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The Girl in the Park by Mariah Fredericks

The Girl in the Park

by Mariah Fredericks

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Rain and Wendy hadn't been close friends since ninth grade but Rain is still saddened when Wendy is found murdered in Central Park. Wendy had a reputation as a bad girl but Rain knew a softer side of her friend. Rain typically keeps quiet and doesn't speak up but her friend's senseless death pushes her to speak and be heard. The book had an interesting beginning but then it became to formulaic. The author didn't flesh out the characters well and didn't keep the suspense going throughout the book. I think the book would have been more interesting if all the threads of the mystery didn't come together so neatly ( )
  68papyrus | May 9, 2013 |
I read this in a few hours. It was definitely a page turner.
  shojo_a | Apr 4, 2013 |
I read this in a few hours. It was definitely a page turner.
  shojo_a | Apr 4, 2013 |
This book was intense, and had a more bittersweet ending than my usual preferred happy one, but I really liked it in the end. It explores friendship and belonging, betrayal and murder, all in the setting of an exclusive high school in New York City. Rain and Wendy, both on the fringes of the popular crowd at school, used to be friends--once. Times have changed, though, and they've turned into the kind of acquaintances who might only exchange a few words at a party or in the halls at school. The morning after one of those parties, Wendy is discovered in Central Park, murdered. Rain, for reasons even she isn't clear about for much of the book, feels compelled to uncover the truth of her murder.

Mariah Fredericks really wrote a page turner with this one! I, along with Rain, kept taking her cleverly disguised wrong plot turns--and though I did pick up on an early clue that Rain missed, I didn't quite understand the motivation until later on(and was actually relieved to be proven right on the whodunit part, because it solved the one rather big part of the story that I was extremely uncomfortable with). Due to certain aspects of the story, I'd say this is definitely more of a high school on up story, but well worth the read. I'll be looking for more from this author for sure. ( )
  beckymmoe | Apr 3, 2013 |
Main character Rain tries to stay quiet and avoid notice. She has a cleft palate that still affects her speech patterns, despite a lot of speech therapy. This definitely makes her stand out among the YA books I've read, reminding me most of Wonder by R. J. Palacio, which is amazing by the way. Both main characters are freaks because of deformities they were born with, but both are also really great people. From reading Auggie's viewpoint in Wonder and Rain's in The Girl in the Park, it's so obvious how smart they are and how much they have to offer.

Rain's a really nice person. She's the kind of girl who will help someone out just because they're in pain. Even if that person is the most popular girl in school and has never been kind to her, Rain will listen to her and comfort her when she's down, because that's what she does. This is how she befriends Wendy, a transfer student. Watching Wendy, Rain sees someone who wants so desperately to be popular that she stands no chance of achieving her goal. Rain offers her advice and tries to be friends, even though they are completely different.

One thing that did bother me was something that just was not believable, namely that the school sent out a message saying that students who did not feel up to coming the day after Wendy's death would not be marked absent. No real school would do this. Why? Because EVERY SINGLE STUDENT would suddenly feel the strange need to mourn for Wendy, whether they knew her or not, liked her or not. What schools do, and I have experienced this, is still have the exact same attendance policy, but make the guidance counselors extra available for people to talk to if they're sad. Seriously, if a school is going to make attendance optional that day, they might as well just close altogether, because that's how many kids would show up. Does this matter at all with regards to the plot? No.

Death is really awkward, especially with the advent of all of this web interconnectivity. The Girl in the Park does a pretty good job of highlighting this fact, although I don't imagine that's something all readers are going to take away from it. Wendy wasn't even very well-liked, but, in death, suddenly she's missed and fascinating and everyone's sad, even though many of them probably wished she would leave the school, if not the living world. Kids go to right on her facebook wall about their condolences and how awesome she was, though they may never have thought of it and though Wendy cannot actually read these messages. Whenever someone I know dies, which thankfully is not often, this same sort of furor erupts. There's this desire to be closest to the tragedy, to garner attention because of it, which I'm seriously creeped out by and do not approve of. Was grief always so public?

The Girl in the Park reminds me a lot of Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, although the issues they are dealing with are not exactly the same. They do, however, share themes of popularity and being afraid to speak up. Rain's distance from others, although certainly not as extreme, is also a commonality between the two. I recommend this book to readers who enjoy the depressingly honest YA books by authors like Anderson and Bick. ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Apr 1, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375868437, Hardcover)

In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called this YA mystery a "haunting psycological thriller" and "profound, provocative commentary on what it means to grow up in the age of Facebook."

When Wendy Geller's body is found in Central Park after the night of a rager, newspaper headlines scream,"Death in the Park: Party Girl Found Strangled." But shy Rain, once Wendy's best friend, knows there was more to Wendy than just "party girl." As she struggles to separate the friend she knew from the tangle of gossip and headlines, Rain becomes determined to discover the truth about the murder. Written in a voice at once immediate, riveting, and utterly convincing, Mariah Frederick's mystery brilliantly exposes the cracks in this exclusive New York City world and the teenagers that move within it.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:37:14 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

When a teenaged girl with a bad reputation is murdered in New York City's Central Park after a party, her childhood friend is determined to solve the mystery of who caused her death.

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