Title: The Outliers
Author: Kimberley McCreight
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Realistic Fiction, Young Adult
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
From the New York Times bestselling author of Reconstructing Amelia comes a fast-paced teen series where one girl learns that in a world of intrigue, betrayal, and deeply buried secrets, it is vital to trust your instincts.
It all starts with a text: Please, Wylie, I need your help. Wylie hasn’t heard from Cassie in over a week, not since their last fight. But that doesn’t matter. Cassie’s in trouble, so Wylie decides to do what she has done so many times before: save her best friend from herself.
This time it’s different, though. Instead of telling Wylie where she is, Cassie sends cryptic clues. And instead of having Wylie come by herself, Jasper shows up saying Cassie sent him to help. Trusting the guy who sent Cassie off the rails doesn’t feel right, but Wylie has no choice but to ignore her gut instinct and go with him.
But figuring out where Cassie is goes from difficult to dangerous, fast. As Wylie and Jasper head farther and farther north into the dense woods of Maine, Wylie struggles to control her growing sense that something is really wrong. What isn’t Cassie telling them? And could finding her be only the beginning?
In this breakneck tale, New York Times bestselling author Kimberly McCreight brilliantly chronicles a fateful journey that begins with a single decision—and ends up changing everything.
It started out so, so well. I tend to ignore/dislike a lot of contemporary YA, but this one had a hold on me from the start.
Wylie receives a mysterious text for help from her best friend Cassie and sets off on a road trip with Jasper (Cassie’s boyfriend, who Wylie hates) to find her. Wylie struggles with her inner demons all throughout, and it’s great how she doesn’t come off as horribly whiny and angsty.
The characters were interesting. Wylie, Cassie, and Jasper (Cassie’s boyfriend) all have their own struggles, and you can see the different ways they deal with it. They’re not so annoyingly whiny/angsty that it seems unrealistic, unlike characters in other contemporary YA I’ve read. You get little glimpses of their lives through flashbacks and little stories, and it got me curious. I wanted to know more about them, and I wanted to know how it all tied up to Cassie’s disappearance and all the weird stuff happening.
The road trip itself was pretty much everything I wanted it to be. The agony of waiting for another text from Cassie, that fear that started off as a tiny sliver when they started out, but soon became more apparent the further they got from home. The full-blown fear when they discovered people were not what they seemed to be.
I read a lot of the book while I was on a 12-hour bus trip home, and the descriptions of the surroundings as they started getting darker and, well, a bit sinister, started sending shivers down my spine because I took a night trip and could easily imagine myself in Wylie’s shoes. (For some reason, I imagined myself getting stranded in the middle of nowhere alone and having to ask from help from strangers…. *shudders* Needless to say, I did not leave the bus except for a quick bathroom break at a stopover for fear I’d get left behind lol)
I think I’d have enjoyed this book more if the plot twist that explains everything didn’t…feel kinda out of place. I guess I was expecting something else altogether, so I wasn’t expecting the plot twist to be so….scientific-ish. That and the fact that the story started getting a bit draggy around the last 1/4 of the book (this irony) just didn’t sit well with me. I am so disappointed I didn’t like this book as much as I thought I would. 😦
The book also ends in a horrible cliffhanger, which is probably understandable since this is part of a series, but I’m not sure if I’m going to read the next book. We’ll see. Haha.
Disclaimer: I won an Advanced Reader Copy through a book giveaway hosted by National Bookstore.