Note: this comment contains spoilers for "They Wish They Were Us".
I found myself enjoying this book yet I was left slightly underwhelmed at the "plot twist" ending.
I enjoyed the concept of this book as a whole and felt that the trauma of loosing a friend wasn't downplayed and still affected the main character, Jill, along with her friends, even though the book was set three years after the death of her best friend. I found the idea of the "Players" very intriguing and appreciated the setting of the story and the descriptions of how the school itself was run. The writing style flowed very nicely, introducing ideas and memories not in a large information dump, which tends to happen in a lot of books, but over time in the story, while it was relevent and came up naturally. I found the biggest disappointment of the book to be the ending. In the end, Jill's friend Adam turns out to be the true killer of Jill's best friend, yet it was far too out of nowhere. Throughout the book Adam is specifically set up to be a very caring and sweet guy, someone who Jill can depend on and is very easy to love. Through the introduction of his anger issues and obsession near the end of the book we can understand he killed Shalia in anger, but it would be much more belivable if we saw examples of that through flashbacks, in Adam possibly getting mad at Jill for saying something stupid, or yelling at his little brother, etc. While a character being too perfect in a book series is usally a sign of warning, it is definetly not enough for a reader to think of said character suddenly as a villan, or a wrongdoer- Adam's involvment simply came from nowhere. Not to mention, the author set up Jake as a perfect suspect, as we him forcing himself on Jill in one of the flashbacks she has and is proven to not be the greatest guy throughout the book.
Another large issue I had was the "plot twist" of Shalia cheating on her boyfriend. Just like the sintuation with Adam, this felt extremly out of character for her, as she was set up in the book as being very loving and loyal. I felt like her cheating on Graham was very unexpected and did not fit with her overall apperance in the book, and only was placed in the book to serve as a plot device.
Lastly comes the involvement of one of the teachers at the setting school, Gold Coast, Logan Beaumont. He is the first suspect, besides Graham, towards Shalia's murder. Yet this plot device makes little to no sense. How, through Shaila's letters, Jill and Rachel got the idea that it was specifically Beaumont is very unclear. Not to mention, Jill brings it up as pure speculation, and yet, in the very next chapters, it's stated as nearly proven fact that it HAD to have been Beaumont, and no one else could be up for suspicion.
Overall I felt that while the writing style was good and some of the concepts throughout the books were very unique and interesting, the overall plot was very thrown together near the end, and the characters weren't impressionable enough for me to care about them. I feel like the author herself wasn't aware of how she wanted it to end and didn't have a murder suspect herself, so she decided to just make it the most "surprising" reveal possible. The characters felt very one-sided and just existed for a plot device. Robert's only trait is being an asshole. Henry is sweet, Jill is smart, and Marla likes to play hockey. The most developed character, in my eyes, was Shalia, which is not a good thing, considering not only that she was dead when the book takes place but also the previously mentioned shift in character for her when she cheated on Graham for Adam. In the end, I didn't regret reading this book, but I feel like it lacked plot and developement, and is not something I would recommend or be tempted to read again.

black_nightingale_103's rating:
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