French has a knack for turning even the most benign locations, in this case, the campus of a private school, into sinister places. She incorporates all senses to include sounds, tastes, smells, and textures to envelope the reader into her world. The complex dynamics involved in the various relationships are masterfully drawn wit layers of respect, distrust, friendship, devotion, and darker emotions such as obsession. The mystery of The Secret Place is the seemingly magical bond between four girlfriends. French takes this bond to a scary, strange place exposing a side of young people, girls in particular, that few people ever fully appreciate. The way she captures this bond and its tragic result is nothing short of genius. The tension between the players, the game of cat and mouse, the lies, the deceit, the betrayals play out in exquisite drama as two rookie cops seek to solve a year-old murder mystery. Highly recommended for mystery fans.
epithelials – skin cells
deliquescent – tending to melt or dissolve
“Equality is paper-deep, peel it away with a fingernail” (p. 12).
“I never saw why I should hate what I wish I had. Love it harder. Work your way closer. Clasp your hands around it tighter. Till you find a way to make it yours” (p. 31).
“They have no weapons for this. The air is bruised and swollen, throbbing in black and white, ready to split open” (p. 100).
“Once you start growing up and getting sense, the outside world turns real, and your own private world is never everything again” (p. 206).
“The whole world has come apart and gone lunatic, gibbering” (p. 412).