Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

White Rabbit

Rate this book
Rufus Holt is having the worst night of his life. It begins with the reappearance of his ex-boyfriend, Sebastian—the guy who stomped his heart out like a spent cigarette. Just as Rufus is getting ready to move on, Sebastian turns up out of the blue, saying they need to "talk." Things couldn’t get much worse, right?

But then Rufus gets a call from his sister April, begging for help. And then he and Sebastian find her, drenched in blood and holding a knife, beside the dead body of her boyfriend, Fox Whitney.

April swears she didn’t kill Fox—but Rufus knows her too well to believe she’s telling him the whole truth. April has something he needs, though, and her price is his help. Now, with no one to trust but the boy he wants to hate yet can’t stop loving, Rufus has one night to prove his sister’s innocence…or die trying.

329 pages, Hardcover

First published April 24, 2018

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Caleb Roehrig

17 books718 followers
Caleb Roehrig is a writer and television producer originally from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Having also lived in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Helsinki, Finland, he has a chronic case of wanderlust, and can recommend the best sights to see on a shoestring budget in over thirty countries. A former actor, Roehrig has experience on both sides of the camera, with a résumé that includes appearances on film and TV—as well as seven years in the stranger-than-fiction salt mines of reality television. In the name of earning a paycheck, he has: hung around a frozen cornfield in his underwear, partied with an actual rock-star, chatted with a scandal-plagued politician, and been menaced by a disgruntled ostrich.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
562 (26%)
4 stars
815 (37%)
3 stars
553 (25%)
2 stars
158 (7%)
1 star
60 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 435 reviews
Profile Image for destiny ♡ howling libraries.
1,659 reviews5,139 followers
April 18, 2018
DNF @ ~150pg

If it tells you anything about how severely I disliked this book, I only got a little over 100 pages into it and I had a literal full PAGE of bullet points for things that I found to be nonsensical, annoying, or downright unhealthy.

I wanted so, so badly to love this book. There are so few own-voice gay books in the world that, when I saw this on NetGalley, I immediately requested it and was ecstatic when I got my approval. Plus, the fact that it was a thriller, and judging by the title, had some relation to an Alice retelling? Yes! This book was supposed to be perfect!

Unfortunately, it completely bombed for me, right from the beginning. It starts off with an incredibly unhealthy portrayal of a relationship, as the main character gushes and raves about how his ex-boyfriend (of a whopping month-long relationship) completed him:

“I was like a violin—an object that hasn’t much purpose until someone touches it, fills it with resonance, draws things from it that it can never produce on its own. Sebastian had been the one to draw music from me, and it’s why the end was so bad; before him, I’d never actually realized how painful the silence was.”

Can we please stop writing YA books that tell teens - of any sexuality or gender identity - that their significant others should complete them and bring meaning into their previously dismal, hopeless lives? It's like Twilight all over again, I swear.

The unhealthy portrayals continue as we learn that the ex-boyfriend/love interest is a black bisexual teen boy who is depicted in some of the worst possible lights. He not only flirted incessantly with other people while dating the protagonist and remained best friends with a group of kids who constantly beat Rufus up, but he then proceeded to ghost the poor kid so that he could go crawling back to his ex-girlfriend. The entire character arc for Sebastian (the ex-boyfriend) is gross. Not to mention, in the first 1/2 of the book (which is roughly what I read), his entire purpose is just a plot device - there's very little dialogue on his end at all, and he honestly just feels like a prop.

The final straw for me, however, was how unrealistic many of the events (past and present) were. Rufus is abused constantly at school, to the point of broken bones over and over again, but nobody ever steps in, including his mother (which would make more sense if she was written as a neglectful parent, but she's actually a very loving figure). There are discussions of legal matters between Rufus' parents that make no sense at all and make it very evident that no substantial research went into the laws behind these topics.

If you're looking for a queer YA thriller and don't mind complete suspension of disbelief while you read it, I would say maybe check this out, but otherwise, there are many better books in the world for you to spend your time and money on.

All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Feiwel & Friends for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

You can find this review and more on my blog, or you can follow me on twitter, bookstagram, or facebook!
Profile Image for Shaun Hutchinson.
Author 25 books4,638 followers
May 14, 2018
Murder, drugs, romance, gay stuff. This book was AMAZING. I haven't read a book in a day in forever, but I couldn't put White Rabbit down. It's like The Hardy Boys but gay...only if the Hardy boys weren't brothers because ew. So more like Sherlock and Watson, but actually gay instead of the gay-baiting the BBC series does.

Anyway. Such a fantastic murder-mystery with some really great character drama layered in. Caleb really, really knocked it out of the park.
Profile Image for Lauren Lanz.
686 reviews247 followers
July 30, 2020
A thrilling murder mystery from front to back, I flew through White Rabbit in no time. The final chase scene left me cold and clammy in the middle of summer.

Rufus Holt is experiencing the worst day he could possibly imagine. First, his ex-boyfriend turns up wanting to ‘talk’. Next, his sister April calls in a panic, begging for his help. When Rufus and his ex turn up to April’s location, they find her knelt over her dead and bloodied boyfriend, holding a butcher knife. She claims that the sight before them wasn’t her doing, though it’s hard for Rufus to even think straight with the knowledge of what he’s just been roped into.

From the very start I was gripped by this story. Rufus’ narrative was so easy to latch on to, making for a quick and enticing ride. Being sixteen, he makes some horrible decisions, though to me in a murder mystery that’s always welcome. Mistakes only add to the buildup.

I could hardly guess at who the perpetrator was. The pages were going by so quickly I hardly had time to ponder who it could have been. The characters were well written to the point that I suspected malicious intent behind almost each one.

