Little Pretty Things

Lori Rader-Day
Apr 7, 2016

Imagine always being in second place - one step behind the same person over and over again. Juliet Townsend was that second place person to friend Madeleine Bell all throughout high school. They ran track together and Maddy was always the star while Juliet stood to the side. Ten years later, she is still second place to Maddy, although she doesn't realize it until Maddy comes waltzing into the Mid-Night Inn looking as beautiful and pristine as ever. Embarrassed, Juliet agrees to meet with her to talk through some issues from their past. Juliet, however, can't seem to figure out why Maddy has returned. Is it the upcoming reunion or really for business as she says? And why is she staying at the dank Mid-Night Inn where Juliet cleans rooms when it's obvious she could stay in a much nicer hotel downtown? Juliet doesn't get to find out because she ends their conversation over drinks abruptly when Maddy suggests that Juliet was always jealous of her. High school flaws die hard and Juliet doesn't want to talk about them. That is until she gets to work the next morning and sees Maddy's shiny car still in the parking lot and Maddy hanging by the belt of her coat from the rafters of the second floor balcony.

If Juliet thought her life was miserable before reuniting with Maddy Bell, it only gets worse after Maddy's death. A suspect from day one and unsatisfied with the progress of the local authorities, Juliet begins hunting for clues as to why Maddy was in town, why she would ever want to return to Midway, Indiana after leaving and never looking back. But in doing so Juliet learns secrets about her best friend and their high school that she could never have imagined. Her life is quickly turned upside down, and something, a big puzzle piece, is missing and everyone thinks she has the clue. But does she?

Little Pretty Things starts off slowly but eventually turns into an OK murder mystery. It was hard to look past the concept of someone not getting over their life in high school, as the whole story and main character are focused on that aspect, and I found that huge detail annoying. To me it came off as making Juliet (and everyone else in the novel) seem incredibly immature but then they were the people who never left the town where the high school seemed to be the star. Overall, it's a decent mystery but not one I highly recommend. It's a pretty safe read without a whole lot of violence and grisly details, although the secrets that rise out of the high school and local town are disturbing.

Reviewed by Library Staff