Some secrets don’t stay hidden and when they come up to bite you in the butt, they won’t let go without a fight. Dana Mele tackles the politics and pridefulness of all girls boarding schools, murder, questions of guilt and innocence, and more in People Like Us. I did not expect to love this book as much as I did but I flew through it. I suspected the culprit about halfway through, but I still loved seeing this book unfold. Not enough boarding school murder mysteries these days, in my opinion.
Kay Donovan is popular and cool and the captain of her boarding school’s soccer team, but that doesn’t mean her life as always been perfect. She’s got some major family issues bubbling in the background, an ex-boyfriend who is still confusing her, and a major crush on her best friend. So things only get worse when she and her friends find a body in the lake on the night of the Skeleton Dance. All of a sudden, there’s a police investigation and Kay can’t believe she is caught in the crosshairs again. But then Kay gets an email from, of all people, the dead girl, that sends her on a mission to extract revenge from people at Bates at whatever cost to them, and to Kay. What happened to the girl in the lake? Who would want revenge on all of these people? And what will Kay do to protect her past?
Let me just reiterate how much I loved this book. I read it in one day and that’s after finishing two other books I was about 2/3 of the way through. I love boarding schools, for one, but I also love how intricate Mele plotted this. The lies and the clues and the inklings, wooo. I’m sad that the early recipes on the website got blown through so quickly and frankly didn’t seem as consequential in the long-run, but I understand why Mele did that. It was all about building up Kay as a character and showing the reader and the rest of the Bates girls what was up.
Something I really appreciated, because it’s pride month and that’s all the rage to talk about, is how casual Kay’s bisexuality was. It wasn’t an issue. It was never a conversation. There was no coming out. Kay just liked girls and boys and her boyfriend and her best friend both knew that. Same with Brie. It wasn’t a big deal that she had a girlfriend. I do almost wonder if there was a lot of LGBTQ representation for such a small cast, but it’s neither here nor there. I loved it. It made the story complex in ways I don’t think it would have been otherwise
This book is predictable in parts but I really enjoyed it overall. I was completely immersed in Kay’s life at Bates and compelled by her backstory as it unfolded and got more and more complicated. I’ve heard lots of complaints about the ending but to me, it made sense based on what I learned throughout the book. Looking forward to more by this author.