The added relationship drama and romance were really well balanced with the main storyline. Rufus’ trouble with his ex-boyfriend helped me get a feel for not only his past, but his character as a whole. There was long withstanding problems between the two, and I appreciate the many discussions Rufus had with his ex making his hurt known.

Overall, White Rabbit is a book that you can fly through in little to no time. It’s an entertaining and dark mystery that doesn’t try to be more that what it is presented as. I had a great time reading!

Trigger warnings: Underage drinking/drug use, sexual assault, abuse, homophobia.
Profile Image for 여리고.
71 reviews218 followers
May 5, 2020
TW: Death, profanity, blood, murder, physical violence, homophobia, homophobic slurs, misogyny, arson, sexual assault, drug dealing and abuse

White Rabbit is an exact display of when the egregious facet outweighs the fine one.

Giving this a one-star rating says a lot about three things; how I generally feel for this book, how I feel generous in spite of myself (because had I not been one, I'd have thought of dnf-ing this book ages ago) and how my taste for quality books is still intact.

This may sound a bit whiny, but this book just reeks of everything rancid as much as I believe it to be plain rude and yikes.. absolute rubbish. Seriously, I cannot stress it enough.

Let's face it though, there are way too many heavy and pressing issues drilled into this book that at one point I forced myself to think it'd be tolerable, just enough to get to the bottom of it but then lost what little of my sanity I had left in the process. Ironically though, I somehow lost count of these nagging concerns along the way.

First and foremost, getting past the halfway mark felt a whole lot like being crushed by a heavy chore that demanded to be done one way or another, torturous and wearying feelings adjacent to the act alone be damned.

Honestly speaking, the only thing that kept me going was the curiosity to know if Rufus would ever receive his fair share of reward money in the end. That was it, that was the only anchor. I did not care about anyone at all. Everyone was so unlikable, even the main characters made me struggle colosally to root for them.

To think that I was utterly fooled into thinking that this book would be the next best thing to ever find its way into my hands is a wee bit depressing. It feels already like a crime just getting past a quarter of it. It is very credulous of me to give in entirely to its gradual hold over me, misjudging it obviously at face value. Everything about it yells debilitating and offensive, add in unhealthy doses of mysogyny and homophobia for that matter.

Following how some stories go along can be very exhausting, and this sure as hell fits the very description. As tiring as it is, I also find it very disturbing, in a way that it pushes you to your limit. The amount of condescending remarks and baleful relationships present in this book is a little too overwhelming. My mind feels drained, burned out, sucked out of the little satisfaction it has left. As much as I liked how things ended, the vile flavor of the book overall has won me over.

There are so many things I like you all to know about how badly misleading this book is. It promises a thrilling investigation of a complicated murder that transpired in a party by a lakeside, spearheaded by an underage student aka the drug dealer, who also happened to be the victim but instead all I get is a doleful mix of dread, disappointment and galling turn of events.

Painstakingly speaking, what highlights this book the most is the way it deals with people in general, how almost all the characters are shamelessly disrespectful to almost everyone in the book. Every character wants to be, feel superior in their own way, letting anyone who gets in their way think lowly of themselves so as to control them in whatever life aspect they deem necessary merely for the sake of amusement. This narrative does not only basically rely on a hateful commentary on homophobia in and of itself, but it also strays off the sophisticated path of acting civil towards other people.

Another thing that had gotten me hot and bothered involved Rufus' anger management issues not being dealt with and resolved properly. He was not even given fair and suitable treatment following the appropriate procedures of handling such a case, unless I'd forgotten about its mere inclusion in the story.

The characters are all insufferable and may be triggering to some of the readers, well that is, if any of you is still willing to give this a try, given what I just said about the book.

Now, off with the author's way of portraying details and metaphorically putting them all in a single narrative. I cannot help but see it coming off as pretentious and cringeworthy at times. The former one flaunting Roehrig's way with words and how broad his list of vocabulary is, which makes the story more difficult to process, hence unconvincing. I don't mean to throw it in as a major turnoff, if anything it helped me learn some words I have not encountered yet with all the conversations I have had in my life. But understand it didn't help in the matter of making the events as real and natural as they could be, if you get what I mean.

When I say the writing can be cringey at times, I mean to imply it got under my skin most of the time. And I'm telling you, it was as bad as it sounded like. To get you a slight glimpse and evoke better comprehension of it, allow me to share this one occurrence in the book when Rufe and Bash were spying on Hayden and Lyle's altercation, just before all hell broke loose for all of them.

"Sebastian glances up at me, eyes like the fat zeroes on a time bomb, and I feel the atmosphere drop."

And that is just one of those many irky comparisons evident within the book. Tell me if that doesn't weird you out or tug at your scale of very bad impression. Plus the underlying fact that the overall plot happened just overnight made the writing feel forced and rushed, interlacing as many explanations and happenings convenient to the author all at once. That said, the plot, as luring as it can be at first glance, splayed all over the place.

Let's not even begin to talk about how irredeemable and cruel almost all characters that composed the book, most especially Rufe's biological father, Peter Covington, who was supposed to be the most rational and sympathetic of them all. Instead, his repulsive ego made a successful attempt to abandon his own son completely and deprive the stated son of any care and concern of a father. Write in a bunch of motley crew; Fox the controlling one, April the supposed disposable girlfriend, Lia the overshadowed social climber, Peyton the smart conniving one, Race the impulsive one with poor judgment, Hayden the baddest of them all, Sebastian the most lucid among them all, Rufus the one with anger management issues, along with the side characters, and it will make for an abysmal piece of writing.

