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People Like Us
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"Mean Girls meets Donna Tartt's The Secret History with a little bit of Riverdale mixed in. So yeah, it's epic."—HelloGiggles"In People Like Us, Dana Mele delivers the Gossip Girl meets Pretty...
"Mean Girls meets Donna Tartt's The Secret History with a little bit of Riverdale mixed in. So yeah, it's epic."—HelloGiggles"In People Like Us, Dana Mele delivers the Gossip Girl meets Pretty...
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  • "Mean Girls meets Donna Tartt's The Secret History with a little bit of Riverdale mixed in. So yeah, it's epic."HelloGiggles

    "In People Like Us, Dana Mele delivers the Gossip Girl meets Pretty Little Liars young adult novel you've been waiting for."—Bustle

    Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but the past is past, and she's reinvented herself entirely. Now she's a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl's body is found in the lake, Kay's carefully constructed life begins to topple. The dead girl has left Kay a computer-coded scavenger hunt, which, as it unravels, begins to implicate suspect after suspect, until Kay herself is in the crosshairs of a murder investigation. But if Kay's finally backed into a corner, she'll do what it takes to survive. Because at Bates Academy, the truth is something you make...not something that happened.
    Debut author Dana Mele has written a taut, sophisticated suspense novel that will keep readers guessing until the very end.
 

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  • From the book Chapter 1

    Beneath the silvery moonlight, our skin gleams like bones. Skinny-dipping in the frigid waters of North Lake after the Halloween dance is a Bates Academy tradition, though not many students have the guts to honor it. Three years ago, I was the first freshman to not only jump, but stay under so long they thought I'd drowned. I didn't mean to.

    I jumped because I could, because I was bored, because one of the seniors had made fun of my pathetic dollar-store costume and I wanted to prove I was better than her. I kicked down to the bottom, pushing past clumps of moss and silky strands of pondweed. And I stayed there, sunk my fingers into the soft, crumbling silt until my lungs twisted and convulsed, because even though the freezing water cut like knives, it was soundless. It was peaceful. It was like being encased safely in a thick block of ice, protected from the world. I might have stayed if I could. But my body didn't allow it. I broke the surface and the upperclasswomen screamed my name and passed me a bottle of flat champagne, and we scattered as campus police broke up the scene. That was my official "arrival" at Bates. It was my first time away from home, and I was no one. I was determined to redesign myself completely into a Bates girl, and as soon as I took that dive, I knew exactly what kind of girl I would be. The kind who jumps first and stays under ten seconds too long.

    Now we're the seniors and no first-years have dared to tag along.

    My best friend, Brie Matthews, runs ahead, her sleek track-star body cutting through the night air. Normally, we would strip under the thorny bushes that line the lake next to the Henderson dorms. It's our traditional meeting spot after we pregame in one of our rooms and stumble across the green together, still in costume. But Brie received an early-recruitment offer from Stanford tonight and she is on fire. She ordered us to meet her at ten to midnight, giving us just enough time between the dance and the dive to ditch valuables, load up on refreshments, and deal with significant-other drama. Then she met us at the edge of the green wearing only a bathrobe and an exhilarated grin, her cheeks flushed and breath hot and sweet with hard cider. She dropped the robe and said, "Dare you."

    Tai Carter runs just ahead of me, her hands pressed over her mouth to cram her laughter in. She is still wearing a pair of angel wings and they flutter with her long silvery hair twisting in the wind. The rest of our group trails behind. Tricia Parck trips over a tree root, nearly causing a pileup. Cori Gates stops running and falls to the ground, cracking up. I slow, grinning, but the air is freezing, and my skin is covered in goose bumps. I still get a thrill from the icy plunge, but my favorite part now is snuggling together with Brie under a mountain of blankets and giggling about it afterward.

    I am about to make the final sprint across the patch of dead moss stretching from Henderson's emergency exit to the edge of the lake when I hear Brie scream. Tai halts and I push past her toward the sound of frenetic splashing. Brie's frantic voice escalates in pitch, repeating my name over and over, faster and faster. I tear through the bushes, thorns etching white and red stripes in my skin, grab her hands, and haul her up out of the lake.

