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Beware That Girl
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Penguin Random House Canada (penguinrandomhousecanada) | 94 comments Mod
Just in time for the weekend. Discuss your thoughts on Teresa Toten's brand new thriller, Beware That Girl. What were your favourite characters and moments? We'd love to hear it all. This discussion is open until June 29 and participants will be gifted with one of our most anticipated YA titles of the year. Enjoy the discussion!


Sarah (bucketofrhymes) | 22 comments I'm only partway through but loving it so far. I'm a sucker for girls in young adult books who are driven and manipulative, the ones who know exactly what they want and will stop at nothing to get it. So, Kate is right up my alley.

And I love Bruce. A lot. Please tell me nothing horrible happens to him.


Louise This book is described as "powerful psychological thriller". Powerful? Not at all. Psychological? Somewhat. Thriller? Barely.

The whole plan at the end was ridiculous, as was the manner in which they got a car.

It was an easy enough book to listen to, and I didn't hate the characters like I hated those in Gone Girl, but this was far from a satisfying read for me. Sorry :-(.


Wanda | 47 comments I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Beware That Girl compliments of Penguin Random House Canada today in the mail via the Goodreads Giveaways. I will be delving into this tonight and hope to add into the conversation. Love the YA books! And hope my tween will enjoy it after I am finished.


Not Sarah Connor  Writes (notsarahconnor) | 8 comments I'm only a 100 pages in but I'm surprisingly liking it so far. So many books are hyped as the next Gone Girl (which I loved) or The Girl on the Train (which I did not love) but this is one of the few that I can so far see the hype for.

Kate is one of the few protagonists that reminds me of Amy Dunne. And it's so strange to read a character like her in a YA novel.

And yes, I love Bruce! Though it's a really strange name for a corgi puppy! :P


Susan (suekitty13) | 46 comments I just finished and I'm not quite sure how I feel about it. The start was very slow and not much happened until 3/4 of the way through. Then it turned really dark and disturbing. I have to agree with Louise that the ending was absurd and comedic. It didn't fit with the rest of the story at all. Without giving anything away (I hope) I was reminded of an old movie (Weekend at Bernie's). I'm not sure if the author was serious or not!
I liked Kate more than Olivia right from the beginning although I didn't trust either of them. Bruce was definitely the most likable character. I also liked Mrs. Chen and Anka. I wish we had learned a bit more about Johnny. I felt like he had a story but we weren't told it. He could have been developed a little more because I think he was quite interesting!


Louise I wondered what was the point of Johnny to the story? He seemed irrelevant.


Sarah (bucketofrhymes) | 22 comments I also wondered about that. When he was first introduced, I thought for sure he would be a significant love interest for Kate (although I'm quite pleased to have been wrong about that).


Louise You would also think that educated people with a lot of money would know not to get a dog from a pet store, contributing to the puppy mill problem but I digress....


Samantha Trillium (Just Reading in the Rain)☂ (trillium25) | 18 comments I'm about half way through and it has been a pretty quick read although I am struggling to understand why this has been labeled a psychological thriller - it all seems a bit tame - I'm wondering if maybe it was toned down a bit because it's a YA?


Samantha Trillium (Just Reading in the Rain)☂ (trillium25) | 18 comments And yes, it also bothered me so much that Kate and Olivia decided to buy their puppy at a pet store!!! And their reasoning was they couldn't handle training a rescue?? like it would be easier to just get a puppy? where is the logic in that!?


Louise And if you want a puppy go to a reputable breeder, not a pet store! And yes puppies are a lot more work than a rescue in most cases. I have a feeling that the author is not a dog savvy person.

I too feared that Bruce was simply inserted to come to an unsavoury demise. Glad that wasn't the case.


Louise Kate tells us at the beginning that she lies all the time, because she has to, but she hardly ever lies at all does she? So what was the point of that? Just to try to throw us off?


message 14: by Sara (new) - rated it 4 stars

Sara | 4 comments I know quite a few people won't/don't like the book and how shallow the characters are, but I found it trashy and delightful. I thought that it does what it says on the package; it's not trying to re-define a genre, or be a trendsetter. It is definitely a book where you can see the influence of other books like Gone Girl and Dangerous Girls, and TV shows like Pretty Little Liars and Gossip Girl. It is a decent YA thriller, and there was no other fair expectation to place on it IMO.


