Author: Michele Jaffe
Status: Stand alone novel
One word summary: Disturbing
Before I start, can I just say that the cover is creepy? Beautiful, but creepy. And strangely enough, that phrase seems to describe the entire book .You'll get what I mean in a second.
Jane Freeman is run down, after leaving a party alone, and left to die in a rosebush. She wakes up in hospital two days later with no recollection of what happened. And no idea who did this to her. But it's clear right from the start, what with the sinister gifts from her 'secret admirer' that her accident was no accident and someone really wants to kill her. And so begins a journey through Jane's memories as she tries and tries and really tries to find out who hates her to death (pun intended). But as Jane remembers what happened that fateful night, she realizes that one of her friends might well and truly be her killer.
I don't know why but I'm fascinated by these stories. A popular girl who gets in sticky and often potentially life-threatening situations because of her status as Queen Bee; take Natalie Hargrove from The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove for instance. Jane Freeman is part of the popular gang at her high school along with her two friends, Langley and Kate. The background between the three girls isn't exactly original; Jane was 'adopted' into the popular crowd by Langley and Kate who were, of course, popular before birth.
Jane is a puzzling character; at times she seems as ruthless as Langley and as broken as Kate but then we get to know the other sides of her, like her talent at photography and friendship with Scott. She has her many flaws and it can be very frustrating at times how shallow and oblivious Jane is, especially about relationships. But we have to keep in mind that she's still coming to terms with the death of her best friend Bonnie as well as her father, who passed away a few years earlier.
Like I said before: beautiful but creepy. The beautiful bit is Michele Jaffe's writing, in particular the prologue and epilogue, and the whole Jane-lands-in-a-rosebush-after-being-run-over-how-cool-is-that?. Basically, the creepy part is everything else about the book from Jane's friends to what happened that night. The storyline is good, alternating between Jane recovering in hospital and her memories. I also like the symbolism of the rosebush and to quote the cover: 'Sometimes the truth is a very thorny thing.' It is indeed.
High Points: the solving of the mystery, Michele Jaffe's prose
Low Points: a lot of Jane's relationships
Recommendation: Read if you're looking for a combination of mystery, romance and attempted murder.