When it comes to the book's atmosphere, it tries so hard to be creepy and ominous as hell but rather ends up as bleak and uninviting to my eyes. Nothing really special comes to mind whenever I think about the places the main characters have been in. It lacks the unique flavor, the thing that makes a book indelible to the mind the way a remarkable one stays with you for a very long time.

By the time I got to the huge reveal, I was counting down the pages I still needed to get through to get over it as quickly as I came to despise the book itself. The element of surprise was anything but. As a matter of fact, I regarded it as another petty hurdle to jump over, tired of all that happened by then. And it is not a satisfying sentiment, at all.

Believe me when I say you did not miss anything if you decide not to have anything to do with this book whatsoever. If anything, it might even come as a pleasing favor to you not to fall into the same confines of a hellhole I had been dreadfully caged in for a month.
Profile Image for - ̗̀ DANY  ̖́- (danyreads).
257 reviews93 followers
May 1, 2018
. : ☾⋆ — DNF at page 89.

Caleb Roehrig would do way better as a screenplay writer than he does a book writer. his books read like tv show scripts.

his writing style isn’t exactly why i’m dropping this one, though. i’m dropping it because it reminded me way too much of *gasp* The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich, arguably the worst book released in the year of our lord 2017. poor characterization, weak personalities, terrible dialogue, even worse plot and world building. that’s The Love Interest in a nutshell, and that’s what was happening in White Rabbit. Caleb Roehrig has this thing where he LOVES putting his gay characters in shitty murder mystery situations just because. last time it was making a closeted gay guy’s girlfriend go missing and putting the blame on him, this time, making a gay kid and his closeted gay boyfriend go on a quest to find a murderer for???? no???? apparent????? reason????? at all????????????????????????

like, hear me out, i actually kinda liked Caleb Roehrig's last book, but the characterization in this one was just downright awful. our main character, whose name i don’t care enough to remember i’m so sorry, is an entitled little shit who thinks he’s better than all the popular rich kids JUST BECAUSE he’s not rich or popular. he goes about the murder mystery business on the sole pretense that when he was little he read middle grade mysteries and HE SOLVED THEM. MIDDLE GRADE MYSTERIES. WITH THE ANSWER BUILT INTO THE TEXT. HE SAYS THIS HIMSELF. next sherlock holmes, you guys.

then there’s our mc’s closeted gay ex-boyfriend, sebastian, who is by far one of the most ridiculous characters i have ever read. he tantalizes the mc, he has a girlfriend (whom he asks out on his knees, crying, in front of the whole school), he for some reason hangs out with the rich popular drug dealers even though he has NOTHING in common with them (who by the way don’t need to sell drugs?????? they’re rich??????? i just realized this omg)

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST. THE MC’S HALF-SISTER APRIL. ok so basically the mc’s dad is a very rich married dude who got the mc’s mom pregnant. he has two other kids, april and hayden, both of whom are shitty to the mc because he’s their poor and not popular half-sibling. except?????? they’re not shitty to him??????? no wait, they are. it changes from chapter to chapter. april LOOOOOOOOOOVES the mc. NO WAIT SHE HATES HIM AND BULLIES HIM. oh no!! but she needs his help???? OUT OF ALL THE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD????? and he answers her call!!!!!!! and helps her!!!!!!!!!!! WHY???????????? NO REASON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! god the characterization was TERRIBLE. i’m genuinely so mad.

i don’t have the willpower to continue reading this book when i know that i will honestly not enjoy a minute of it. the mc is awful. the rest of the characters are awful. the plot makes no sense. i’m not having fun ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Profile Image for Laura (thebookcorps).
838 reviews172 followers
August 27, 2018
4.5 stars

Thank you very much to Macmillan Children's Publishing Group for providing a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

TW: sexual assault, rape, homophobia, descriptions of violence, murder, drug use. 

White Rabbit is going to be the YA thriller of 2018. I'm calling it now. This murder mystery kept me on the very edge of my seat the entire time I read the book, and even up until the very end, I still had no idea who the killer was or how the book would conclude. A thriller in every sense of the word.

I'm not exaggerating when I say you won't see any part of White Rabbit coming. Just when you think you've figured out who the killer is, your theory is ripped apart and you have to sit there trying to figure out a new one all over again. 

White Rabbit is just so clever: the plot takes place over the course of one night, but nothing ever feels rushed. The protagonist, Rufus, is dragged from one dangerous situation to another as he investigates the murder of rich kid, and the prime suspect being his half-sister. Meanwhile, he's struggling with the fact that he and his mother may lose their home, while also spending the entire night with his ex-boyfriend who dumped him in a cruel way. We also get little flashbacks to the beginning of Rufus and Sebastian's relationship, which was one of the highlights of the books for me. There's a lot of going on plot-wise, but each issue is given enough page time, and nothing ever feels like too much.

I absolutely adored the characters, particularly the MC, Rufus. Rufus has so much on his plate, from worrying about his mother, to his horrible father intent on ruining them, to the bullying he deals with because he's gay, to his violent episodes.  He takes so much on his plate, and you can't help but feel for him, especially as the night progresses. His ex-boyfriend, Sebastian, was another character I loved, and trust me when I say you will ship these two like crazy. Sebastian is deeply closeted, and still struggles with what to label himself. The rest of the characters - all of whom are suspects -  are both loveable and hateful and (probably) guilty, but you can't help but like them. Well, at least I did. But my favourite character was Lucy, Rufus best friend, because she's supportive, loving, fun and incredibly positive.          

As the novel focuses on a murder mystery, the book still discusses some really important topics, including coming to terms with one's sexuality, understanding that it's ok if you don't have a label for yourself yet, thinking that bullying is just fun and games until you find yourself the victim, and what it's like being poor surrounded by rich teenagers. Roehrig talks about these issues in a frank, in-your-face manner - it's uncomfortable, but that's the point. Despite the fact that the book is about a murder, it also teaches some valuable lessons about bullying and privileged rich white kids.   

