The story has taken on a slightly sinister air and I like it. There was a death, an accidental drowning at a party of a drunken middle aged man. But there is the question, how accidental was it. Pessl hints around the edges of this question rather than asking it directly, and when she finally does, it comes from an emotive, hormonal, and unstable teen, the Blue-blood Jade. And she herself is drunk when she raises it.
The group of blue bloods is strange, and yet it puts me in mind of similar people I knew when I was in high school. There were always tales of drunkenness at things like Prom, and keggers held in the woods off Treeline Ave. But for some reason, the kids in the book just seem a little bit darker, a little bit more sinister or tragic and I really like the way this is weaved into the narrative.
Finally, the character of Hannah Schneider is taking on a sinister air as well. We know she dies, it says so in the dust jacket and in the first few pages of the book. But so far, no indication that this will happen in the chronological narrative. Hints of dark pieces of her past surface. Her choice of reading material raises a few eyebrows – the biography of the Manson family. The fact that she has no pictures, apparently, in her home. No photos of family or friends. Then, when a few old faded snapshots are found of young children, there is doubt that they are of her. Oh yeah, and then there’s the fact that the bluebloods catch her prostituting herself one friday a month. How odd is that?! Obviously not hurting for money, she must be motivated to do this by some other reason. And her choice of beaus – unsavory. Wrinkled. Malodorous. In other words, the complete opposite of her. It’s just weird, but all told in a very convincing way.
Blue’s (that’s the main character’s name) pseudo-adoption into the popular group the Bluebloods is also slightly sinister. I get the feeling, along with Blue, that she hasn’t totally be accepted and that the rest somewhat resent her presence. But Hannah likes her, they adore Hannah, and so they try to like her. That to me is very dark too, because it all comes back to Hannah’s manipulations.
Somewhere in the book, she quotes a text that says something like an adult who meets their social needs more often than not with children, and shows extraordinary interest in children and their worlds, is not entirely sane or safe. Now see, it’s lines like that that just make me shudder a bit…and keep turning the pages. Despite what I may have initially thought, this story is a page-turner.