Book review: The Sixes

So I was at the library a few weeks ago, in a rush to snatch a few books and head out in time to grab my daughter from her bus stop. On the front display table was this book, “The Sixes,” which seemed pretty interesting, but didn’t sound like what I’d normally read. I checked it out anyway, reasoning that almost every “advertised” reads I’d ever picked up from the library had never failed to please. And for the most part, I wasn’t disappointed this time either.

Here’s a quick synopsis from Amazon

Phoebe Hall’s Manhattan life has suddenly begun to unravel. Right after her long-term boyfriend breaks off their relationship, she’s falsely accused of plagiarizing her latest bestselling celebrity biography. Looking for a quiet place to put her life back together, Phoebe jumps at the offer to teach in a sleepy Pennsylvania town at a small private college run by her former boarding school roommate and close friend, Glenda Johns.

But behind the campus’s quiet cafÉs and leafy maple trees lie evil happenings. The body of a female student washes up on the banks of a nearby river, and disturbing revelations begin to surface: accusations from coeds about abuses wrought by a secret society of girls on campus known as The Sixes.. To help Glenda, Phoebe embarks on a search for clues—a quest that soon raises painful memories of her own boarding school days years ago.

As the investigation heats up, Phoebe unexpectedly finds herself falling for the school’s handsome psychology professor, Duncan Shaw. But when nasty pranks turn into deadly threats, Phoebe realizes she’s in the middle of a real-life nightmare, not knowing whom she can trust and if she will even survive.

Plunging deeper into danger with every step, Phoebe knows she’s close to unmasking a killer. But with truth comes a terrifying revelation: your darkest secrets can still be uncovered . . . and starting over may be a crime punishable by death.

The Great Word Nerd review

The great thing about this book is that it doesn’t have a single dull moment. From the opening paragraph till nearly the end, there’s this steady stream of tension, which keeps you turning the pages. White does a great job of throwing red herrings and other clever devices into the mix to keep you guessing about the culprit/murderer in the book.

(Spoiler alert) However, the most disappointing part was that the main focus of the story, the Sixes, really has almost nothing much to do with the resolution. This may be done intentionally by White to keep readers guessing, but when you spend the first half of the book, if not more, convinced that there’s something deeper about this campus cult that is soon to be revealed, it’s deflating and disappointing to read till the end to find out that that’s not quite the case. It would have been really neat to actually have the events tie directly to the group in a unique way. Would have definitely made for a more interesting read!

There were also many parts of the story toward the end that seemed to be strung together haphazardly and almost nonsensically, seemingly for the sake of finishing off the story in a way you’d least expect–and I don’t mean that as a compliment. I’d hate to ruin the ending for you if you’re planning on giving this novel a shot, so all I’ll say is I was disappointed to learn the great build up the author had worked so hard to establish over the course of over three hundred pages, resulted in no fireworks, just a few puffs of smoke, really.

A good read, overall, but don’t hold enormous expectations with this one.

Verdict: 3 out of 5

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