Guest Reviewer: Flynn Meaney

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Flynn Meaney is the author of The Boy Recession and Bloodthirsty. Flynn took the time to do a wonderful guest review that I think you all will enjoy. You can find out more information about Flynn Meaney on her website.

Dangerous Boy by Mandy Hubbard

Reviewed by Flynn Meaney

 

Dangerous Boy opens with a bang: the prologue is a suspenseful chase scene that ends with an almost-literal cliffhanger (a confrontation on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Green River).

The novel then flashes back to a month earlier, when our protagonist Harper and the new boy in town, Logan, are dating but not yet “official.” Although not everyone in the small Washington state town of Enumclaw is happy about their relationship—including farmboy Bick, who is now the fifth wheel in a tight-knit group that includes Harper’s cousin and best friend, and the school’s resident mean girl, Madison—Logan and Harper seem to be a perfect fit. They understand each other’s sad family backgrounds (Harper’s adventure-loving mother died in a rock-climbing accident; Logan lost his family in a car wreck), and Logan encourages Harper to confront and conquer her top-10 list of fears by taking her on adventurous outings.

But, although Harper is overcoming her fears, she can’t ignore the creepy happenings in town, such as cow bones appearing in mailboxes, stop signs disappearing from town intersections, and handprints in blood on cars in the high school parking lot. When she starts receiving frightening anonymous notes, Harper realizes that these eerie warning signs were meant for her and, as she investigates these dark omens, learns they may have to do with secrets Logan is hiding about his dark past.

Hubbard created a tightly-woven plot and, the elements of the story felt very cohesive, with all of them revolving around fear, danger, and the unknown. Harper and Logan’s family tragedies and isolated existences, the adrenaline-pumping activities they do with their friends, the Halloween-themed haunted maze and masquerade dance, and even the setting, a rural town not far from the area where the victims of the Green River Killer were found, added to the foreboding atmosphere of the story. The rural setting and details of farm life also made the story more unique among YA stories (at least for a city girl like me!)

Although Dangerous Boy is suspenseful, I would have felt more invested in the outcome and spooked by the plot twists if the characters had a bit more dimension. The minor characters are fairly one-dimensional and expected: the girlie-girl best friend who loves makeovers, the bitchy nemesis at school, etc. The narrator, Harper, doesn’t have a standout personality. Other characters rave about her beauty and near-genius intelligence and multiple guys in the story fall for her, but the reader is left with a rather bland impression.

But, overall, I definitely enjoyed Dangerous Boy and got sucked into the story. The twists that ended many chapters and the gradual reveal of the book’s main secret kept me reading. I’d say this book is fast-paced and tightly-plotted suspenseful read that’s perfect for Halloween season!