I need to start this review by saying that I read a lot of mysteries, I watch a lot of police procedural shows and I listen to true crime podcasts while I work. I say this because the mystery element of the book was not interesting to me. I knew how that part of the story would play out from the start. What I did enjoy was the journey that the main character goes through to get to that point. 

All These Beautiful Strangers is written by Elizabeth Klehfoth and follows the life of Charlie Fairchild. She is the daughter of a wealthy real estate mogul. When she was a child her mother, Grace, disappeared from the family’s lake home and was never heard from again. Charlie is now a seventeen year old at the exclusive boarding school Knollwood, where she is eager to join the secret society known as the ‘A’s’. This is a group who is known for terrorising both staff and students and for whom Charlie must complete several tasks throughout the semester. 

As well as drama at school she must also deal with her family drama. Her mother’s family are convinced that Grace did not walk out on her children and that something bad happened to her all those years ago. Charlie soon begins to question everything that she had been told up untl that point. 

The story is told from different perspectives and through different timelines which I enjoy as it keeps you on your toes. As I mentioned at the start the answer to the mystery of what happened to her mother was obvious to me from the beginning but I loved seeing how Charlie handled figuring things out for herself. It was fun to put myself in her shoes and think about how I would do things if I was in her situation. 

What I enjoyed the most in the book was her time in boarding school. If you like Gossip Girl and the Pretty Little Liars then I think you will too. It’s a common trope of a group of bored, wealthy young adults pushing their limits and testing the boundaries of what they can get away with. I find boarding school stories to be a great escape, I went to a very boring school where nothing remotely exciting happened so I really love all forms of high school drama. 

This book is a fun read with strong themes beneath the surface. It shows how important it is to question narratives that have been told for years and to keep pushing when you know something doesn’t add up. 

-Michelle O’Brien
Contributing Writer
Girl Museum Inc.

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