Not Sarah Connor  Writes (notsarahconnor) | 8 comments Just finished this and I'm not sure how to rate it either. For a YA novel, it's completely unlike most of it's genre and definitely sets itself apart for being unique.

I'm kind of meh on Johnny. His character really didn't do much for the plot, though he was an interesting character. I just didn't like how he first forced Kate to go on a coffee date with him (after she said no) and kind of blackmailed (can't think of a better word so I'm just using what Kate said) to get him to kiss her.

I agree with the ending, it was completely out of place and strangely comedic (or it tries to be). Also, I didn't really understand the last chapter/twist, what is everyone else's opinions on it?


message 16: by Not Sarah Connor (last edited Jun 18, 2016 10:00PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Not Sarah Connor  Writes (notsarahconnor) | 8 comments Also things I forgot to add in my previous comment:

- not sure how I felt about Mark as a villain. Overall he seriously freaked me out, but sometimes he seemed way over-the-top. Also how did none of the staff see how creepy he was?
- A lot of the Mark and Olivia scenes made me cringe.
- How did the police find out about Mark?

I'll probably think of more later. I'm in the middle of writing my review and these thoughts are just popping up.


Veronica (123veronica) | 6 comments I enjoyed the book but it wasn't what I had expected. The initial chapters where Kate and Olivia were targeting each other had me thinking that the plot would be psychological warfare between the two girls. I guess I was a little disappointed when about halfway into the novel it became clear that Kate and Olivia were going to unite against a common enemy (Mark) instead. So the "twist" at the end wasn't really any surprise.

So that's my initial impression now that I've just finished reading, but I'm sure I'll have more to say after the story settles in my head a little.


Samantha Trillium (Just Reading in the Rain)☂ (trillium25) | 18 comments I just think the characters were too 1-dimensional for my taste. Kate starts off saying she is a liar for survival reasons and the worst she did was really snoop around in Olivia's room and around her school file. It would have been one thing if she had had this moment of clarity, like hey! I am not the monster I though I was I can love and care for people! But there never was anything like that so by the end you're just like, okay she's this way now for the sake of the story.


Samantha Trillium (Just Reading in the Rain)☂ (trillium25) | 18 comments Olivia had those freak out moments with Kate when she was super possessive of Mark and I'm sure the purpose of those times where to get us not to trust Olivia or set the tone as a little more darker, but those scenes just read as a young girl being ridiculous, I just rolled my eyes each time. And then all of a sudden she realises how horrible he was? I didn't really pick up on a moment she came to this realisation it just happened to make the book move forward. Not very effective ...


Louise Samantha wrote: "I just think the characters were too 1-dimensional for my taste. Kate starts off saying she is a liar for survival reasons and the worst she did was really snoop around in Olivia's room and around ..."

Exactly Samantha! Having Kate tell us she is a liar right off the bat was just a ploy by the author, and not a very good one at that. She seemed to make the characters do things for the sake of the story without putting any real thought into character development.


Patricia (pattycats) | 29 comments About the issue of training a rescue being too hard, my little dog is a rescue and the group had her in a foster home for over a month. She came to me perfectly trained and is a love. If problems do arise they are always available. Using this as an excuse for buying from a pet shop is totally unrealistic.


Louise I don't think the author did any research for this book. She just wrote down whatever popped into her head. Sad thing is, this is geared towards young adults who might think this is the best way to get a dog. She blew an opportunity to educate....


Wanda | 47 comments I finished this morning and am still trying to formulate my thoughts about it. I am ever a fan of psychological thrillers and this rather missed the mark. Yes it had some intense moments and was a page turner but I felt it could have been so much more. Getting into the minds of the characters is key for me and I just didn't feel their depth.


Wanda | 47 comments Favourite characters were the ones we learn the least about, Mrs. Chen and Anka. They both played a subtle role, like flies on the wall, watching and waiting for a crisis. Johnny was a bit of a mystery, I also wish the author would have placed him in a more prominent role within all the drama. I believe Bruce the dog was well placed, pet therapy is real and effective. In this case, he was a common denominator of comfort for both Kate and Olivia.


Veronica (123veronica) | 6 comments Wanda - I loved Mrs. Chen! Wish we knew why that Kevin guy owed her such a big favor!


Louise Veronica wrote: "Wanda - I loved Mrs. Chen! Wish we knew why that Kevin guy owed her such a big favor!"