White Rabbit is such a compelling, unputdownable mystery novel. Everything about this novel, from the characters, to the story, to the writing, was remarkable. I highly recommend this intriguing book. You really won't know what hits you. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go buy Caleb Roehrig's other mystery, Last Seen Leaving. 
Profile Image for Cale Dietrich.
Author 7 books752 followers
November 11, 2017
There should be a word for that feeling you feel when one of your most hyped books delivers on everything you were hoping it would. That feeling is amazing, and I’m so happy to report I’m feeling it right now. LAST SEEN LEAVING is one of my favourite books – I adored Roehrig’s genius blending of a nail biting thriller and the coming of age of a gay teenager. As such, I had incredibly high expectations for Roehrig’s follow up, and he honestly smashed it out of the park. WHITE RABBIT is an incredibly fun, nail-biting YA thriller starring one of the most likeable gay heroes since Simon from SIMON VS. It seems destined to be a gay YA classic.

This is the sort of book you want to read knowing as little about as possible, because there are so many twists and turns and part of the fun is discovering the mysteries for yourself. I will say though, that the characters are all totally fleshed out and lovable. Rufus, the protagonist, is so likeable and feels so real. And I have a lot of feelings about the love interest, but again, I won’t talk about them here because I don’t want to ruin anything. But I’ll say that this book made me feel things strongly, which is generally the sign that I truly love a book. I grew to care so much for Rufus especially, and my heart ached for him when he fell and soared when he succeeded. Extra note: the fact that this is #ownvoices well and truly shines through here. Roehrig captures and describes feelings about being gay I don’t think I’ve ever seen talked about in a YA book, yet I have certainly felt. I love this book even more for this.

Like LAST SEEN LEAVING, WHITE RABBIT is also an incredible thriller. It’s fast paced and frantic and so much freaking fun. It’s slick and cinematic and it’s a total blast trying to figure out whodunit. I seriously couldn’t put it down.

So now I have a new favourite to sit beside LAST SEEN LEAVING. WHITE RABBIT is everything you want in a book. It has fully developed characters you fall for, unique, interesting world building, and a mystery so compelling it’s impossible to stop reading. To conclude: I don’t know how it’s possible for a book to be so thrilling and so adorable at the same time. WHIITE RABBIT is sexy and scary and everything you want in a gay YA book - and is an absolute must read of 2018.
Profile Image for Harker.
503 reviews51 followers
April 30, 2018
CW: sexual identity slurs, eating disorder comment, sexual assault, drinking/drug use by teens

Mysteries can be really interesting. I'm no stranger to watching them all over Netflix, Hulu, and whatever other streaming site I've got access to, not to mention gobbling up books. That's why I wanted to read White Rabbit: it sounded like a twisty maze of a murder mystery that would grip me from page one. 

Oh boy. It was a disappointment and I'm really sore about that. Reading the whole of the book turned out to be more of a duty than an enjoyable experience. The best thing I can say about this is that I can see it being easily adapted to other mediums. With a few tweaks and cleaning up of the more problematic aspects, there's still a lot of good stuff underneath. However, it was the troubling relationships, the lack of connection, and the pacing that ruined this book for me.

The relationship between Rufus and Sebastian before the book begins and during the majority of the book is, at best, uneasy and at worst toxic. Rufus was outed as gay in the fifth grade and has been dealing with the fallout since then, bullying and the like. Sebastian is terrified of what people would think if they found out he loved Rufus (his identity is unclear: bi, pan, or otherwise). The tension would make sense, but the toxicity comes in when you consider the dependence Rufus shows in regards to their relationship. He said many things that made it seem like Sebastian was the be all of his life and it was more than a little uncomfortable.

Dating Sebastian Williams was both the best and worst thing that ever happened to me. In a lot of ways, being with him made me feel as if maybe I’d never really been alive at all before. I was like a violin— an object that hasn’t much purpose until someone touches it, fills it with resonance, draws things from it that it can never produce on its own. Sebastian had been the one to draw music from me, and it’s why the end was so bad; before him, I’d never actually realized how painful the silence was.

Sebastian contributed to the toxicity in a few ways. While he and Rufus were dating, he would still be flirting with girls, even knowing that it bothered his boyfriend.

It bothered me that Sebastian still flirted openly with girls, even right in front of me, because I knew he still actually liked girls; but I also knew why he felt the need to do it, and I believed all the things he said to me in private— how special I was, how happy I made him, how good he felt when we were together— and so I plastered over my jealousies and let myself fall into him.

I understand why he felt the need to keep their relationship private, but knowing how Rufus felt and still doing things like this felt like it contributed to bad stereotypes about bisexual characters. Sebastian isn't identified as strictly bisexual, though he is coded that way, and these stereotype hints don't help. It's distasteful on its own and then Rufus letting him get away with it just adds a whole other level of nose wrinkling frustration.

Sebastian then ends their relationship by ghosting Rufus. He never recognizes or stands up for Rufus when his friends bullied him. He excuses what the bullies do, related to Rufus or not, as being "little kids" back then or just "kids". Age doesn't excuse the stuff they did because they were all old enough to know better by this point.

“You think maybe I’m in on it.” I respond to the charge with silence, and he states gruffly, “I wouldn’t do something like that, Rufe. Not to you. You know I wouldn’t.” “I don’t know what you’d do,” I shoot back,

Even if they weren't dating, it would have been the decent thing to do. Rufus confronts him about it at one point and Sebastian brushes it off as just something that they do and it doesn't mean anything. These two didn't seem healthy for each other and their ending up a couple didn't sit right. The trust issues that were around before the start and that didn't have the time to get properly worked on were really serious, as evidenced by the quote above when, after Rufus gets the call from April and thinks it's an ambush that Sebastian could be in on. You don't go from something like that to what they do on the night in question and have it be a healthy relationship without a heavy duty dose of therapy or something.

