A teen thriller with a clever and intriguing plot.
The first seven weeks of secondary school changed Mandy Crystal’s life. It was in those seven weeks that she became friends with Petra Armstrong and Tina Pointer. And it was at the end of those seven weeks that she refused to join them when they impulsively decided to explore the house on Princess Street. That was the last time anyone saw either of them – Petra and Tina disappeared, never to be seen again. Labelled the ‘Moth Girls’ by the media, the two girls have haunted Mandy ever since. For five years she has had to live with the guilt that for many hours she didn’t admit where she’d last seen her friends. Were those hours crucial? Would they have been found it she’d told the police where they’d gone sooner? When the house is knocked down, Mandy can’t resist visiting. It is during this visit that a chance encounter changes everything.
It took me a while to really get into this book. Told in six parts from two character’s perspectives, I initially found it hard to identify with the main character, Mandy. I simply didn’t feel close to her or able to empathise with her worries and concerns. This is, perhaps, because there is a lot of backstory woven into this early section and the narrative style (a remote third person – he/she – voice) adds extra distance.
I feared this was going to be one of those books that you dread as a reviewer: the ones you would put down if you hadn’t made a commitment to read to the end. I started to struggle with part two for the same reasons but it was here that I also became intrigued by the plot. Our new narrator introduces another, very different perspective. Which account explains what really happened?
As the story moved on I became totally gripped. With just over a dozen pages left, I was open-mouthed unable to conceive how author Anne Cassidy was going to explain what had really happened to the Moth Girls – and partly terrified she would fail to do this. However, not only does she provide a satisfying explanation in a handful of pages, she also manages to tie up all the loose ends. I’d love to be able to tell you more but to do so would spoil your enjoyment of the book.
If you enjoyed Moth Girls, you should check out Anne Cassidy’s other writing. Why not read her award-winning Looking for JJ. Or, for a different type of mystery teen thriller with a powerful plot, I’d definitely recommend Lying About Last Summer by Sue Wallman.
Date: December 2015
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Author’s Website: Anne Cassidy
Review first published on The Bookbag