Sisters and best friends Alice and Charlie have never let a thing get in between them. They’ve stuck together, with their mother, when their parents got divorced and their dad left the country. But then their mother remarries a rich widower, with not only a dead wife but a dead daughter who committed suicide, everything starts to change.
Before the sisters leave for their private boarding school in September, they must get through the summer living in their stepfather’s mansion, in the posh and snobby neighbourhood of Serenity Point.
It is here the girls stumble upon the secrets surrounding Camilla, their stepsister’s, suicide, that seem to haunt every single one of their new upper-crust friends, who all seem to carry their own burdens and secrets.
Will the sisters be able to survive their summer in Serenity Point without losing their innocence?
I loved this book. Originally, it sounded to be like a Gossip Girl type of story, with scandals and mix-ups between the super rich and bored upper class kids of the neighbourhood. And while The Innocents definitely has this gossipy element, it’s never trashy or used just for the purpose of scandalizing people.
Instead, the story is about the characters, namely Alice and Charlie, who are trying not to get sucked in by their new stepfather’s wealth and grandeur, while also feeling like something about this quick remarriage is off. In the beginning, you seem to have a cast of characters that seems typical of the setting; you’ve got Cybil, the popular, but mean girl, and you’ve got Jude, the hot, bad boy, and then Tommy, the grieving ex-boyfriend of Camilla. And then you’ve got Camilla.
Camilla haunts the story, but not in your typical paranormal way. Instead, she seems to appear everywhere that Alice goes, since everyone thinks she looks a lot like her, so that Alice can’t seem to escape her stepsister, even in death. As Alice starts receiving letters and having dreams, it seems that Camilla’s trying to tell her something from beyond the grave.
What I loved about this story was there was depth to all the characters; while Cybil, Jude, Tommy, and Camilla all appeared to be stock characters, Alice and Charlie soon discover that there’s more to them than meets the eye, especially as they start getting romantically involved with Tommy and Jude, respectively.
Some people have said that there isn’t much plot to the book, and I can see why they’d say that, because this isn’t an action-filled book, but is instead about the characters and their interactions with one another. The creepy Camilla scenes, which hinted at something unsavoury, kept the pace of the story moving, as Alice tried to figure out all the secrets that suddenly surrounded her family.
And while Alice does eventually figure out the big secret at the end of this story, there is enough of a hint of other mysteries that show themselves right before the book ends, which whets your appetite for the next Innocents book. So if you’re looking for a character-driven story, shrouded in a creepy mystery and populated with fleshed out characters, then The Innocents is definitely for you.
So for that: 4/5.
Thanks for reading,
This ARC was provided to me by Penguin Group Canada/Razorbill Canada. The opinions expressed in this review are purely my own.