Synopsis from Goodreads: Abigail Shelton is dead.
Spring Valley’s golden girl is found floating face-down in her boyfriend’s pool, hands bound behind her back, head bleeding, drugs and alcohol in her system. Her friends are the only suspects – and they all have reasons to want her dead. Everyone has an alibi, but no one is innocent.
ALIBI is a 4-part young adult e-book series. Each one-hundred page installment reveals the perspective of a different character: the secret love, the nemesis, the boyfriend, the best friend. As their tales unfold, we learn that Abby is not as perfect as everyone believes, but she’s not the only one with secrets to hide. This page-turning tale of suspense, betrayal, murder, and lust will keep fans of Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars up and reading well past curfew.
Source: Authors for a fair and honest review
My Rating: 4½ stars/5 stars
My Review: When I read the synopsis for Alibi (a four novellas into a single novel) I, quite frankly, just wanted to see if multiple authors could synthesize their unique voices into a cohesive story. Not only have the authors brought their voices together they have also pulled together a fantastic story full of lust, betrayal and murder, and all while navigating the treacherous waters of high school.
Each of Alibi’s four novellas tells the same story from a different character’s point of view and while this may sound repetitious, and in some places it is, it actually gives the reader a new and different look at the plot as well as more information about the character telling the story. Each novella is the same story but enhanced and more fully developed by the particular character’s backstory and how he or she came to be involved in the overall plot. The entire plot is quite the doosy as it revolves around the death of Abby, a bitch I can’t drum up even a little bit of sympathy for even when she is found dead! Abby has two distinct sides. There is the public persona who is emotional, lovingly devoted to her boyfriend, and a good student with a bright future ahead of her. Then, there is the other Abby, the one who is manipulative, deceptive, and only ever out for herself and her own gain. Despite her wretchedness, Abby is a sort of magnet who attracts nearly everyone to her and that is exactly how the other major characters have come to be so intimately involved in her death.
Here’s the breakdown:
Charles: ah, a hot boy with an accent; does it get any better? Charles lives with his cousin’s family after having been forced to leave his home following an unfortunate event involving his beloved sister. Charles is friendly and kind and though a bit of a man-whore, you still like him and hope he can come through all of the madness surrounding him unscathed.
Palmer: tall, beautiful, smart, and bound and determined not to turn out like her mother. Palmer is driven by her desire to get out of her hometown and graduate from an Ivy League school. While Palmer is generally very focused on her goals she doesn’t count on her strong attraction to Charles and the newly revealed secret regarding the identity of her biological father. The secret and the attraction to Charles cause the usually intelligent Palmer to make some stupid decisions that impact nearly everyone in this twisted little tale.
Ace: Charles’ cousin and Abby’s boyfriend who has always sought yet never achieved the respect of his father. This may be because this poor, pathetic kid takes dumb and pretty to a whole new level. Ace’s insecurities where his body, mind and talents are concerned cause him to make even more stupid decisions than any other character in the novel. Between the drugs, the alcohol, and the general stupidity I’m not quite sure how this boy’s last four brain cells make it through each and every day. Add to all of this is random hook-ups with someone other than Abby and you have a recipe for disaster far too stupid to figure out what he has gotten himself into.
Rowan: Holy balls this chick is serial-killer-in-the-making scary!! Rowan is a scrawny, completely unattractive, generally unnoticed super-nerd who is somehow best friends with Abby. Rowan counts on everyone not noticing her because it allows her to plot, scheme, and manipulate both people and events. Rowan is so detached from all emotion that she actually sees everyone around her as pieces on a chess board rather than human beings. Sadly, this detachment extends to Rowan’s own body which, to her, is merely another tool in her arsenal to be used as a manipulation device. As far as Rowan is concerned each and every one of the other characters has wronged her in some ways and her plots and plans are her vengeance as well as her vindication.
The bottom line: The one thing keeping me from adding the last half star to my review is the very adult nature of this book; these are teenagers acting like adults and in many instances their actions were more than a bit disturbing when you consider their age. Overall, I liked this book alot (disturbing moments excluded J) and found it very difficult to put down once I started reading. The plot becomes more fully developed and complicated as each character tells his or her story. I really enjoyed each character’s perspective, backstory, and how he/she acted and reacted to the others around them. These actions and interactions amp up the drama and the suspense as you hurtle toward Abby’s inevitable death. Despite knowing who “did it” pretty early on I was ridiculously surprised by how the story actually ends. There is no discernable difference between each of the author’s voices so each novella feels like another chapter in a book rather than a completely new section written by a different person. This is a distinct advantage causing the four novellas to feel like a harmonious whole.