The action ramps up further in this installment, and in almost exact parallel to the second novel of the first trilogy, we find out who the real mastermind behind everything is. I have to say, there were so many red herrings, I was actually surprised by who it ended up being. The overarching mysteries aren’t resolved yet, so the third book will have to tie up the loose ends on both Gregory and what really happened to Corinne. I saw a rumor on Goodreads that there are supposed to be 7 more books, but I can’t find proof of that anywhere, so I’m guessing it isn’t a thing.
In the previous book, it was established that Gregory had occupied Beth’s mind, and he was trying to get at Ivy through Beth. The particulars of Beth’s “possession” have been the first supernatural aspect that I didn’t buy into at all. It was too much. She doesn’t talk to anyone, looks vacant and her pupils are so dilated her eyes are black, has personal seances in her room, and does other weird things. Not to mention she disappears randomly. And apparently Ivy is the only one who notices, and even she brushes it off until about halfway through the book. Kelsey and Dhanya are barely in this book too, after being somewhat prominent in the 4th, and I had kind of liked the dynamic with all four girls. This book tends to pit Will and Beth against Ivy, as they are suspicious about her relationship with Guy/Luke, and Beth begins to drop hints that Gregory is actually possessing Ivy to Will, despite how Beth is the one acting strangely.
Tristan has come back, but is now in the body of Luke, who died the night that Ivy had the car accident. The circumstances around Luke’s death are unknown, except that when he died he was on the run as the suspected murderer of his long-time girlfriend, Corinne. Ivy and Tristan are trying to clear Luke’s name, so that they can live happily ever after. This takes them around a few places near the inn, talking to various people who had known Corinne and Luke. One of the frat boys that Kelsey and Dhanya have befriended, Bryan, was close friends with Luke when he was alive, and so he begins to help them try to find out what happened to Corinne.
Of course, at the very last minute, they discover that everything has been caused by Bryan from the beginning. He is the one that killed Corinne, and then he got Luke, and then he got Alicia, who Ivy had been able to get an alibi for Luke from. The book ends eerily similarly to book 2, where there is a train bridge and jumping and OH NO WHAT HAPPENED END OF BOOK! Of course, things are slightly more complicated, as Lacey ominously implies that Tristan’s time on earth is about to end. Also, Beth tried to suffocate Ivy in her sleep earlier, then almost hung herself off a church bell tower minutes before the end climax.
I haven’t been able to track down an inexpensive copy of the final book yet, so I may just have to wait on pins and needles for awhile while I look for it. I’m assuming that Bryan is also the one that crashed into Beth and Ivy at the beginning of the 4th book, although Chandler hasn’t explicitly said so. I’m also unsure where this Gregory story is going either, as when Ivy and Will prevented Beth’s attempted suicide, his spirit apparently burst out in a shock of lightning and maybe hit something else.
Again, the book does not work as a stand alone. This entire series has been a weird start and stop journey, somewhat awkward and strangely broken up. I was very interested in the story, but on its own, it just doesn’t work. There is enough explanation in the opening chapters to have mostly skipped book 4, and I almost wonder if that will happen in the final book, where you can just skip the 4th and 5th books and still get most of the story. I really wish I could interview the author and find out exactly why the books were divided in this way. Was it a deadline? More money for writing three rather than one large book? Mistrust in the attention spans of YA readers? So bizarre.
This book fulfilled no requirements for the challenge.