Moving on to Rufus and his half-sister April: whatever he did for her during the course of the book, I cannot believe that he would have so easily let her basically drift into his friend group at the end. Considering the torture that she put him through their entire lives, that her family put him through, it didn't make any sense. It felt like he was letting those things go and that hurt.

Rounding the corner, I walked straight into a trap. April stood against the wall, her blue eyes wide and solemn, and she watched with silent fascination as our older brother Hayden and two of his friends spent the next four minutes beating me into a quivering, bloody pulp at her feet.

There were also a few smaller things that bugged me that weren't really important to the overall story line, but were off just enough that my mind kept coming back, like a loose thread. For example, calling a manga volume by it's subtitle and then switching to the series title without explanation (only fans of the series would realize what had happened) or when Lia, one of the suspects in the murder, says she used prescription cold medicine to dose someone, but did so at a house where she shouldn't have had access to such a product (where did she even get it??).

It was really hard to get through the book because I realized around 30% that I didn't care about anyone. I was semi-curious to find out who the murderer was, so I forced myself to finish, but there was no fun, no enjoyment. 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for maria.
564 reviews354 followers
April 26, 2018

*Disclaimer* A copy of White Rabbit by Caleb Roehrig was provided to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.

Actual rating: 3.5 Stars rated up!


Initial post reading thoughts:

Well damn. That was one hell of a wild ride.


What I Liked

The continuous intrigue. There was not a single moment while reading this novel where I didn’t feel like I needed to know more as soon as possible. I was constantly on the edge of my seat wanting to know what was going to happen next. One thing is for sure, I was never bored while reading White Rabbit.

Incredibly fast pacing. I zipped through this one super quickly and I think that has a lot to do with how fast paced it is. The entire story within White Rabbit takes place over one evening/night/morning (except for an epilogue at the end) and I think the pacing made that feel very believable. There was barely a moment for you to take a breath during this story. It was constantly one thing after the next which made it very hard to put down this novel.

No predictability. I literally had no idea who did what or what the outcome of this story was going to be. The killer literally could have been anyone and I was not able to make a solid prediction throughout the entirety of the novel. Even at the end, the outcome was definitely not something I would have predicted and that is always fantastic when reading a thriller/suspense story.

Teen YA whodunnit. I love to read a good thriller/suspense, but they usually come in the form of adult fiction. The select few young adult versions of this type of story that I have read have usually fallen flat. White Rabbit had me entertained throughout the entire novel and it was finally nice to see a great thriller/suspense story come out for the YA demographic.

Unreliable & twisted characters. These kids are seriously fucked up. No joke. Their behaviour is appalling and downright ridiculous at times, but I think that lent itself to the reason why I couldn’t figure out who committed the crime. Everyone was terrible and could have easily been the culprit. A good suspense/thriller story needs a good unreliable character, and that applied to almost every single character in this story.


What I Didn’t Like

Strange writing style. I’m not really sure what it was about this writing style that felt a little off for me personally, but it took a little while for me to get into it. Once I was a few chapters in and started to get used to the writing, the story started to gain traction for me. It was just that initial moment that made me hesitate about the style of writing.

Hard to keep up with. There was a lot of brainstorming between our two main characters, Rufus & Sebastian. They were constantly trying to put together all of the puzzle pieces so they could solve the murder and get answers, but at times this was really hard for me to keep up with. The explanations got all jumbled in my head and I had to re-read them in some cases to try and make sense of what they were talking about. In some cases, the puzzle pieces never made sense to me, but I just dealt with it and continued with the story hoping that it would make sense in the end.

Who’s who? One issue with all of the characters being unreliable and the fact that there were quite a few of them, made it hard for me to keep track of who was who at times. Because a lot of these characters were minor ones, we didn’t get to learn too much about them, therefore they all started to blend and feel the same to me with the exception of Sebastian and Rufus. There were moments where they would mention someone by name and I had to stop and think about who that character was again for a moment.


Overall, I really enjoyed this thriller/suspense story, especially because it was written for the young adult demographic. It had its flaws, but for the most part, I was always intrigued and at the edge of my seat wanting to know more!
Profile Image for PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps .
2,306 reviews220 followers
April 20, 2018
***Thanks to NetGalley for providing me a complimentary copy of WHITE RABBIT in exchange for my honest review.***


When Rufus’s half-sister April calls for his help, he doesn’t expect his ex Sebastian to offer a ride. Rufus REALLY doesn’t expect to find April passed out with a knife in her hand, next to her dead boyfriend. She swears she’s innocent and needs Rufus’s help to find the real killer. What could possibly go wrong?

WHITE RABBIT by Caleb Roehrig delightfully grabbed me from page one with Rufus’s sardonic voice, a plot that left me guessing and imperfect main characters I couldn’t help but embrace. Diversity fit seamlessly into the characters without being part of the storyline including race and mental illness. My only criticism is the minor characters, especially the bad guys, were a bit one-dimensional, so much so I couldn’t empathize with the killer(s)’ motives. April and Rufus’s dastardly father was particularly loathsome and cruel.

Roehrig’s writing never quit and the fast pace didn’t allow me to breathe. I highly recommend WHITE RABBIT to mystery and thriller lovers.
Profile Image for Dylan.
547 reviews228 followers
January 19, 2018
2.5 stars.

This was my second most anticipated release of next year (first being THE APOCALYPSE OF ELENA MENDOZA, which I've already read), but unfortunately, it just didn't work for me.

