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This Sweet Seventeen Party Totally Isn’t Ending Up On MTV

Erin reviews The Girl In the Wall, a book that is TOTALLY more violent than The Hunger Games, with possibly a more kickass protagonist to boot?

This Sweet Seventeen Party Totally Isn’t Ending Up On MTV

BOOK REPORT for The Girl In The Wall by Daphne Benedis-Grab

Cover Story: Hey, Miss Leading, You Wanna Dance?
BFF Charm: Yay!
Swoonworthy Scale: 7
Talky Talk: She Said, She Said
Bonus Factors: Hidden Tunnels, Tertiary Characters
Relationship Status: Let's Totally Go Steady!

Cover Story: Hey, Miss Leading, You Wanna Dance?

This is actually a repackage of this book, so I hate to rag on this book's cover, but DAMN is this misleading, or what?  I mean, if I were the kind of person who didn't read flap copy (are there people who don't read flap copy?  Who are these fly-by-night crazies?) and I were, like, shopping for my . . . my niece, let's say!  My niece who is a hardcore adventurist and reads tons of true crime stories and is obsessed with, like, Jack the Ripper and crime scenes.  My niece who is exactly the same as me at that age.  Then I would totally pass over this book, because it looks like a book about a pretty, vacant girl who really likes pink!  I mean, this is totally false advertising!

OR!  What if you bought this for, like, your twelve year old or something, because it seems light-hearted and it's quick and the chapters are short and then it's like BOOM, enjoy the BLOODBATH, KIDDO.

The Deal:

So, check it, double-deck it, while I wreck it:

Ariel and Sera used to be BFF, until 9 months and 4 days ago.  Sera did something that Ariel found unforgivable, and ever since, Ariel has made sure that Sera's life is a living hell.  All their friends at their fancy prep school have made Sera's life hell, so she is not looking forward to attending Ariel's Sweet Seventeen Birthday Party, which is all night slumber party, complete with a private concert by super-hot Hudson Winters, of whom Sera kind of secretly might have a poster pinned up somewhere, shut up.

But the party takes a pretty bad turn very quickly, and it's not because the shrimp salad was left out of the fridge.  Just as the lights are going down for the concert to start, armed gunman come in and grab Ariel's dad and Bianca, Ariel's new BFF (who, in the dark, looked a lot like Ariel).  Confusion, confusion, and Mr Barrett and Bianca are dead.  Ariel's missing, everyone else is freaked, and Sera and Hudson have to figure a way out.

Who's behind the hostage situation, and why? Can Sera and Ariel put aside their differences?  And how many bodies are going to pile up before this is over?

BFF Charm: YAY!

Y'all, y'all.  I would give a BFF charm to Sera, because she's brave and she does the right thing for her friend, even when it's hard, and she is quick on her feet and adorably sarcastic.  But y'all.  Y'ALL.  I AM GONNA PLATINUM ENCRUST ONE AND BEDAZZLE IT WITH DIAMONDS AND ENGRAVE IT WITH OUR NAMES AND STUFF AND GIVE IT TO ARIEL AND MAYBE ASK HER TO MARRY ME??  IDK.  I don't know, it's all happening so soon but it feels very real.

Y'all, Ariel is BALLS TO THE WALLS AWESOME.  Which is good, since she spends most of the book in the walls (her house is riddled with secret tunnels, something only Sera and Ariel know about), hiding from the people who want her dead and/or helping her friends mount a defense.  Considering that her dad gets killed, her house has been taken over by armed gunman, she can't trust anyone, and her birthday party was totally ruined, you'd expect her to have a breakdown, but she totally doesn't.  She is fierce, lean, focused and strong, and even if part of that might be denial, that is okay.  Sometimes you just have to work with denial until you have time to deal with your feelings, and Ariel gets that.  Love that bish.  Love her.

Swoonworthy Scale: 7

There are two relationships to root for in this book, as things heat up between Improbably Handsome And Secretly Appalacian Hudson Winters and Sera and Ariel and her gardener, Nico.  I never know how to feel about relationships springing up in times of crazy tension.  You know?  It's like Sandy Bullock and Keanu Reeves in Speed.  And they didn't last, and what they went through is like way worse, I feel, because she had a bomb actually STRAPPED TO HER BODY at one point, and plus they had to do the awful part where they laid down on the little hatch and made it into a sled, which just is a recipe for disaster.  What I'm saying is, they probably limped home and had suuuper awkward first-time sex, made even more awkward because they were so injured, but then after a few week everyone's shoulders got put back into alignment or whatever and then they got to know each other better and had a pretty good sex life for a while but she still ended up with Jason Patric, didn't she? 

Okay, tangent, I'm sorry.  I'm just saying that if you meet a dude or a lady or a ladydude when you're in fear of your life, maybe you should hold out on the kissing.  Even if the kissing is super, super, super swoony.  Because eventually, you will just end up with Jason Patric.

Talky Talk: She Said, She Said

This book is told in alternating chapters from Ariel and Sera's POV, which is totally effective as a narrative device here, because it allows the reader to move around the house with Ariel while also staying in the center of the hostage situation with Sera.  The girls and the people around them both learn clues as to what's going on, so it's fun to piece it all together (I figured out who was behind it early on, but not why!).  And they girls are both really funny in their own way, so it's fun to visit each of their heads. 

Bonus Factor: Hidden Tunnels

Damn, I have always wanted to own a house with a hidden tunnel system!!  One time my next door neighbor and I "discovered" a secret tunnel that went from her closet to the hallway bathroom!  That is, the crappy people who built our houses decided to finish one closet wall with a panel and we decided to unscrew it.  IT WAS SO EXCITING. 

Obvs, having hidden tunnels in your house is not only an interesting way to kill an afternoon playing Harriet Tubman, but will save your life in a hostage situation!

Bonus Factor: Tertiary Characters

I like it when a book takes time to really flesh out some of its less prominent characters. It makes their eventual bloody demise so much more satisfying!

Casting Call:

Gage Golightly as Ariel

Only Meghan has the unfortunate job of having to watch Teen Wolf (sorry, Meghan!!) so I have no idea if this girl is even good.  But I like her name.

Jane Levy as Sera

Sarcastic and preppy?  Those two minutes of Surburgatory I record every Wednesday after Modern Family have convinced me that Jane Levy's my go-to girl.  They have also convinced me that Elton from Clueless should not grow a goatee. 

Relationship Status: Let's Totally Go Steady!

Book, let's be honest.  You did not look like you were going to be my type.  And I definitely have a type, okay?  I'm too busy to be dating just any ol' book.  I need action!  Adventure!  Which you DEFINITELY delivered!

So even though people may look at us a little funny as we're walking around the streets, I won't care!  They may wonder why I'm dating such a lipstick book, but they just won't know about our Warrior Weekend dates.  Let's go steady, book.  That way you can protect me in case the apocalypse comes.

FTC Full Disclosure:  I received my free review copy of this book from the author.  I received neither money nor cocktails for this review (damnit!).  The Girl in the Wall is available in stores now.

Erin Callahan's photo About the Author: Erin is loud, foul-mouthed, an unrepentant lover of trashy movies and believes that champagne should be an every day drink. When she isn't drowning in a sea of engineers for whom Dilbert is still uproariously funny, she's writing about books, tv, the cult of VC Andrews and more.
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