Publish Date: July 31, 2018
“The only quiet woman is a dead one.” – Sylvia Plath
I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
For Rose Enright, enrolling in a prestigious New England boarding school is the opportunity of a lifetime. But for Rose’s vulnerable twin sister Bel, Odell Academy is a place of temptation and danger. When Bel falls in with a crowd of wild rich kids who pressure her into hazing Rose, the sisters’ relationship is shattered. Rose turns to her dorm mother, Sarah Donovan, for advice. But Bel turns to Sarah’s husband Heath, a charismatic and ambitious teacher. Is Heath trying to help Bel or take advantage of her? In a world of privilege, seduction, and manipulation, only one sister will live to tell the truth.
This book fits neatly into the genre that I’ve dubbed Twisted Twins, Secrets, and Scandals.
Michele Campbell does an excellent job at bringing adult readers back to their teen years by recreating the angst, peer pressure, social hierarchy, and amplified feelings that one feels during that pivotal transition time. Cat Fights? Check. Frenemies? Check. Drama? Check. Backstabbing? Check. Naughty Behavior? Check. Mean Girls? Check. It’s all here!
Michele Campbell also paints a very vivid picture of Odell Academy, a beautiful, traditional, ivy-covered, exclusive boarding school in New Hampshire, where generations of privileged moneyed families send their pedigreed offspring. She shares an inside peek into what naughty boarding school students are up to: drinking, smoking weed, pill-popping, hazing, sexual contests and secret challenges.
At the heart of the story is a murder. <Cue Psycho shower scene music> At the start, we know that an orphaned twin has died but we don’t know which one, or why. One twin ends up deader than a doornail, with the other accused of murder. The story is told in the third person perspective with police interviews sprinkled in, a la Big Little Lies.
Bel and Rose Enright are a great study in sister dynamics and of course these fraternal twins are polar opposites in every respect. The supporting characters of the picture perfect husband-wife duo Heath and Sarah Donovan who serve as the dorm heads lend the adult aspect to the story. These adult characters share the spotlight and scrutiny, and add to the plot; otherwise, I think that this book would be exclusively in the YA genre.
As the book goes on, I speculated on which twin died and who was the murderer. My guess kept changing as more details were uncovered. This psychological thriller kept me twisting and fully engaged until the end the truth was revealed. It was nothing like I thought.
This book is easy to read and entertaining. The mystery deepens as the book progresses and you get a better understanding of the events and motives that lead up to the murder.
I enjoyed Michele Campbell’s sophomore novel, but I think that her first book It’s Always The Husband (my review is here) is better. She Was The Quiet One has more of a YA flavor, especially in Part One. Teen girls will enjoy it, and empathize with the characters. Adults might relive their wild teen years through this book. In any case, it’s a good solid psychological mystery that appeals to all ages.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars