She Started It

HarperAudio. Jun. 2023. 11:13 hrs. ISBN 9780063286313. $27.99. THRILLER
Gilbert debuts with a twisty summer read featuring former high school classmates who gather for a surprise bachelorette party on a remote Caribbean island. Annabel, Esther, Tanya, and Chloe have been invited on the all-expenses-paid trip to celebrate Poppy’s upcoming wedding. The invitation is enticing but odd, for although the four were once close friends, they were unkind—even cruel—to Poppy. Even so, none of them want to pass up a free vacation. When they arrive, their feelings shift from excitement to wariness as they learn that there’s no cell service and no way off the island and that Poppy is now beautiful, confident, and successful—a far cry from the girl they knew 10 years earlier. Narrated by Sarah Ovens, Anne-Marie Piazza, Ione Butler, Billie Fulford-Brown, Sarah Cullum, and Ella Lynch, the audiobook gives listeners an intimate glimpse into each character’s POV. Initially, the similarities between the friends’ personalities may cause confusion, but the shocking, painful story takes shape as the writing flashes from the present to the past.
VERDICT Gilbert’s gripping thriller is a modern twist on Mean Girls and a contemporary adult version of Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars. A sharply drawn, unputdownable listen.
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