The Girls Are All So Nice Here by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
A lot has changed in years since Ambrosia Wellington graduated from college, and she’s worked hard to create a new life for herself. But then an invitation to her ten-year reunion arrives in the mail, along with an anonymous note that reads, “We need to talk about what we did that night.”
It seems that the secrets of Ambrosia’s past—and the people she thought she’d left there—aren’t as buried as she believed. Amb can’t stop fixating on what she did or who she did it with: larger-than-life Sloane “Sully” Sullivan, Amb’s former best friend, who could make anyone do anything.
At the reunion, Amb and Sully receive increasingly menacing messages, and it becomes clear that they’re being pursued by someone who wants more than just the truth of what happened that first semester. This person wants revenge for what they did and the damage they caused—the extent of which Amb is only now fully understanding. And it was all because of the game they played to get a boy who belonged to someone else and the girl who paid the price.
Alternating between the reunion and Amb’s freshman year, The Girls Are All So Nice Here is a “chilling and twisty thriller” (Book Riot) about the brutal lengths girls can go to get what they think they’re owed, and what happens when the games we play in college become matters of life and death.
I got a copy of this book from Netgalley and the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
There are some content warnings to be aware of before reading this book which includes: bullying, mental health, drug and alcohol abuse, self-harm to name a few.
The Girls are All So Nice Here is a thriller that had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I read this in almost two sittings while I was commuting to my job, which takes me about 2 hours a day. I love how Flynn drew upon how brutal girls can be – we don’t use our fists, we use our words and snide glances to undercut others. To quote Olivia Rodrigo, “it’s brutal out here.” Some girls just really aren’t all that nice. I enjoy how this title is a play on the girls are all so nice – it was said a lot during my first year when in fact, girls can be super bitchy and fake to one another.
The present is where Amb’s 10-year college reunion happens, and where she begins to receive notes and e-mails stating that the person knows what she did 10-years ago. Amb and Sully attend their 10-year college reunion, and both are receiving threatening notes stating that the person knows what they did that night. Neither of them knows who is sending the notes and if they can even trust one another.
There’s a dual timeline in this novel, one in the past and one in the present. The dual timeline added to the suspense and trying o figure out what happened to Amb and Sully in their first year at college. Normally I am not a fan of the dual timelines, but I think this time it was done tastefully and added more depth and suspense to the plot, and even showed some character development in Amb as well. There was much more added to the story than anything being taken away from this perspective.
I really enjoyed seeing Amb in college, which is where the most action happens as we see her start college in the fall and the lead up to Dorm Doom. A lot of the suspense occurs during the 10-year reunion – you don’t know who is sending these notes to Amb and Sully, and things begin to escalate as Amb doesn’t want her husband, Adrian, to know too much about her past in college.
I think that this is a testament to Flynn’s writing that I wanted to shake Amb throughout this novel. I totally get her motivations for wanting to shed the image and who she was in high school to become more popular in college – I think that a lot of teenagers feel this pressure to fit in, to get a new friend group when they start their post-secondary education. This also shows her character development, and how Flynn captures what it’s like to be a teenager/young adult navigating that first year of post-secondary education.
Amb, Sully, Adrian (Amb’s husband), Flora, and the secondary characters were all well-written – they each had distinct personalities and characteristics. I felt like I knew each of them when they were in their first year together, and then ten years later they changed as they got older – as people grow and develop. They were complex, dynamic, and well-written.
I was constantly wondering what “Dorm Doom” was about, and what significance it had to the story overall, it kept me in suspense all the way until the end.
I still can NOT get over that ending, I was not expecting it, and that’s what makes a good thriller to me. The “what did I just read” and the “holy crap” moment where you just need a few moments to process… Yeah, that happened in this book to me.
Let me know if you’ve read this book in the comments below!
Cups of Tea:
Tea Pairing: Black Jack from SerendipiTea
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Published: March 9, 2021