Book Club Pick: January 2019
Title: Cruel Summer
Author: Juno Dawson (originally published under James Dawson)
Series: Stand alone novel
Country: Great Britain
First Published: 2013
Ryan is looking forward to spending the summer with his old school friends at Katie’s luxurious Spanish villa. He hadn’t seen the gang since their friend, Janey, committed suicide a year ago.
He hopes this summer they’ll be able to put the past behind them and move on – until someone else arrives, claiming to have proof that Janey’s suicide was murder!
Ryan was hoping for sun, sea and sand.
Suddenly, he’s facing a long, hot summer of death, drama and deceit…
Cruel Summer is largely told from the point-of-view of gay aspiring actor Ryan Hayward, who with a flair for gossip and drama narrates the story as if it is an imaginary television show about his life. This allows for the novel to have flashbacks and quickly change viewpoints amongst the young cast of characters. The chapters are titled scene or flashback.
Ryan labels his friends as if they are characters in a teen television drama – The Good Girl (Katie), The Bad Girl (Alisha), The Jock (Alisha’s twin brother Greg), The Geek (Katie’s ex-boyfriend Ben), and The New Girl (Greg’s girlfriend Erin).
The group of former high school friends are meeting up again for the summer in Spain at Katie’s family’s remote, luxurious Mediterranean villa after their first year at university.
The main mystery of the novel is when Roxanne Dent – the ‘high-school Lolita, boyfriend stealer and best friend turned arch-nemesis of Alisha’ turns up unexpectedly and announces that she has proof that Janey Bradshaw’s suicide the year before was murder – one of them is a murderer.
There are plenty of twists in turns in this tongue-a-cheek teenage soap opera style whodunnit.
Source: I borrowed this book from my public library.