My initial thoughts about this book were, Ann Redisch Stampler is way too smart for me, at least her writing is, and if this is what private school is like in L.A., that is some scary shittake mushrooms right there.
I didn't realize going into this, that this story has all the elements I generally try to avoid; crazy BFFs, cheating, mean girl drama and revenge. But I wanted to give it a chance and I finished it in one sitting.
Emma was a character I had a hard time liking. I can appreciate trying to figure out who you are apart from your family or faith, but she swapped her Dad's control for Siobhan's. Their friendship was messed up from the start and new girl or not, I would have run in the opposite direction of someone like Siobhan. Nothing about her would've drawn me in and made me want to friends with her. She is toxic and I didn't understand how Emma could keep going back for more or why she would want to.
The relationship between Emma and her Dad, while extremely overprotective, was generally a positive one. He was present, concerned and well intentioned and despite her many mistakes, things were in a much healthier place by the time the book ends.
And then there is Dylan. I wanted to like him, I did and I wanted to understand how his screwed up family could affect the choices he made. But here's the thing, there was no excuse for the choice he made after he and Emma broke up. None. To me, that would be almost unforgivable. I say "almost" because I like to believe I'm capable of forgiving anything, in time, but I don't understand how there can be any trust left. Ever. He does redeem himself somewhat at the very end but even that seemed too little too late.
Fans of Pretty Little Liars and The Innocents Series will enjoy this, but it just wasn't for me.