Book Review: The Girl in the Wall by Daphne Benedis-Grab

Title: The Girl in the Wall

Author: Daphne Benedis-Grab

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Shelf: Read-in-2012, Young-Adult, 3-out-of-5, TBR-in-2012, NetGalley-Read, Kindle-eBook

Release Date: 18 December 2012

Synopsis: “Ariel’s birthday weekend looks to be the event of the season, with a private concert by rock star Hudson Winters on the grounds of her family’s east coast estate, and all of Ariel’s elite prep school friends in attendance. The only person who’s dreading the party is Sera, Ariel’s former best friend, whose father is forcing her to go. Sera has been the school pariah since she betrayed Ariel, and she now avoids Ariel and their former friends. Thrown together, Ariel and Sera can agree on one thing: this could be one very long night.

They have no idea just how right they are.

Only moments after the concert begins and the lights go down, thugs open fire on parents and schoolmates alike, in a plot against Ariel’s father that quickly spins out of control. As the entire party is taken hostage, the girls are forced apart. Ariel escapes into the hidden tunnels in the family mansion, where she and Sera played as children. Only Sera, who forges an unlikely alliance with Hudson Winters, knows where her friend could be. As the industrial terrorist plot unravels and the death toll climbs, Ariel and Sera must recall the sisterhood that once sustained them as they try to save themselves and each other on the longest night of their lives.” (Taken from Goodreads)

– – – –

Let me start off by just saying that I stayed up till four in the morning to finish this book. This should give you an indication of how interesting the last few chapters were. However, what you also need to know is that I had my first creepy dream because of this book. Not exactly a nightmare … but it made my heart pound in the last few minutes while I escaped from a house.

This book started off very strongly. The plot moves along very fast which I love. It ends really strongly as well, but the middle was a little weak. There were a few points scattered throughout which made me raise my eyebrows in doubt, and I hated the lack of editing throughout this book. And it’s very evident. Basically on every page.

Example: The author kept changing her mind about the amount of time Sera and Ariel had been ignoring each other. On one page it as 9 months and 4 days, on another 9 months and 11, and sometimes 9 and a half months. Not to mention grammar, spelling and not sure if it was only on the NetGalley version, but words that start with a ‘th’ had the ‘th’ missing. So instead of ‘there’, the word ended up being ‘ere’. Very annoying but I adapted to it. 

So the book starts off in Sera’s point-of-view (POV), where she is forced to attend her ex-bestfriend Ariel’s birthday party. We are given a little background information, letting us know that Ariel hates Sera because she backstabbed her. Very teen drama-y. Well, that’s what I thought at first, then BAM, by the end of chapter one, two people are dead. I should have expected that because of the blurb, but I really didn’t realise how abrupt it’d be. And the deaths … I was not expecting those. The amount of deaths and the brutal ways that some of the teenagers had to die. It was very Hunger Games style brutal, and that definitely took me by complete surprise. Here I was thinking that this book was all about the teenage melodrama between Sera and Ariel, and how they resolve their issues while under threat by wow, it was definitely so much more than that. I definitely would not be recommending this book to anyone that is skirmish reading about death. It’s a novel that you need to be emotionally stable to sit through. I will admit that I cried through a few sections.

As the book continued on, it switches between Sera’s and Ariel’s POVs after every chapter, giving us a good glimpse into what is going on outside and inside the tunnels, where Ariel is hiding. The tunnels are basically secret passages that lead around her house. What I loved most about this book is the growth of the characters. After the first few chapters, I remember saying to myself that Sera and Ariel were pretty flat and kind of blended into each other. Benedis-Grab seemed to have differentiated them only by making them opposites of each other, with Ariel being a hot-headed rich girl, and Sera being a shy wimp. I was extremely happy to see how much they changed as the story progressed and all the lessons they learnt from this experience.

********* SPOILERS *********

There were many things that I found odd about the book. While everyone else’s phones were taken away from them, Ariel managed to escape into the tunnels before anyone noticed. It is hard to believe that a teenage girl did not happen to have her phone on her. While I can let that slide as Ariel was wearing a dress that probably had no pockets, I can’t let the fact that she was able to enter her bedroom multiple times to retrieve things, slide. What person doesn’t have a spare phone lying around their room/house? Ariel entered her room before it was ransacked by the agents holding her friends hostage. Surely, she would have been able to get her phone/a spare one.

And while I’m on the topic of phones … how is it even possible that her dad’s phone is unable to make emergency calls. The phone as been described as the newest model of some brand that isn’t released on the market yet … and yet it doesn’t have the capability to make emergency calls? Even my old crappy Blackberry Curve is able to make emergency calls. The whole ordeal could have ended without so many body bags as well. And this missing little detail just nags me in the wrong way.

********* SPOILERS *********

I think overall, some parts were pretty predictable, but it was still a very intriguing and interesting read. It was definitely not what I expected, and it story grows stronger as it moves along. While it definitely needs a huge edit, I did thoroughly enjoy this book.

RELEASE DATE: 18th December 2012

THANKS TO: Merit Press and Daphne Benedis-Grab for the galley to review!

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