Frances and Libby are rescued from being lost at sea for seven days, only Libby is dead and Frances’ parents are dead, and hundreds of others are dead after the cruise ship was attacked by gunmen. This begins so dark and heavy and instantly addictive due to the detailed, clear writing. Within a few pages – you will be hooked to learn more of France’s story and why the cruise liner was attacked. As she is looked over by a medic, she finds out two other passengers survived: Senator Wells and his son Grey, the boy she fell in love with on board the cruise ship Persephone. However, they are telling a lie about what happened to the cruise.
As you read the story, you learn through flashbacks the events of that night. You also learn of the great, detailed writing, such as
The bodies “And the blood and the screams and the smell of it all, like overripe peaches stuffed with pennies”
Frances finds news coverage of the Persephone and of the senator and his son being interviewed, but instead of telling the truth they have a different story. Frances tells Libby’s dad, Cecil, the truth. In an effort to protect her and investigate why the cruise was attacked, Cecil convinces Frances to pretend to be Libby so that they can stay together.
4 Years Later —– wait, what?
This is a great revenge mystery like the Embassy Row series and the empowerment Frances feels at finally confronting the past at age 18 is exciting even if a little unrealistic in the timing of inheriting a trust fund, which allows her both the financial freedom and the freedom of being an adult, at the convenient age of 18. Flashbacks to the night on board reappear throughout the story offering surreal and vivid images, descriptions of fear and witness of death, and detailed imagery that gets pretty dark. (This reminded me a lot of the show “Revenge” which is also a story of a young female planning a revenge for years and having unrealistic training, finances, and luck to achieve her ultimate revenge.
As Frances/Libby returns home for the first time in 4 years, she must pull off appearing as Libby for a fundraiser she hosts for her enemy, Senator Wells. This provides a pupblic reunion of the only survivors from the disaster years before. Frances/Libby can bounce from fully trained Libby traits and smile on the surface to full on rage bottled up for the last four years. She must plan her revenge while playing the part. And of course, others fall in her wake of revenge and truth seeking.
Besides the mystery, throw in the mix two young, dashing possible as love interests and whether Frances tells them the truth, and it’s a devious plan of revenge and a detailed plot. Oh, did I mention one of the love interests is Grey – who Frances both wants to be the sweet boy that she knew on the cruise, but also wants to punish as the lying Senator’s son who helped hill her parents and friend. The other love interest is Shep, Libby’s old boyfriend. Ether way, a guy will be shocked and hurt, and Francis will have to live with how people suffer due to her plan of revenge.
This book shows not everything is wrapped up in a bow. Yet, teenage years are difficult for any young adult and especially for Frances who faced loss, fear, and survival, but must face her quest for revenge and truth while learning if she can ever trust anyone again and let people into her life. The conspiracy is a good one too. 5 Stars!