Little Pretty Things by Lori Rader-Day
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
So the mystery here isn't really Why Did Maddy Hang Herself (or Was Maddy Murdered) but what hold our teen selves have over our lives years later, and how to resolve that - is that a bad thing? Not really. Many of us have seen ourselves as the also ran, the best friend of..., only to be left behind. In this case, Juliet has really become Less Than, cleaning rooms at a run-down local no-name motel, with an interesting sideline in kleptomania. When her BFF, Maddy, shows up looking glamorous and successful, of course there's jealousy; even better, it's the week before their high school reunion, just adding to the angst. Maddy's death brings all of Juliet's anxieties to the fore, as well as bringing people like Courtney (former "blur", current police deputy) back into her life. Solving the why of Maddy's death also solves some of Juliet's current day issues.
Juliet as accidental detective works moderately well, Juliet as "not quite good enough" works better. It's there that readers will find themselves remembering what their high school lives were like and maybe find some understanding of those they went to school with.
ARC provided by publisher.