I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.
Feeling down about yourself and viewing yourself based upon others’ perceptions of you is common, yet incredibly detrimental to your mental health, especially in adolescents. With the psychological games that are reminiscent of Gone Girl and Mean Girls, Lauren Frankel’s Hyacinth Girls explores the world of bullying in teen territory.
Thirteen year old Callie is accused of bullying another girl at school, which is unbelievable to Callie’s guardian Rebecca. Rebecca cannot fathom that Callie is capable of something like ridiculing another girl to the brink of depression and desperation. Callie’s friends back up her innocence and it isn’t until they begin receiving eerie and threatening notes that Rebecca feels that she needs to take action to help prevent a repetition of events from her girlhood and to prevent similar deaths that took Callie’s parents from her as a baby. With Callie and Rebecca keeping the truth from one another, will that truth come too late and at what price?
The format of the alternating perspectives of Rebecca and Callie helped to present the multiple sides to the story regarding the bullies and the bullied; however, neither Rebecca nor Callie are quite redeeming characters since they decide to withhold the truth from one another and behave in an incredibly annoying manner that made them quite unlikable as people. By Rebecca holding the truth about Callie’s parents back, there is an element of mystery and suspense that is built throughout the narrative until it is too late to act proactively on that information, as various details are slowly revealed to both Callie and the reader providing clarity and a sense of frustration at the futility of the information. And while I’m not saying that I necessarily think that the narrative needed to end in a death, the circumstances did work out a little too neatly, which is reminiscent of a typical and nauseating Hollywood ending.
Overall, I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.