    "Kay," she breathes into my neck, her dripping body shivering violently, teeth clicking and chattering. My heart batters my rib cage as I look her over for blood or cuts. Her thick black hair lies damply over her skull; her smooth brown skin, unlike mine, is unbroken.

    Then Tai grabs my hand so hard, my...

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    November 27, 2017
    Soccer captain Kay Donovan gets caught up in a game of murder and revenge in this sharp psychological thriller, Mele’s debut. Kay is at the center of a group of seniors who rule their girls’ boarding school. The girls find the body of fellow student Jessica Lane in a nearby lake, and as the school reels from her death, Kay receives an email—purportedly from Jessica—that forces her to expose her friends’ sins in order to keep her own secrets buried. As evidence mounts against Kay in Jessica’s apparent murder, the school turns against her, and Kay learns that cruelty does not go unrepaid. Feeling unmoored, Kay turns to Nola, a former target of the group’s bullying, but none of Kay’s relationships is without agenda, and Kay finds herself in the killer’s sights. Mele creates a cast of sharp-edged, prickly students; the fluid sexuality of various characters is handled well, and themes of betrayal and bullying are front and center. An eerie, unsettling thriller with deadly consequences. Ages 12–up. Agent: Andrea Somberg, Harvey Klinger.

  • Kirkus

    November 15, 2017
    For some girls, it's a killer getting into Bates Academy. For others, attending the elite prep school means getting killed.When Kay Donovan and her popular senior classmates uphold the tradition of skinny dipping in the lake after the Halloween dance, they're surprised to find the dead body of Jessica Lane, a fellow student. But it's not the first time Kay has seen a dead body--and someone knows it. As she, her friends, and other acquaintances begin answering questions for the police, the teen also receives an email from Jessica's account that takes her to a revenge website. There, Kay receives instructions to take down all her friends--this one for doping, that one for sleeping with a professor--or her own secrets will be revealed. The debut novel has all the tropes one would expect from a prep school mystery: plenty of backstabbing, predominantly white young socialites (except for Brie with "smooth brown skin"), and frequent parties with alcohol and sex. Yet this intertwined mystery that has readers figuring out Jessica's murderer and Kay's secrets (and their possible connections) is more than these cliches. The characters and their relationships are nuanced, especially bisexual Kay, who has intimate encounters with males and females.The blend of predictable prep school elements with unpredictable suspense makes this a fizzy read for fans of the genre. (Mystery. 14-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    December 1, 2017

    Gr 9 Up-Steeped in scandal and profound tragedy, this is a dark and thrilling look at female friendships, the pressures of scholastic success, and mental health. Daring, popular, and athletic, Kay is well on her way to achieving her dreams and securing the best that life has to offer at the prestigious Bates Academy, despite her family's financial situation and lack of pedigree. Then a student turns up dead in the lake, cutting to the core of the school and Kay's friend group. A sinisterly mysterious mastermind begins pulling Kay's strings and setting her up as the murderer. Kay must carefully solve the puzzles while risking what she's worked so hard to achieve before time runs out, her past is revealed, and all is lost forever. A classic and frightening tale of betrayal and mental illness told in a fresh and contemporary way, this book is difficult to set down for even a moment. It is an intricately designed, beautifully written, and extraordinarily chilling story. VERDICT Recommended for fans of psychological thrillers and mysteries who want to be riveted until the very end.-Emily Grace Le May, Williams School, New London, CT

    Copyright 2017 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    December 1, 2017
    Grades 9-12 Murder, mayhem, and unreliable friendships take center stage in Mele's debut novel. Kay Donovan, a popular girl known for her soccer skills and her biting humor, gets more than she bargained for when she and her friends go to the lake, after a night of dancing, and a girl's body turns up, frozen and with her wrists slit. When Kay gets an email the day after, things take a dark turn, and she ends up ruining the lives of former friends and classmates in an effort to assuage her own guilt. As she embarks on the digital scavenger hunt in an effort to clear her name, Kay starts to wonder who is actually behind it all. To some extent, the pacing is inconsistent, and certain characters are static in the end, which may lead readers to wonder how certain relationships came to be. Mele, however, manages to weave a tale of mystery, intrigue, and revenge in the style of Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why (2007), but with its own twists to keep readers on their toes.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2017, American Library Association.)

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