Genre: YA Mystery/Paranormal
Pub. Date: November 15, 2016
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "Nicole Morgan has been labeled many things — the geeky music girl, the shy sidekick to Miss Popularity, and the girl with the scar. Now only one name haunts her through the halls of Oyster Bay Prep. The Girl in the Picture. After high school heartthrob Chace Porter is found dead in the woods near the school, the police are in search of the girl whose picture with Chace is the only clue found amongst his personal belongings. A girl who no one knew was even close to Chace–and whose dormmate, Lana Rivera, was Chace's girlfriend. Nicole is that girl and now she's the primary suspect in his murder. But what really happened that night? Were Nicole and Chace dating behind Lana’s back; were he and Lana over? Could either of them have killed him? Told in alternating points of view, that of our suspect, Nicole Morgan, and her former best friend and roommate, Lana Rivera, readers will piece together the story of a starcrossed love, a fractured friendship–and what really happened the night Chace was killed. From Alexandra Monir, author of the popular time-travel novel Timeless, comes a gripping mystery and a poignant romance in one thrilling read."
Nicole Morgan and Lana Rivera are polar opposites, but end up rooming with one another at their elite boarding school called Oyster Bay. Nicole is a very talented musician and is at Oyster Bay on scholarship. Lana, on the other hand, is just your average student with no special "talents" other than the fact that her mother is a Congresswoman. Enter Chase Porter a gorgeous soccer player that's new to Oyster Bay. Lana's mother has encouraged her daughter to get close to him as his father is in politics as well. Of course they hit it off and Lana realizes she actually likes him. Tragedy strikes when Chase is found dead in the woods and he has a picture on him that may provide the police with some leads. Who is in the picture? Nicole, Lana's nerdy roommate, and no one can figure out why he would have that picture. Now Nicole is a suspect in Chase's murder, but there's no way she did it. Right? Who was out to get Chase? Alexandra Monir's The Girl in the Picture is an interesting YA mystery that held my attention despite my issues with it.
I can't say I was overly invested in either Nicole or Lana in The Girl in the Picture. They both got on my nerves, especially Lana. She is your typical privileged mean girl who probably only got into the school thanks to her mother's connections and/or donations. Nicole is your typical quiet girl "from the other side of the tracks." She is always in Lana's shadow and she does makes some poor choices that put her in many unfavorable circumstances. Both Lana and Nicole feel like caricatures at times and they aren't really fleshed out. Nonetheless, I wanted to understand Nicole's connection to Chase and how their relationship formed.
In The Girl in the Picture alternates the points of view each chapter, which gives the readers various characters' perspectives. This definitely provided me with a more complete story as its unfolded and I became more invested in finding out who killed Chase and why. It's hard to come by an engaging YA mystery and this one definitely held my attention despite its flaws. The mystery surrounding Chase was definitely my favorite aspect of the story.
My one major issue with The Girl in the Picture were some paranormal elements that Monir threw into the story unexpectedly. I am not sure these elements were necessarily needed and at times they were confusing.
So, if you are a fan of YA mysteries that will keep you guessing and enjoy murder who-dun-it tales with a touch of paranormal, check out The Girl in the Picture this fall.