From Goodreads: When beautiful but aloof Claire Harkness is found dead in her dorm room one spring morning, prestigious Armitage Academy is shaken to its core. Everyone connected to school, and to Claire, finds their lives upended, from the local police detective who has a personal history with the academy, to the various faculty and staff whose lives are immersed in the daily rituals associated with it.
Everyone wants to know how Claire died, at whose hands, and more importantly, where the baby that she recently gave birth to is, a baby that almost no one, except her small innermost circle, knew she was carrying.
At the center of the investigation is Madeline Christopher, an intern in the English department who is forced to examine the nature of the relationship between the school’s students and the adults meant to guide them. As the case unravels, the dark intricacies of adolescent privilege at a powerful institution are exposed, and both teachers and students emerge as suspects as the novel rushes to its thrilling conclusion.
Hyperion has been extremely gracious to allow me to read this novel, via Netgalley, as it recently released on July 14, 2011. I have to say that I thought the novel was okay, but I wasn’t as enamored by it as I’d hope to be. It was interesting, but at the same time I never felt any true connections with the many characters introduced within the story. I think a lot of readers will really enjoy this novel, but for me personally, there was just too much going on—too many characters were brought to the forefront in an attempt to create confusion and suspense, but I’d much rather have had less characters/confusion and more focus on the main characters and their secrets as that alone can create riveting suspense.
While I do think that Bacon did a great job keeping the truth hidden from the reader until the big reveal at the end, I do have to admit that at times I just wasn’t interested in the story and, truth be told, I thought about casting the novel aside as a whole. I just didn’t feel like this novel was very original, and though I didn’t know who the murderer was, and I was surprised in the end, I do think this novel is very similar to other books/movies I’ve read in that a young woman is murdered at a school, suspicion is cast upon her teachers/boyfriend, and there happens to be an underground organization on campus that delves in risqué behavior and may be behind the murder. Don’t get me wrong, I thought the novel was okay, I just wasn’t riveted or too surprised while I read. Two stars.