*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. *
The Mad Girl, at its core, is about trauma. Cee Stark finds herself under the influence of a cultish priest who instills in her shaky beliefs and questionable coping mechanisms. Because she believes so strongly in slaying the evil in the world and rewriting her story, Cee lashes out at a man who attacks her in the neighborhood park. Once the police take on the case, it soon becomes clear that nothing is quite what it seems.
- Suspense and tension were sprinkled throughout, offering a fist-clenching read. It was difficult to determine who was telling the truth, and that's exactly what readers are looking for.
- Each character had an arc. Everyone had baggage or trauma they were attempting to cope with, offering more intricate storylines.
- I appreciated how unreliable Cee's scenes were. I could never tell whether her recollection of an event was true.
- A great deal of time was spent on the case. Oftentimes, writers don't put a lot of time into police matters unless it is an explicit detective novel.
- Instead of using typical descriptions, there were many mixed or otherwise confusing metaphors. It wasn't uncommon to have to reread a sentence to understand its meaning.
- Much of the dialogue was wonky. Either the conversations were too robotic or too concise. The sentence "Understand." was used multiple times in place of "I understand" or "understood". It was jarring and often took me out of the scene.
- The teen interactions were not accurate or realistic. As the story is set in late 2012, and I graduated high school in 2011, I feel I can say the following with confidence. Unlike in the book where teenagers are borderline nymphomaniacs, kids date and fool around without posting their conquests and nudes on the internet. Sure, there are those who feel the need to brag, but never has an entire school posted about such things on social media. There were always the few who bragged about sleeping with someone, but photo/video evidence would have been texted or emailed.
- On a similar note, girls would have generally avoided Chris Holman after how he treated other girls. Not everyone wants to be popular, especially when the only way to reach popularity is to sleep with the biggest asshole on campus. This is where the stereotypical cliches come in. Though they're overdone, they exist for a reason.
Overall, I enjoyed the read. There were aspects of the plot I found lacking or didn't fully appreciate but I was gripped by the story and wanted to know how it ended.