The Plot (from Goodreads):
The summer is winding down in San Diego. Veronica is bored, caustically charismatic, and uninspired in her photography. Nico is insatiable, subversive, and obsessed with chaotic performance art. They’re artists first, best friends second. But that was before Mick. Delicate, lonely, magnetic Mick: the perfect subject, and Veronica’s dream girl. The days are long and hot―full of adventure―and soon they are falling in love. Falling so hard, they never imagine what comes next. One fire. Two murders. Three drowning bodies. One suspect . . . one stalker. This is a summer they won’t survive.
I’ve never read Dorian Gray, so I can’t speak to how this book parallels that one.
I loved the concept and storyline here. Performance art is so cool to me, and I loved the idea of a forest inside a warehouse in a city. Plot-wise, though, it seemed like all the action happened in the last few chapters. This made it feel a little rushed and unrealistic. I would have preferred a more even pace throughout the book.
I appreciated that there was queer representation without it being showoff-y, if that makes sense. I’ve read a few books recently where it seems to me that the author is writing queer characters just to be trendy, and their romance ends up feeling forced and fake. This was not the case here–I could definitely feel the chemistry between Veronica and Mick. What I didn’t like was how Veronica used Mick’s attraction to her as an excuse to completely ignore Mick’s feelings. This part felt a little toxic, but, then again, who hasn’t been in a toxic high school relationship?
I don’t read a lot of YA, but when I do I’m always a little bothered by the fact that the parents in these stories kind of remind me of the adults in the Peanuts comics. They’re there, sort of, but they’re often totally checked out. I was raised in a pretty strict household, so it’s wild to me that a parent would let their child run wild until all hours of the night with a bunch of strangers–to the point where their friends are dying around them and the parents have no idea.
Overall, this was an enjoyable YA thriller with some interesting turns. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of performance art or photography.