One word I have for this book is rushed. This whole book takes place in the span of less than 12 hours, so I found a hard time connecting with the story, or any of the characters for that matter, so therefore, I just didn't care about any of the deaths or the ending.

But what I did like was the diversity. This book features a gay male in a thriller who is also dating a black man, who is potentially, bisexual.
Profile Image for Acqua.
536 reviews189 followers
October 1, 2018
2.75 stars

The first thing you should know about White Rabbit is that it is going to break your suspension of disbelief, and it will do that many times. If you're fine with that and want an over-the-top creepy mystery with a really nice second chance m/m romance, this is perfect. If you want realism, look elsewhere.

I think you should also look elsewhere if you want something memorable instead of a fun read that will keep you on the edge of your seat while lacking in depth. My feelings about this book are similar to what I felt about another very gay mystery I read this year (People Like Us by Dana Mele), and sometimes "spooky and fun if a bit trashy" is just what you're looking for. What I can say for sure is that White Rabbit didn't stand out for being bad.
My main problems with it were:
• It was too unrealistic. For most of the book, I didn't care - mysteries are addicting and that helps you forget most of the flaws - but sometimes it was too much
• The writing was mostly fine, until it wasn't.

It's been a while since I've read a book that could compete for the Worst Simile Ever Award, but what can you say about a book that gifts you sentences like:
Even the lawn bore the scars of fire, strange loops and lines branded into the earth as if a family of electric eels had been mating on the grass.

I have no idea what that's supposed to mean and maybe I don't want to know. But wait, there's more ugly:
My ex-boyfriend gives me an incredulous look, his soft, kissable lips scrunching up like a cat’s anus.

Yes, kissable. Like a cat's anus. Great.

That's not to say the writing was bad - the author actually came up with some very creative insults, which I really appreciated, and the creepy atmosphere was there - but it was just fine for the most part. The problem is, "fine" isn't memorable, electric eels and cat butts are.

What saved this book for me were the characters. Rufus is a gay teenager who has been bullied and has anger issues because of that; Sebastian is black and is Rufus' closeted, questioning ex-boyfriend. I really liked seeing their relationship develop, and their backstory, while painful - Sebastian broke Rufus' heart - was one of my favorite parts of the book.
I don't know if something changed between the ARC and the version I read, but I didn't find that backstory biphobic. Apart from the fact that you can't say there's a bisexual character cheating when that character is questioning his sexuality and not necessarily bi, but also: the bisexual cheater trope is bad because it frames bi people as inherently unfaithful or, in some cases, sex-crazed. The reason Sebastian got back with his ex-girlfriend is that he's a terrified, closeted kid in high school. As I saw a very similar thing happen in real life, I'm not ok with framing it as a biphobic trope. Teenagers are going to mess up. Closeted teenagers in a homophobic place will hurt a lot of people to not get hurt themselves. It's reality and it's ugly and it's not just a "harmful stereotype". (It was the most real part of the book, for me.)

The other characters were completely flat, which didn't help the already unrealistic plot. If you need to write a story which involves drug use, popular kids who are drug dealers, a teenager going on a murder spree, an adult asking a teenager to investigate said murder spree, and a somewhat exaggerated portrayal of high school cliques, you should have really solid characters. This book didn't.

About the resolution: I didn't find it predictable, but everything seemed not to adhere to the laws of logic and reality in this book, so it's not like I could piece together things.

[Trigger Warnings for: bullying, especially homophobic bullying, drug use, racism, and of course murder]
Profile Image for Adam Sass.
Author 5 books231 followers
July 26, 2017
A spiritual follow-up to Roehrig's debut mystery LAST SEEN LEAVING, WHITE RABBIT finds its main character - a young, heartbroken, rage-prone gay named Rufus - neck deep in a murder story that's intense and brutal in all the right places. Taking place in a single night following a Fourth of July party, WHITE RABBIT drags its tireless protagonist through one dangerous situation after another, whether its interrogating the spoiled rich kid suspects or worrying about his mother losing their house or dealing with having to spend the night with Sebastian, his ex-boyfriend who dumped him without so much as a text. The entire cast is so pernicious, hateful, and potentially guilty, WHITE RABBIT plays like a modern, teenage, lost MURDER, SHE WROTE episode. And that is the highest praise to me. Until the last page of the last chapter, you won't know what's going to happen. Pre-order this ASAP.
Profile Image for Kelly.
Author 7 books1,211 followers
May 16, 2018
Taking place within a 12ish hour period, this is a fast-paced thriller with a high body count. Featuring a queer main character and a romance, it's a fun read. Don't expect excellent character development (in fact, there's little beyond Rufus's own stereotyping of these rich jerks) but it's refreshing to have a bloody thrill ride with those who seem to deserve their ends getting it...and not have suicide or mental health be the boogeyman of the story.

Profile Image for Jessica Woodbury.
1,606 reviews2,047 followers
December 24, 2018
A solid if tropey YA mystery. I really enjoyed the way we slowly learned more, the pacing on the reveals was absolutely perfect. I liked Rufus and his partner-in-detection, ex-boyfriend Bash, very much and I admit sometimes the suspense of whether Rufus and Bash would talk about their relationship was more exciting to me than the murder, but I am a sucker for a queer love story.

