Book Rating: ★★★☆☆ (3.5 / 5 stars)
Audio Book Performance: ★★★★★ (5 / 5 Stars)
There is murder afoot…and the popular girls (or princesses) of Chaminade High are at risk! Rookie detective, Callum Pederson is on the case, going under cover with his partner as a student at the high school. But, after getting wrapped up in the ins-and-outs of the school, Callum finds himself reliving his own high school years, trying to impress the other “princes” while wooing the heart of the 18-year-old daughter of the principal. Will he uncover who is murdering these girls? Or will he fall victim to the same game?
In dark high-school twist on both murder and fairytales, this story in the Faraway collection once again takes familiar aspects of princesses and princes and turn them on their head. Written as a police transcript, this was very effective as an audiobook, giving us a more emotional insight into the motives of each potential culprit, as well as Callum’s own uncertainty.
I think the fact that I listened to this as an audiobook rather than read it is what made this book 3.5 stars for me rather than 3 stars. While the story is compelling, it is definitely very dark, focusing on toxic masculinity, assault, and gruesome murders. While it was executed well, it definitely took me off guard how dark these high schoolers were portrayed in the story. In addition, I think the most uncomfortable part for me was how they placed this 21-year-old detective as a student, rather than a teacher. This led to questions of authority, which are addressed in the book. But, if that makes you uncomfortable, then I don’t recommend reading this book.
Overall, it was still quite an entertaining read/listen, with an evident commentary on toxicity of cliques, male or female. Sometimes, we really are doing something to impress others…and that might lead to the harm of those you care the most about.
What’s it about?
There are no happy endings for the Princesses of Chaminade High in this short, twisty tale of teenage murder games by the New York Times bestselling author of The School for Good and Evil series.
The victims are the most popular girls in school, each murdered and arranged in a grim fairy-tale tableau. To find the killer, rookie detective Callum Pederson has gone undercover where the Princes hold court. He’s found enough secrets among the bros to bring them in for questioning—but he could very well get lost in the games the Princes play.