You Can Trust Me by Gina Blaxill
Published: April 7th 2022 by Scholastic
Rating: ★★★★★ (5)
Genre: Young Adult // Thriller, Mystery
Quick Thoughts: A carefully taut and engulfing thriller with a hypnotic plot and purposeful message.
About The Book:
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder meets I May Destroy You, this dark YA thriller will have your heart in your mouth from the very first page! Tragedy hits a teenage New Year’s party . . .
When Alana’s best friend is found drowned in a pool, the forensic reports discover date-rape drug GHB in her blood. GHB from a drink Alana knows was meant for her. Despite the swirling rumours, the suspected group of boys seem untouchable. To investigate, Alana allows herself to be pulled into their glittering orbit. But among shifting alliances, changing alibis and buried secrets, can she pinpoint which of the boys is responsible before she becomes their next target?
Perfect for fans of Holly Jackson, Karen McManus and Chelsea Pitcher. From the Carnegie nominated author, Gina Blaxill. A bold feminist read with a pacy thriller plot that YA fans will love. Carnegie-nominated author Gina Blaxill looks head on at privilege, bias and sexual assault in a way that will resonate with Young Adults today. Perfect for fans of Holly Jackson, Karen McManus and Chelsea Pitcher.
As soon as I heard of this book via a Zoom with Scholastic earlier this year, I was so excited. YA thrillers are some of my favourite genres and when they are done right, they are spectacular, so I had the highest of hopes!
Main character Alana hates that she’s the new girl, but having a friend already at school helps. Esme is different, of course—they were much younger when they were close—but having a friendly face, especially at the New Year’s party, seems like a great start. But things get rocky quite quickly, and before Alana knows it, the whole night has spiralled out of control. She finds Esme drowning, and tests confirm GHB is in her system. Once thought to have been the start of a good night turns out to be the opposite, souring Alana’s appearance of everything, especially the boys of a school in town that are, as she’s finding out, very intangible.
Alana isn’t going to let people stall her mission at finding out what happened to her friend. Not now that the pieces are becoming clearer to her, but still too unsolved for the police. Everyone and no one is a suspect—much to the chagrin of the students of the schools—and the more secrets come out, the more the identity of Esme’s attacker becomes blurred. Partnering with unlikely people to solve what happened that night, and what might have been going on far longer than initially thought, Alana is shocked to discover that the truth isn’t crystal clear—and it might just cost her life to decode.
Overall, I read You Can Trust Me in under 24 hours, glued to the pages. You could not have disturbed me, not as I was piecing together the mystery alongside Alana. Ultimately, I was a few chapters ahead of her at figuring out the mystery (well, part of it, anyway) but that conclusion as the truth came out was NAIL-BITING. I clung to the pages as the story unravelled, sharp as a knife, carving itself a place on one my favourite reads of the year list by far. This was a carefully taut and engulfing thriller with a hypnotic plot and purposeful message, one that stayed with me long after I read it. Five stars wholly.
Gina Blaxill has an English degree from Cambridge University and now works in schools liaison, helping teenagers puzzle out the mysteries of higher education. Between the ages of 11 and 15 she wrote an epic 36 part story featuring over 1,000 characters – she still remembers most of their names! Her first novel, Pretty Twisted, was published by Macmillan in 2011, her second novel, Forget me Never, was published in 2012 and won the Oldham Brilliant Book Award 2013. Gina’s book, Saving Silence, was published by Macmillan and won the Warwickshire Book Award. Her most recent book is YA-crossover thriller You Can Trust Me (Scholastic), that came out in April 2022.