My main issue is that this book stuck so strongly to it's poor kid vs. rich kid setup, where everyone rich is terrible (except for the love interest, of course) and they're all terrible to such an extreme that it's hard to care about anyone except our protagonist. If most of the characters in this book died, I would not have been all that sad. All our stakes had to be around Rufus because no one else was really worth caring about. I would have appreciated a more complex set of characters. (Apparently in fiction, the rich kids and the poor kids always go to the same school even though most schools in the US are highly segregated by race and class.)
Profile Image for Roxanne.
1,052 reviews52 followers
October 16, 2018
There were some things I didn't like and it was super full of hateful people. However, that being said I couldn't put it down and for real didn't figure out who did it until it was revealed.
Profile Image for Kristen.
1,799 reviews29 followers
March 17, 2018
Netgalley provided me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I'm always looking for good mysteries for my library, and I'm always looking for stories that feature LGBTQ+ characters...so I was excited when this one had both.

Like Roehrig's Last Seen Leaving, White Rabbit is more than just a mystery. Unfortunately, the pieces of this story just didn't feel like they fit together. It felt like the author had a really good idea for a mystery and a really good idea for an LGBTQ+ romance and decided to just smush them together. There are a lot of flashbacks and enormous 180's in the romantic story line (though I did enjoy some of the drama there), and the mystery story line isn't particularity exciting--characters keep dying and there are few twists and turns...Rufus and Sebastian just keep driving around and talking to the same people over and over, who reveal tiny bits of information each time. I enjoyed the dynamic between the two boys, and I wish there was more Lucy--she is definitely a character who didn't get near enough page time. Just kind of underwhelming overall.
Profile Image for Adri .
128 reviews84 followers
May 9, 2018
***4.5 Stars***
This was my first YA thriller and I loved it!

🦊 My Thoughts

White Rabbit was an unexpectedly fun read for me. I haven’t read the author’s previous book and I don’t think I’ve ever read a thriller before, so I had no idea what to expect going into this. But I was not disappointed! I feel like many people are apprehensive of reading it, maybe because of the genre, but I recommend everyone to give this one a chance because it might blow you away.

The story is set in a town slightly reminiscent of 90210 or any other place saturated with rich and privileged white kids. The protagonist, Rufus, lives a much less glamorous life with his mother and tries everything he can to avoid his jerk father and his new family. That is until Rufus’s half-sister, April, calls one night and drags him into a murder scene that seems to be her doing. April has something he desperately needs, but first, Rufus has to fill in the missing pieces of that night, unraveling the secrets of a bunch of privileged messed up kids. Then he has to prove that his sister is innocent (if she even is innocent).

To do this in the limited amount of time, he needs the help of his ex-boyfriend, Sebastian, who treated him like shit and broke his heart. Throughout this short of period of time, Rufus has to deal with his manipulating sister who’s looking guiltier and guiltier by the minute, his ex who insists on discussing their tragically-ended relationship, and the likelihood of Rufus and his mother losing their house. What first seemed an easy mystery turns out being a thread of a bigger, darker picture, and soon, Rufus is fighting for his life.

I’m usually quick to catch up on clues and predict stuff, but I couldn’t put things together in this book until the last few pages. So you could say I enjoyed the mystery aspect. Although, the characters were what really sold me. Rufus is a lovable protagonist; he is a caring and loyal person and he just felt so real. All the side characters were wonderfully complex. Even the rich jerks had other facets to their personality that made them intriguing. Because of this complexity of each character, it is difficult to predict the murderer. I loved the complicated relationship between Rufus and his sister, and I loved the dynamic between Rufus and Sebastian. With each flashback, there are new revelations about their dating life, and you can’t help but root for them even knowing how much heartbreak and hurt there is.

White Rabbit is a fast-paced, tremendously fun read that touches on sexuality, social class, drugs, and many more topics. Aside from the well-executed mystery plot and amazing set of characters, it is also wonderfully diverse, featuring a gay protagonist and a black, bisexual love interest. The only thing I would change is the development of Sebastian’s character. He’s the only black character in the main cast and I wish he hadn’t been such a jerk in the past (although he is overall a sweet person and I still adore him).

🦊 Praise / Criticism

👍🏾Diverse: #OwnVoices gay protagonist + black, bisexual love interest
👍🏾Tackles important topics like social class, drug abuse, bullying and sexuality
👍🏾Complex and intriguing characters
👍🏾Great mystery plot
👍🏾Paced well (fast read)
👎🏾I wanted a bit more development for Sebastian
👎🏾 Suspension of disbelief needed

🦊 Trigger Warnings
►Murder and violence
►Illegal drug use / Underage drinking

✪ Check out more reviews at my blog:
Profile Image for Ricky.
Author 8 books159 followers
June 14, 2018
After Last Seen Leaving, I found myself ready to be super-hyped for any future novels which Caleb Roehrig was to give us. Maybe his sophomore book doesn't quite reach that standard, but it's every bit as compulsively readable as Last Seen Leaving was. Believe it or not, though, the main mystery wasn't the greatest selling point for me, not when it became clear that it involved some of the asscrownest (not to be too Mara Dyer-y) characters you'll ever meet. Seriously, the rich kids who form the ranks of the suspects in this crime, they're all ingloriously gross and grossly insensitive and casually offensive to just about everyone else around them. I almost expected a sort of Murder on the Orient Express situation, to be honest, especially since the murder victim here is pretty much the worst of them all.

But the best part of the story, for me, is the relationship between Rufus and Sebastian (aka "Bash," which reminds me of the nicknaming of Bass Monroe on Revolution, but that's neither here nor there.) Relationship, or as the story begins, lack thereof, the two boys being exes. I've seen a couple of other reviews complain that Rufus is a victim of manipulation on Sebastian's part, especially highlighting the passage where Rufus metaphorizes himself as a violin - useless without being played, to paraphrase him. Admittedly problematic on the surface, but keep on reading the book and you'll also see things from Bash's point of view. While Rufus is out of the closet, Bash is not, and while he's got one public relationship with a girl, does that publicity mean he loves Lia more than Rufus? If he loves Rufus at all? Well, I won't get too spoilery, but Bash more than earns my sympathy. As does Rufus, because I actually super-relate to his little violin metaphor. Not because I was ever played with emotionally, but because nobody has ever wanted to make my heart sing like that, period. And I do, way too often, internalize it as a failure on my own part. So Rufus doesn't always make the best decisions, but that's to be expected when he's a teenager with emotional and mental health issues - he's particularly prone to anger, but he's nowhere near as bad as his bio dad and dangerous brother. (Just for the bio dad alone, this one's going on the reading lists of my Red Rain boys, Alex and Gabe.)

