Title: Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls
Author: Lynn Weingarten
Genre: YA Contemporary/Mystery
Publication Date: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
They say Delia burned herself to death in her stepfather’s shed. They say it was suicide.
But June doesn’t believe it.
June and Delia used to be closer than anything. Best friends in that way that comes before everyone else—before guys, before family. It was like being in love, but more. They had a billion secrets, tying them together like thin silk cords.
But one night a year ago, everything changed. June, Delia, and June’s boyfriend, Ryan, were just having a little fun. Their good time got out of hand. And in the cold blue light of morning, June knew only this—things would never be the same again.
Now Delia is dead. June is certain she was murdered. And she owes it to her to find out the truth…which is far more complicated than she ever could have imagined.
Sexy, dark, and atmospheric, Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls will keep you guessing until the very last page.
Quick and Dirty:
This mystery of the girl that commits suicide and the friend she left behind will leave you asking questions, even at the end.
“I’d forgotten what it was like to be that alone.”
I should start out this review saying that I had originally picked this book for two reasons. The first was I was intrigued by the cover. The second was I was attempting to change my mind about mysteries/thrillers with a book that was not being hyped up. Because I am not a mystery reader I may not be the best person to review this book, so I have decided to focus only on characterization and the writing.
The writing was what I had expected it to be: mediocre. There were not really any moments that struck me as amazing writing but there weren’t any moments where I hated the writing either. While there were some quotes that I enjoyed like the following:
The wet meat of my heart is flinging itself against the walls of my rib cage. I don’t know what to do now. But I know that I am finally choosing her, choosing Delia the way I should have back then, even though she is not here to choose anymore. I feel the strings that always held us together holding me now. I can feel my insides tied to hers, even though hers are nothing but smoke and ash.
These quotes were few and far between. For the most part the the book kept a steady pace and was a quick read. The only thing that seemed to make the book drag a bit were the characters themselves, specifically the narrator June. While I understand the reason that the author had to make this particular character as gullible, self-conscious, and weak as she was, it was not the type of character that I enjoyed, especially in first-person. I did not want to listen to the character’s inner mental workings as they jumbled the farther into the mystery that she got. The male cast did not help me like the book either, because almost every guy that was presented to the reader simply falls flat. Ryan, June’s boyfriend, is paper thin and sounds very often as if he is speaking from a script. Then Jeremiah, Delia’s ex-boyfriend, is portrayed as being warped by his grief, but even that grief seems unbelievable and over acted. Sebastian was the only character that I found myself interested in did not come into the story until about two thirds into the book. After reading this book I am actually more interested in Sebastian’s story and kind of wish that had been the book I had read instead. The one feature of this book that I had hoped to like was the friendship portrayed, mostly through flashbacks, between June and Delia, but the more that was shown of this friendship the more disgusted I became with the way that June simply let Delia take control of her.
2 years, 5 months, 24 days earlier
By the time Delia and June got to the reservoir, the boys were already there.
Delia linked her arm through June’s. “Don’t be nervous,” she whispered. “It’s not too late to change your mind.” She was using this gentle, sweet tone she only ever used with June and her cat.
But June shook her head. “I want to get this over with.” It was the summer after eighth grade, and June had decided it was time.
Delia snorted a laugh. “Well, that’s one way to think about it.”
They kept walking down toward the water, and June could hear the others now—laughter, the clink of bottles, and music coming out of someone’s phone. According to Delia, they were out there almost every night during the summer. They all went to Bryson, which was the school Delia would have gone to if she hadn’t convinced her mother to tell the school district that they still lived in their old house even after they’d moved in with Delia’s stepfather.
“Guys at Bryson are generally hotter,” Delia had told her once. “More skateboardery than soccer player, which is why it’s better not to go to school with them. Then you don’t have to see them in the morning and look at the oozy zits they popped when they got out of the shower, or smell their coffee farts, and have no choice but to find them disgusting forever.”
And so when June mentioned not wanting to start high school still not having kissed anyone, Delia made a joke about kissing her, then laughed and said, “Well, you’ll just make out with one of the Bryson boys, then.” Like it was no big deal and already settled. Delia, of course, had kissed lots of people. Eleven at last count, according to her list.
They made their way toward the tiny flickering campfire and stopped. Delia reached over one of the guys’ shoulders and snatched the bottle of beer from his hand. Then she backed up and sat on a rock. Delia stayed far from the fire. She always did. Fire was the only thing on earth she was scared of.
“Hey, D,” the guy said without turning. He had longish floppy hair and a black-and-white striped T-shirt.
“Hello, boys,” Delia said. “This is June.” She turned to June and handed her the beer. “June, I can’t remember any of their names. It doesn’t really matter, though.” Delia grinned at June. She was doing her Delia Thing, which guys always seemed to love. June held the beer tightly to keep her hands from shaking. She pretended to take a sip and looked at them more closely.
