Genre: YA- Mystery, Contemporary
Release Date: May 26, 2015
Series: Emancipated #1
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: ARC via First Reads
Description: The good girl, the bad boy, the diva, the hustler, the rock star, and the nerd. Six teens legally liberated from parental control for six different reasons, all with one thing in common: something to hide.
Now they’re sharing a house in Venice Beach, acting like a family, and living their lies. No parents. No limits. No alibis. One witnessed a crime, another might be a murderer—and one’s been spying on them all.
As they cling to a fantasy of freedom and slowly let down their guards, the past creeps up on them. And when one of them gets arrested, everyone’s carefully constructed facade comes crumbling down.
In this steamy, drama-filled series, relationships are tested and secrets revealed as lies threaten to destroy their perfect setup.
Six teens, no parents, one roof.
I was going into this thinking they were all going to come from some sort of abused or taken advantage of background since I honestly don’t know much about emancipation. I was presently surprised to see many of them were simple turned loose to help them escape from a bad situation. Not necessarily what I had in mind but still unique in there own way. I will be totally honest in saying the writing style through me for a loop. The chapters are titled to help you know who you are reading about or what perspective its coming from. At times it flips in dates from past and present and it was my own fault for not realizing this and getting lost. Don’t make the same mistake as me! (Haha)
The chapters tend to read either like a regular novel or a crime file which I thought was super cool. The characters are also pretty interesting if not questionable at times. Paulo kind of seemed like a creeper toward the end of the book but at the same time I became invested in his feelings. It was a plot trap I’m telling you, and I fell for it! In a good way. John Michael was instantly my favorite. I liked his backstory and felt the most invested in his story line. Grace and her sister didn’t really do much for me until the end but I figured that would happen. Their backstory was very vague in areas. I can’t go into much detail about the last two girls because of spoilers but they are pretty enjoyable.
The story overall was really good. There was some really fun good qualities that kept me reading but at times the characters were really hard to follow and connect with given their lack of background or general connection to the group. The dialogue gets confusing early on when there is constantly six people talking at once but that’s bound to happen with a house full of teens. It’s a mystery novel of sorts but the whole time I was reading it I was hoping for some big twist or AH-HA moment but when the twists finally happened (80% into the book) I was left feeling a bit underwhelmed. What John Michael does at the end DID surprise me and throw me for a loop (and had me tweeting like crazy *ahem*) but besides that I was just really confused. I enjoyed it a lot– don’t get me wrong. I was constantly reading this book so that counts for super extra points in my opinion when I’m easily a DNF reader. I think my issue was that I’m used to reading things with HUGE plot twists so when I read this I was like “What????” Not “WHAAAAAAAT???????????????!” If that makes any sense.
After reading the book and speaking with the author and finding out this will have a sequel (not sure if a series) I was left feeling a lot better. It made sense the way the book is set up if I can picture it as a series. The first book is packed with information so be prepared. Also holy moly that is a cliffhanger. At the end my inner monologue was all “Dum dum dummmmmm.” (My failed attempt at dramatic music apparently.)
This was an enjoyable read from a new YA author. Mysteries aren’t normally my thing but I did enjoy the puzzle of this book. It’s not a standalone so don’t be expecting closer and answers in the end. Definitely not something I would have picked up on my own but I’m really glad I gave it a go.
WOULD I RECOMMEND THIS BOOK?
Yes, this is the first book from M.G. Reyes and I will be keeping a close eye on what she comes out with next. I love following new authors and watching them grow and encourage those of you who like a little mystery to give this a try.