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I Belong


Review: Blacklist by Alyson Noël

Title: Blacklist

Author: Alyson Noël

Genre: YA Mystery

Series: Beautiful Idols (Book #2)

Publication Date: April 4, 2017

Format: Hardcover, 448 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062324551 (HarperCollins)

ISBN-13: 978-0062324559 (HarperCollins)

Reviewed by: Tara

Synopsis:

In the second book of the suspenseful Unrivaled trilogy from #1 New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noel, Layla, Aster and Tommy have to unearth Hollywood it-girl Madison Brooks’ secrets before one of them takes the fall for her disappearance and murder.

Layla Harrison has finally found herself in the middle of a celebrity story worth reporting. Aster Amirpour’s name is in every tabloid—even if it isn’t the good kind of publicity she hoped for. Tommy Phillips is inches away from getting the girl of his dreams, which may be harder than scoring a VIP ticket to an Unrivaled nightclub.

But Layla, Aster and Tommy never imagined it would be because they’re entangled in the disappearance of Madison Brooks—a story that’s blinded the world like a starlet blinded by the flash of a paparazzi camera.

Now, Layla is receiving mysterious messages from an anonymous source, Aster’s looming murder trial is so huge even her parents’ lawyer can’t save her, Tommy is retracing his steps as the last person Madison saw alive, and Layla’s ex Mateo finds himself lured into the fold.

You can dig up dirt about celebrities that the tabloids miss if you search long enough. But when Layla, Aster, and Tommy team up with an unsuspecting insider to unearth the truth, they’ll find that some secrets are best kept in the grave.

Quick & Dirty: The second installment in this YA mystery series delves deeper into the potentially deadly secrets lying behind the glamour of Hollywood, raising the stakes for all involved.

Opening Sentence: Breaking News: Discovery of Blood-Soaked Dress Leads to Arrest of Night for Night Party Promoter!

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

This book has the glamour and glitz of Gossip Girl combined with the suspense of Pretty Little Liars. It was an addictive read, although I still don’t know what the endgame of the story is. Reading this book felt somewhat similar to watching the mid-season finale of a television show.

One of my favorite things about this book is that it alternated between the individuals trying to solve the murder and Madison’s story. (No, this is not a spoiler, you find out she’s alive in Chapter one). The switches gave the story an intensity that it otherwise would not have had. While I liked the mystery, it was starting to feel a little dragged-out toward the end. There’s also a secondary mystery that is a bit creepy.

There were a lot of narrators. It was told in third person so it wasn’t difficult to follow the story. However, the fact that Layla, Aster, Tommy, Trena, Madison, and Mateo all had POVs meant that the reader followed the story from every possible angle. Additionally, the story moved along at a very quick pace. This combination lead to an almost overwhelming amount of information sometimes with only a small amount of time to process it. The fast pace made for a very quick read.

I ended up liking most of the characters more than I expected. The author has a talent for realistic dialogue and interactions. I adored Aster’s relationship with her younger brother and her scenes with her parents were unexpectedly emotional. I didn’t understand why Mateo was included in the story since he contributed very little to the murder mystery plot. However, I generally dislike unnecessary love triangles so my dislike of him is partially due to that. Other than him, I enjoyed seeing how the characters interacted with each other and figuring out each of their important secrets. I’m very intrigued to see what happens next with Trena in particular. I honestly have no idea who masterminded the kidnapping, although I do have my guesses. (Even if my list of possible suspects is essentially as long as the character list for the novel).

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was exciting, engaging, and dramatic. I liked that it delved deeper into the underbelly of Hollywood, of what secrets and lies exist behind the glitz and glamour. I’m not a huge fan of how abruptly the book ended but I will definitely be reading the sequel. If you enjoyed Gossip Girl or Pretty Little Liars, you’ll probably enjoy this one as well.

Notable Scene:

Tommy bit back a grin and took a slow sip of beer. Layla had no patience for small talk. He’d learned that the first day they’d met, when he’d made the mistake of trying to engage the cute blonde who’d rolled up to the Unrivaled Nightlife interview on an electric-blue Kawasaki. That first meeting hadn’t gone well, but back then Layla had hated Aster too. And yet, here she was, determined to find some way to save her.

Tommy pressed his forearms to the table and leaned toward her. It was time he stopped fantasizing about a relationship that would never be and focused on the real point of the meeting.

“Still can’t get in to see Aster.” Layla sighed. “Who knew county jail was tougher to breach than the VIP list at Ira’s clubs?” She frowned. “Not to mention how I’m pretty sure Trena knows more than she’s letting on. But every time I bring it up, she insists on talking around it. It’s like she’s determined to block me and I can’t figure out why. After all, I’m the one who fed her the clue about Ryan Hawthorne. Maybe she needs a reminder.”

Beautiful Idols Series:

1. Unrivaled

2. Blacklist

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FTC Advisory: Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins provided me with a copy of Blacklist. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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