The city of Grifonia, Italy, is swarming with secrets - thousands of years of dark, murderous secrets. Taz, a British student who has just arrived for her year abroad, thinks that she will spend her time in Italy sipping wine and taking in the rolling Umbrian hills. But she soon falls in with a cabal of posh, reckless girls - the B4 - who turn her quaint fantasies into an erotic and dangerous rush through the darkest realms of friendship and love.
Not since Donna Tartt’s The Secret History have we been treated to such an addictive tale of tumultuous adolescence. We see Taz scared and alone, but hungry for new experience and piqued by the thrill of living abroad. We see her roommate, the plainspoken American Claire, who worries about Taz’s motives and expresses sincere concern for her safety - but everything changes when they fall for the same man. And then there’s what we don’t see - the perils that lurk around the corner. We don’t see the secrets that friends - and lovers - keep from one another. And we don’t see the force that is bigger than Taz, bigger than her friends and loves, a force that seems to be propelling them all toward a dark, awful end. Inspired by real events but tackled with grace and sharpness by a master storyteller, this is Katie Crouch at her finest.
I think the movie Mean Girls, the story/case of Amanda Knox, and certain elements of the movie Broke Down Palace embodies the plot line of this book. In fact, at the end the author notes that the book was inspired by certain events in the Amanda Knox case in Perugia, Italy. The book was well written and had a lot of interesting historical references. The summary expresses significantly more debauchery and indulgence than there actually is. The book held my interest but I was expecting a lot more adventure and extravagance.