STARRED REVIEW
March 2015

A deadly high school thriller

By Lili Anolik
Review by
When Nica Baker, a gorgeous, popular 16-year-old, is found dead on the campus of her prestigious private high school, her family, friends and community are shocked and devastated. While the case is closed neatly and quickly—an awkward classmate with an unrequited crush and a bad temper—Nica’s older sister Grace has the sick suspicion that the obvious answer is not always the right one. She goes on a quest to find out what really happened to Nica—and ends up discovering far more than she ever wanted to know about her family, her friends and herself.
Share this Article:

When Nica Baker, a gorgeous, popular 16-year-old, is found dead on the campus of her prestigious private high school, her family, friends and community are shocked and devastated. While the case is closed neatly and quickly—an awkward classmate with an unrequited crush and a bad temper—Nica’s older sister Grace has the sick suspicion that the obvious answer is not always the right one. She goes on a quest to find out what really happened to Nica—and ends up discovering far more than she ever wanted to know about her family, her friends and herself.

Lili Anolik’s Dark Rooms is an impressive, haunting debut. Her writing is fast-paced and decisive, her characters rich and nuanced. And while the bones of her story are familiar—a beautiful girl murdered in a seemingly safe community—its plot twists and turns are anything but. Could Jamie, Nica’s rich and charming on-again, off-again boyfriend, be her killer? Or what about Damon, a troubled student with an unusual connection to Nica? Or maybe it’s someone even closer to home—someone who knows both girls better than anyone. As she gets closer to solving her sister’s murder, Grace gets farther and farther away from the life she thought she knew.

Dark Rooms is at once a crime novel and a high school drama, with shades of both Gillian Flynn and Curtis Sittenfeld. It’s a story of life and death, perception and reality, and how to go on when your world shatters before your eyes. With complex characters and a multilayered narrative, it can be hard at times to know whom to root for; thankfully it’s equally difficult to put this stunning debut down.

 

This article was originally published in the March 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

Trending Reviews

Get the Book

Dark Rooms

Dark Rooms

By Lili Anolik
Morrow
ISBN 9780062345868

Sign Up

Stay on top of new releases: Sign up for our enewsletters to receive reading recommendations in your favorite genres every Tuesday.