Thursday, August 28, 2014

Book Review: The Girl in the Park

Title: The Girl in the Park
Author: Maria Fredericks
Publisher:  Schwartz & Wade
Genre: Young Adult // Murder // Mystery
Format: eBook
Source: Library
When Wendy Geller's body is found in Central Park after the night of a rager, newspaper headlines scream,"Death in the Park: Party Girl Found Strangled." But shy Rain, once Wendy's best friend, knows there was more to Wendy than just "party girl." As she struggles to separate the friend she knew from the tangle of gossip and headlines, Rain becomes determined to discover the truth about the murder. Written in a voice at once immediate, riveting, and utterly convincing, Mariah Frederick's mystery brilliantly exposes the cracks in this exclusive New York City world and the teenagers that move within it (goodreads). 

For a while I was stuck between a 2.5 rating and a 3 rating. Unfortunately, even though Maria Fredericks talks about series topics for the YA crowd, the formulaic plot couldn't raise this book to a 3. 

Plot: A young girl goes missing after a house party one night and she is found strangled and sexually assaulted the next day. I chose this book because it's the classic YA murder mystery, especially when it involves a strained relationship. The novel starts right in the action; our MC, Rain, receives a call early one morning from her ex-best friend's mother wondering if she knew Wendy's whereabouts. The novel progresses as Rain finds clues that leads her to believe that the culprit was a fellow classmate and she does whatever she can to bring justice to Wendy Greller. I really liked that Rain was a fragile creature with insecurities. This novel is as much about Rain's attempt to find herself as it is to find Wendy's killer. I also liked that Fredricks brings addresses the issue of victim-blaming and slut-shaming. These are very serious issues in the media and it was good to see it addressed for the high school crowd. Unfortunately, the mystery was too easy to solve and I felt like I was reading just to confirm my theory (it was confirmed). There were no new developments, just waiting for Rain to realize what you, the reader, had already realized. 

Characters: Rain is a very interesting main character. She was born with a cleft palate which made her the target for most of her young life. As the book is fairly short (just 224 pages) and was not enough to get to know the characters. We meet Rain who has the most development, Taylor who is Rain's best friend, and Nico who is the prime suspect. I didn't make a connection with any of the characters, I barely made one with Rain. There are hints about Rain's personal life situation, but not enough to form a full picture. 

Setting: The Girl in the Park takes place at an upper class New York high school. There isn't much to say about it. Rain moves mostly between her house and school, and I couldn't really make a clear image of what everyday life was for the residents. Many of characters allude to the socioeconomic status of the neighborhood and how there are outsiders, but I didn't get that. From anyone. 

Short n Sweet: Maria Fredericks' The Girl in the Park is a stereotypical "party-girl-found-dead whodunnit with no surprises or loops. The characters are mostly one dimensional but Fredericks does make the issue of slut shaming a focus and how people are eager to blame the victim rather than the true culprit.  


  1. That's too bad that it's not anything extra. Sometimes the same old formula is still fun to read if there's something new or really great about the characters or the setting or something. Good review!

  2. I haven't heard of this one, but I know how much it sucks when characters don't have any sort of depth. I feel like this book had a lot of potential given it's content. Sorry to hear that this one didn't work out so well for you!


  3. I don't do stereotypical or predictable because they tend to take the fun out of reading IMO. The characters sound interesting, but the rest of the elements don't really jive with me. Thanks for the heads up about this book; I will stay clear.

  4. What a shame the mystery was too simple and predictable. I do like that she hit on excellent subjects, maybe this would work better for younger YA and middle grade?


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