Author: Gillian French
Date Started: May 30
Date Finished: June 10
Format: Hardcover from my shelf
It’s summer in rural Maine; when seventeen-year-old Darcy Prentiss isn’t raking berries with her sister, Mags, and cousin, Nell, during the day, she’s drinking and swimming with the boys in the quarry by night. She knows how to have a good time, just like anyone else, but when you’ve been designated the town slut, every move you make seems to further solidify your “trashy girl” reputation.
But the fun is what’s been keeping Darcy’s mind off the things she can’t forget: a disturbing secret she shares with Nell, the mysterious disappearance of her ex-best friend, and that hazy Fourth of July party that ended with Darcy drunk, on her back, wondering how she let it get this far.
Then someone in town anonymously nominates Darcy to be in the running for Bay Festival Princess—a cruel, almost laughable gesture that can only be the work of someone with a score to settle. Everything Darcy has been trying to keep down comes bubbling to the surface in ways she wasn’t prepared to handle…and isn’t sure if she can.
This was another book I received in a monthly subscription box – the theme of the month was Mean Girls – and at first I didn’t think I was going to like it. Only because I never heard/saw the book before. But when I picked it up and read the first chapter, there was something there and I kept reading. The family dynamic in Grit was intriguing to me. The way Darcy interacts with her sister Mags and her cousin Nell, at first, made me think that they were just really good friends, not family. I also kind of like that the mom was so handsoff with Mags and Darcy. Usually I don’t like parents in YA novels they are more whiny than the teens themselves. That only really applied to Darcy’s aunt Libby who was always sulking around and commenting about Darcy and her wild ways.
Then there seems to be the big three mysteries that underlay this novel. First, last Fourth of July and a party where Darcy got really drunk and somehow ended up sleeping with a guy who may or may not be ‘in love’ with her. From what is told about that night from Darcy’s perspective it may be more than just a drunk one night stand. It actually read more like rape to me. The second mystery, is there always seems to be a car hanging around the house late at night, but when Darcy notices, it takes off. It isn’t until near the end of the book that this mystery gets a little clearer. I won’t spoil it, but yikes. Poor Nell. The final mystery is the disappearance of Rhiannon – Darcy’s former best friend – last summer. The cops are still looking into it, because a body has never been found. They think Darcy had something to do with it, because she’s been real jumpy about answering their questions. All of this really plays together with mystery #2, but I really liked how Darcy figured it all out.
As for Darcy’s character, I kind of liked her and I kind of didn’t. I liked how close she was with her sister and cousin. I liked the fact that the reason she was so mysterious about what happened last summer was because she was trying to protect Nell. And sometimes I liked that she was driven to beat Shea – the guy she ‘drunkly hooked up with’ – just to wipe the smug look off his face. But I didn’t like how reckless she was. There were a lot of moments when she takes off and acts recklessly when things started getting really tough. And I get that she’s just a teenager, she’s bound to make mistakes, but did she really have to make so many of them?
Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. This was actually a really interesting read. It sort of reminded me of a Sarah Dessen novel with a little bit of mystery thrown in. The characters were well fleshed out and the way the mysteries unfolded was quite entertaining to watch.
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