See, I didn't buy that whole premise. It was just so unlikely that it would all fall into place like that. That Mrs. Chen had a big favor owed to her by this guy (and we're never told why), that she would give his number to Kate, and that he'd actually go along with getting a car for a 17 year old girl in the middle of the night? My eyes were rolling right out of my head, lol.


message 27: by Christine (new)

Christine H (mrsmonnandez) | 8 comments Louise wrote: "Kate tells us at the beginning that she lies all the time, because she has to, but she hardly ever lies at all does she? So what was the point of that? Just to try to throw us off?"

That admission sort of coloured my reading of the rest of the book because I wasn't sure if Kate was essentially warning me not to believe any of the parts she narrates. Is everything she says a lie, including the actual plot development in the book? I wonder if it would've worked better if Toten had shown us that Kate lies rather than having the character say so up front.


message 28: by Christine (new)

Christine H (mrsmonnandez) | 8 comments Veronica wrote: "I enjoyed the book but it wasn't what I had expected. The initial chapters where Kate and Olivia were targeting each other had me thinking that the plot would be psychological warfare between the t..."

I felt the same way! I think I would have liked the story a little better if the conflict were between Kate and Olivia. It's too common / obvious / uninteresting to have Mark be the villain. In most of the YA stories I've read, I much preferred the conflict being between two girls (or two boys or two characters in similar circumstances) ... those conflicts seem more interesting to me. Once it became clear that Mark was the bad guy, it was like I kind of knew where the story was heading already ...


Not Sarah Connor  Writes (notsarahconnor) | 8 comments The ending of the book definitely turned out much differently than I thought it would. When Kate found out that Olivia was taking medicine for schizophrenia I was expecting the clichéd Kate is Olivia/Olivia is Kate/Olivia made Kate up etc. trope. I did like that the book didn't follow that cliché, but it seemed like that's what it was setting the reader up for so the ending was kind of blah after that.

But yeah, Mrs. Chen was definitely one of my fav characters, as was Anka. I already said my points on Johnny, but I agree with Wanda that it would have been nice to know exactly who Kevin was and that whole backstory with Mrs. Chen.


Not Sarah Connor  Writes (notsarahconnor) | 8 comments And by Wanda I mean Veronica. Sorry, I'm using the app and couldn't reaf the past discussions to see who I agreed with!


Susan (suekitty13) | 46 comments I totally wanted to know what was up with Mrs. Chen and Kevin too! Kate speculates that maybe there is a tie to organized crime but that's never confirmed. I felt it was almost a bit racist to assume that because Mrs. Chen has powerful friends in Chinatown that she's involved in something nefarious. It would have been a million times smarter for the girls to ask Kevin to help them dispose of the item (no spoilers lol) rather than drive with the item in the passenger seat through the city!


message 32: by Ashley (last edited Jun 20, 2016 05:28AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ashley | 25 comments I finished this book last week. I found it really good actually. It was such an easy read it only took me a couple of days to get through. I would recommend this book to anyone who is in a reading slump.

I agree with Wanda, the triller ending wasn't to much of a surprise. But I still very much enjoyed getting to the end.

Can't wait to see what we read in July.


Penguin Random House Canada (penguinrandomhousecanada) | 94 comments Mod
Interesting conversation everyone! What would you say surprised you most in the book?


Samantha Trillium (Just Reading in the Rain)☂ (trillium25) | 18 comments Susan wrote: "I totally wanted to know what was up with Mrs. Chen and Kevin too! Kate speculates that maybe there is a tie to organized crime but that's never confirmed. I felt it was almost a bit racist to assu..."

Yes I totally agree with you! Of course there would be a guy to call in case you have a tricky situation you need delt with asap! Of course the owner of a GROCERY store in Chinatown would have favours to call in and of course those said favours would be happily passed onto a 17 year old who worked part time for them. C'mon really? Surely the author could have thought of something a little more creative than that


Not Sarah Connor  Writes (notsarahconnor) | 8 comments I was most surprised with the overall feeling of the book. It didn't feel like a typical YA novel and I was surprised by the lack of a love triangle that usually dominates YA novels.

And like I mentioned above, I was really surprised with how the ending stayed away from using schizophrenia in a stereotyped way (Kate is Olivia, Olivia is Kate, Kate/Olivia made the other up, etc.) while the ending was shocking or really a twist, it was kind of a relief to read a different ending.