So yeah, I'm still counting myself a loyal Caleb Roehrig fan. And using his books (this one included) as comp titles for my queries because his boys would get along with mine that well.
Profile Image for viktoria.
214 reviews57 followers
December 30, 2022
You guys, this book had my favorite things and my favorite suspense mystery things and then some: a sarcastic, smart, flawed narrator who's been through hell and keeps going in a self-aware way—check; unreliable, shady, and multidimensional characters up the wazoo, left and right, good side and bad side, shady side and unshady side, and everything in between—check; sizzling chemistry—check; good sleuthing, but imperfect with a side admitting when you've made a terrible choice or not thought something through—check; page-turning suspense—double-check; awesome side characters—check; and shady rich people and family drama—triple check!

I enjoyed Roehig's Last Seen Leaving, and this was even better. I hope he continues writing this genre, because we desperately need well-written, suspenseful, diverse mysteries and thrillers, and he's been a delight to discover.

tl;dr: This kind of reminded me of a gayer, male Veronica Mars in the best of ways. <3
Profile Image for Tomes And Textiles.
246 reviews406 followers
June 11, 2018
Caleb does it again. Review to come.

Find my full review on YAWednesdays.com.

Imagine combining the slasher qualities of 90’s movies like Scream seamlessly with the warm haziness of unrequited love from an 80’s John Hughes flick and a road trip so surreal it would give Hunter S. Thompson a run for his money. This is the magic of White Rabbit. Caleb Roehrig’s second YA book is another foray into mystery, but that’s where the comparisons ends with this sophomore book. Mischievous, sarcastic and a totally wild ride, find out all the reasons you should be pick up White Rabbit.

Continue to rest of review here.

Profile Image for Julie.
1,841 reviews138 followers
May 1, 2018
This book was a wild fucking ride. Nothing stops happening. It's extremely fast paced from start to finish. I honestly didn't expect the murderer to be who it was and throughout this book I was super unsure cause it could've been anyone. I even felt myself getting scared or nervous while reading. I didn't care too much about the romance althoughhh, I kind of wish Sebastian had a better/ more interesting reason as to why he dumped Rufus. Also, I didn't like all the flashbacks in the beginning. I understand why they happened, but I felt like they kind of pulled me out of the story sometimes. They stopped happening towards the middle/end so it's not a huge deal. This book was super fun and fast-paced and I really liked it. 10/10 recommend.
Profile Image for Carlos.
588 reviews289 followers
July 22, 2019
Once I started this book I couldnt stop until the end....fast paced book that will keep you on your toes. Appeals to both teens and adults I think .
Profile Image for TJ.
697 reviews53 followers
April 23, 2018

I've been meaning to read Caleb Roehrig's first novel, Last Seen Leaving, since the moment I heard about it, but I kept putting it off. That was OBVIOUSLY a mistake because White Rabbit was absolutely incredible, and I now need his first book in my hands asap. When I received an ARC of this one, I couldn't help myself and dived right in.

White Rabbit reads like a night in Riverdale, but if it were following Kevin and Moose. I'm a huge fan of slasher films, especially ones where you're trying to figure out who the murderer is, so this story was right up my alley. Throw is the gays™ and some amazing pop culture references, and I'm so in. (Any book that references Cruel Intentions is instantly on my good side.)

I've seen a few reviews on here complaining about Rufus' character and his relationship with Sebastian, but I think they read a completely different novel than I did! Rufus and Sebastian were both amazing characters, and the dynamic between them felt very real. Most authors butcher the 'forced to work together' trope in YA romances, but Roehrig gives his characters so much history that the trope 100% works here. The tension between Rufe and Bash was stellar. And if anyone read that tension as "unhealthy," I'm not sure our interpretations are even in the same ballpark... As for Rufus himself (glad to have another Rufus in LGBT YA, btw), I thought he was an awesome protagonist. He was flawed, but I related to him a lot, and he was funny. I wanted to shake some sense into him at times, but I always understood his reasoning, which made me root for him.

The third act here had my heart pounding, and I didn't know what to expect, exactly. It reminded me of the Scream films, in the best possible way. I didn't feel cheated by the revelation of the killer(s) either, which is something other novels have done to me, like One of Us Is Lying. A book needs to follow through on its promises to its readers, and White Rabbit definitely does that. The prose in this book were so beautiful and funny at once, as well. 5/5 stars and a new favorite. I will be reading everything by Caleb Roehrig from now on. Go buy this fantastic book!
Profile Image for Crystal Strong.
52 reviews35 followers
June 19, 2020
One more reason to not blindly believe the ratings you see. When I read the blurb, I felt it was interesting and when I checked the reviews, the initial ones were quite low, in fact most of the ratings had been quite low.
I am glad I decided to go ahead and try it anyway.
I agree everyone has their own opinions regarding different books, but I felt this book was quite harshly judged. It was not as bad as people made it to be. I, for a fact ended up really liking it.

It's a fast- paced book that can be finished in a day: filled with moments of thrill of what's to come next, also some of the cute and funny dialogue delivery and mainly the expressive narrative was great.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 435 reviews

Join the discussion

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.