There were four: one shirtless with wiry muscles, two in black T-shirts who looked tough and cool, and the one whose beer she had. She watched as he raked his hair away from his face. He had a tattoo on the back of his wrist where a watch would be, a figure eight maybe, but she couldn’t say for sure. He caught her staring at him, and by the light of the fire she thought she could see the tiniest hint of a smile.
“Tell us honestly, June,” Shirtless said. “Is Delia paying you to hang out with her?”
“No,” June said. “I’m her imaginary friend.”
June hadn’t known what she was going to say until the words popped right out. When she was around Delia, whe was a better, more clever version of herself. Like she really was someone Delia had made up.
All the boys laughed. And for a second June felt bad; maybe it wasn’t nice of her to join in with the boys’ teasing. But Delia laughed too and slung her arm over June’s shoulder, proud.
“Then how come we can see you?” said Shirtless.
“She must have a very powerful imagination,” Striped Shirt said. “A dirty one.” He was staring directly at June then. She felt herself Blush, and she was glad it was dark. She liked it the way his voice sounded, sexy but playful, like he was saying that but also making a joke about someone who would say that, all at the same time.
June glanced at Delia, who was looking back and forth between them. Delia gave June a tiny nod. Him. A minute later when the boys asked them to sit down, Delia arranged it so June and Striped Shirt were sitting next to each other. And then a minute after that Delia walked toward the water. “Hey,” she shouted. “Come with me if you’re not a pussy.” They all watched as she stripped down to her bra and underwear, climbed to the top of the tall rocks, and threw herself off into the reservoir.
“We better go down there and see if she died,” Shirtless said. Even though they could already hear her splashing and whooping below. Shirtless and the two in black stood up. Striped Shirt stayed behind.
“Next time you take a drink from your sink,” Shirtless said, “remember: my balls have been in your water.” He leaped off the edge, and the others followed.
And then it was June and Striped Shirt all alone, just the way Delia had planned it. He leaned over and put his elbows on his knees. She could see the tattoo on his wrist again. It was covered in plastic wrap. He reached out to rub it like he wanted her to notice.
“I only got it a few days ago,” he said. “So it itches.”
“Does it mean something?”
“Yes,” he said. And she couldn’t tell if she was supposed to ask more questions or not. So she just picked up a skinny stick and poked the end of it into the flame.
She wished very much that Delia were still there next to her instead of far away in the water. June’s heart was pounding. She felt small and scared. She closed her eyes, pictured Delia nodding. Him.
June took a deep breath, then turned toward Striped Shirt, and in one swift motion she grabbed the neck of his shirt and pulled him in toward her until their lips were touching.
For one horrifying second he just sat there, lips slack. His mouth was cold and tasted like beer, and she thought about the fish at the bottom of the reservoir that sometimes nibbled at their toes when they went swimming, and how this was what kissing one of them might feel like. But a half second later he started kissing her back, and a second after that he pushed his tongue against her lips. She opened her mouth and let it in.
This is my first kiss, she thought. I am having my very first kiss now.
But it didn’t feel sophisticated or cool or even good. It was odd—a little gross, really. And suddenly, June was struck with something else: For the rest of her life, no matter how many kisses she had, no matter who those kisses were with or what they meant, this was the one that came before all of them, out in the dark with a guy whose name she didn’t even know. He would always be her first.
Striped Shirt reached up and put his hand on her boob. His hand felt small, in a creepy way, kind of like a child’s. She thought maybe she wanted him to stop, wanted to undo this. But she wasn’t sure how.
A moment later Delia and the boys were back, climbing up the rocks, dripping and shivering. June and Striped Shirt pulled apart.
Shirtless said, “Whoa, hey now,” and started backing away when he saw them.
But Delia just stood there, wringing out her hair. June felt like she might cry.
“Come over here, D,” is what one of the guys said. “I think our boy and your imaginary friend could use some privacy.”
“How was the water?” June asked. She tried to make her question sound casual, but what she was hoping beyond anything was that Delia would somehow figure out all that June wasn’t saying. And fix it.
Delia raised her pinky up to her mouth and ran it back and forth across her bottom lip. She was staring straight at June.
June scratched her ear. Their code.
A second later Delia glanced down at her phone, then said loudly in a voice only June would know was fake, “We have to go now. Sorry, Junester, my mom just realized we’re not at home. She’s totally going to kill me.”
June scrambled to her feet.
“That sucks,” said Shirtless.
“Parents, man,” said one of the others.
“So I’ll see you back here sometime?” Striped Shirt asked June. And June nodded, not meaning it, not even looking at him.
Silently they walked away. Delia held June’s hand the whole way home. She never brought it up again.