to find her and bring her down. So Jane travels, in disguise, to the town where her mother grew up to look for clues and to see if she can figure out who the real killer is.
I had mixed feelings about this book. A couple of times I considered giving up in the middle, because it took me a while to care about Jane, and parts of the story dragged. However, once I got into the middle of the story, things picked up and the reader was supplied with more information about why Jane was so jaded, and I liked her more.
I did find a lot of it implausible, especially how she could have dated all these famous men by the time she was sixteen. But the writing was ultra clever and tight, and the plot twists were well done. Does it live up to the Gone Girl comparison? Not quite, however, a lot of readers will be equally frustrated with both book’s endings, so if you decide to take a stab at it – BEWARE!
Bittersweet, by Miranda Beverly Whittermore, is another suspenseful story of privilege gone wrong. Mabel’s roommate, Genevra, comes from an elite, white-bread family, and Mabel wants nothing more than to be a part of them. So she jumps at the chance to spend the summer with them on their compound, and the entire time she’s there, Mabel tries to figure a way to become a permanent fixture in the family. This includes chatting up an eccentric aunt, falling for Genevra’s older brother, befriending her younger sister, and doing research on the family’s history. But the more research Mabel uncovers and the longer the summer stay becomes, the closer she gets to unearthing the deep, dark secrets that could bring the entire family down!
I liked this book a lot. A few times the pacing was a bit slow, but the prose was beautifully done, and Mabel really grew on me as the book wore on. The ending brought together all the plot points, and culminated in a satisfying end. I definitely recommend it. This is the sort of book that will still be good ten years from now, when it’s no longer trendy.