Sandra | 80 comments I just finished this book. It wasn't a favourite, but I didn't hate it. I found Kate to be more sad and damaged than the lying, manipulative girl she is supposed to be. Olivia was just strange and I kind of knew from the start what was going to happen. I wish the author had spent more time fleshing out some of the other characters, they were like props in a movie, pulled out when needed. Mark was horrible and it surprised me that none of the adults in the school could see it. Did he not have to provide references? Did none of the other schools he'd been at notice a pattern? Sort of unbelievable that he would get away with it for so long. The ending was pretty much what I had expected, except maybe the final scene...


Sarah (bucketofrhymes) | 22 comments The ending definitely surprised me! Like Sarah, I also thought that the schizophrenia aspect would play out more stereotypically at the end, and I was very glad to be wrong about that.

And, on a more contemplative note, I was also surprised by hwo attached I got to Olivia. I usually don't connect as much with characters that are written using third-person. The perspective in her story was something that I noticed right off the bat, and I had a bit of trouble connecting with at first (there was a scene where she's on the phone with her dad, and all we get is her side of the conversation... we can only infer what her dad is saying to her. And while I thought that was really cool, it also stuck out at me because there was just so much distance between Olivia and myself as a reader). But as the book went on, I got really attached to her and really upset for her in spots. It was wonderful and unexpected.


Louise Why do you think the author wrote Kate's voice in the first person, and Olivia's in the third person?


Ashley | 25 comments The most surprising thing about this book, is how the ending unfolded.


message 40: by Wanda (last edited Jun 20, 2016 07:00PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Wanda | 47 comments I think what surprised me that most was that Kate and Olivia remained "friends"to the end. I half expected Olivia to kick Kate out of her life, out of the land of the rich and back to the curb of poverty. I honestly thought that her interference with the relationship between Mark and Olivia was going to be the end for that duo. And the end of Kate's Yale dream. I guess the other bit that surprised me was that they actually got away with murder...not sure that these two had the ability to overpower the monster so easily. The reality is that had he truly been on his A-game, the master manipulator and predator that he was, this would not have been such an easy accomplishment. They would have ended up in his photo album permanently! I think I wanted this to be a bit more challenging and with a more dark and thrilling outcome, it was rather comedic and ridiculous at the end.


Wanda | 47 comments The only part of the whole book that actually shook me was when I expected Mark to push Kate out the high rise window... Didn't really want this to happen but it was intense for all of two pages (or less). The more I think about it, it was cartoonish with bringing out the frying pan! BANG, game over? Forgive my disappointment but the alternate possibilities would have added a whole lot more to this ending.


message 42: by Wanda (last edited Jun 20, 2016 08:11PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Wanda | 47 comments @Louise, I have been pondering this and the only conclusion/question I have is perhaps the author set out for the reader to feel Kate's character on deeper level by being written in the first person? And to watch Olivia's from a distance (in third person), to analyse her psyche in a different way? Might have been different for me if they were both written in first person, a play back n forth of what they were experiencing? It didn't put much thought into it until you mentioned it, now it is bothering me...


Sandra | 80 comments To tell the honest truth, I didn't even notice that Kate's and Olivia's viewpoints were written differently. Interesting observation. Perhaps it was because Kate is the main character and drives the story?


Veronica (123veronica) | 6 comments I think that Olivia was written in third person in order to underline how disconnected she was feeling. It seemed like such an intentional choice on the author's part that I thought that Olivia's mental illness would become crucial to the plot at some point (as more than just a secret she was desperate to hide.)


Sarah (bucketofrhymes) | 22 comments Louise - I've been trying to figure this out. I think it might imply something about the Kate/Olivia, manipulator/manipulated dynamic. We know Kate's thoughts, so we know that she's picked Olivia out as a target. There's a distance from Olivia, though, and she's often seen through Kate's eyes, so there's this sense of her being acted upon throughout the book (which also comes into play very disturbingly with Mark).

It also gives the sense that Kate is the more reliable narrator, since we have more access to her inner world. Olivia could be portraying herself completely differently to the readers, and how would we know? I guess I'm thinking about the ending in this case, which would have been much harder to pull off if we had the same perspective on both Kate and Olivia.


message 46: by Linda (last edited Jun 20, 2016 08:22PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Linda | 23 comments I'm not quite 1/2 way through the book and have to agree that it isn't really a thriller, or very psychological. I've read other books (both adult and YA) not pegged as thrillers that were much more intense. I do like the story so far, though.

So far, the thing that surprises me most is that it isn't thrilling--I'd expect a book labelled as a thriller to at least have one or two thrills, but is has been very straightforward and logical so far. It is a quick read, but not so much a gripping read.


Not Sarah Connor  Writes (notsarahconnor) | 8 comments @Sarah, I totally agree with your opinion on the POV differences. I think that since we're introduced to Kate and she tells us that she's chosen Olivia, Olivia becomes the subject for Kate and the reader to analyze.

It also turns Kate into a red herring character. Like you said Sarah, since Kate's chapters are in first person the reader naturally looks to her as a reliable narrator despite the fact that she started the book by telling the reader she's a liar. It was about halfway through the book that I remembered that Kate said she was a liar and I began to doubt the story because I doubted Kate, though I turned out to be wrong. Keeping Olivia's perspective in third person allows the reader to wonder about what she's thinking and her actions.

And like you said, if they were both written in first person Olivia wouldn't be a mystery (unless the author pulled a Gone Girl, which I would have really liked to see).


message 48: by Chandni (last edited Jun 20, 2016 08:36PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Chandni (chandnin31) | 33 comments I just finished this book, and I'm still not sure how I feel. My favourite character is probably Kate because she seemed so tough and sure of herself. I disliked how when she encountered Mark, she just turned into this wimpy person and kept insisting she wasn't his match. I get she was supposed to be traumatized, but it really felt like two different people. That's why I was super happy when she finally grew a backbone again.

Olivia drove me nuts from the start. There was obviously something completely off about her. I didn't even notice that it was written in third person for Olivia, but I agree with Veronica that it was possibly to show her disconnection with the world.

I felt like Mark was such a caricature of a psychopath. I agree with the other comments when they have a hard time believing nobody at the school saw him for what he was, not even the guidance counselor with the huge psychology textbook. Give me a break.

This book is highly unsettling though. When I read about what Mark did to Olivia, I felt nauseated and uncomfortable. I think it was a pretty good thriller. I think the part that surprised me the most was the ending. It really came out of nowhere and it wasn't what I was expecting at all.


Samantha Trillium (Just Reading in the Rain)☂ (trillium25) | 18 comments Veronica - that was essentially my thought as well about Olivia being so disconnected from herself which is why she was written in third party. I can only imagine what her inner monologues would truly be if we had read her in the first. It actually might have been a better contrast to Kate's chapters if it had been done that way.
I think I was most surprised by where the book went in the end. Right at the beginning we had the hospital scene with the detective and I thought there was going to be more of a criminal cat and mouse chase to the story which had me really excited when I first started reading the book.


Calypsa I jjust finished the book yesterday, thanks to getting a copy by the goodreads giveaway. It's an ARC, so maybe some details changed, won't go into the details. But as I read, I realised that the further you went into the story, the more "personnal comments" or thoughts appeared, And it followed the times when she skipped some medications. Si the third person was, as most of you all said, used to emphasise on her detachment.

I was personnally drawm to love Olivia as much as Kate, couldn't really understand some characters like Mrs. Chen or Johnny. Not that I disliked them, more like they were so sure that Olivia was wrong without really seeing her. And the Kevin story didn't work at all for me.

Other than that, I liked the story, but you need to be very evasive on the details because some things don't make a lot of sense. The head not seeing some of her personnel having a semi-relationship with another member of the personnel and not reacting. I mean, if you're used to seeing the school shrink, who works next to your own office, change overnight from only pants to only dresses, it would create curiosity, Same thing about the students. Serena is instantly forgotten after her move to London and only Kate is really concerned about what really happened. As I said, details, but the devil's in these.

As I said, I still liked it. It's easy, but interesting. The style is simple but effective. Kate has a great personnality that grows on you the longer you read. She seems to be unidimensionnal at the beginning, then things happen and you see more and more of her little perks and characteristics. I have a friend who had severe psychosis and Olivia is believable. Mark is a caricature, but it works to make the girls shine more in their roles. The other characters are only outlined so I didn't gave them too much attention.

Finally, the ending was surprising, but not... Hard to explain, but I had a feeling that Kate would still be in some trouble at the end. I don't know if it was modified in the final version though, so I won't say more.


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