Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girlsby Lynn Weingarten
They say Delia burned herself to death in her stepfather’s shed. They say it was suicide.
But June doesn’t believe it.
June and Delia used to be closer than anything. Best friends in/i>/i>
Gone Girl meets 13 Reasons Why in this stylish, sexy, and atmospheric story about friendship packed with twists and turns that will leave you breathless.
They say Delia burned herself to death in her stepfather’s shed. They say it was suicide.
But June doesn’t believe it.
June and Delia used to be closer than anything. Best friends in that way that comes before everyone else—before guys, before family. It was like being in love, but more. They had a billion secrets, tying them together like thin silk cords.
But one night a year ago, everything changed. June, Delia, and June’s boyfriend Ryan were just having a little fun. Their good time got out of hand. And in the cold blue light of morning, June knew only this—things would never be the same again.
And now, a year later, Delia is dead. June is certain she was murdered. And she owes it to her to find out the truth…which is far more complicated than she ever could have imagined.
Sexy, dark, and atmospheric, Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls will keep you guessing until the very last page.
Gr 10 Up—June's best friend, Delia, is dead. Everyone keeps telling her it was suicide, but June isn't convinced. What's worse, Delia's drunken downward spiral got so bad in the last year that she and June barely spoke. The person June knew best in the world was almost like a stranger to her. Jeremiah, Delia's boyfriend whom June barely knows, soon draws her into an impromptu investigation. Meanwhile, the teen leans on her own boyfriend, Ryan, for support—but their relationship becomes strained when she begins to suspect that he's lying to her. Then there's Ashling, Delia's most recent bestie, who provides June with a suicide note from Delia. Is this yet another lie? As June begins uncovering the conspiracy surrounding Delia's demise, she realizes too late that she's put herself in danger. This pulse-pounding mystery is intercut with intense memories of the two girls growing up. Through these flashbacks, readers meet the free spirited, irreparably damaged Delia. Weingarten keeps the tension taut; every time June resolves to answer a question, it raises two more. The novel is quietly suspenseful; readers will be draw to the well-written and well-rounded characters—even the supporting players. Thoughtful and provocative, this will be a hard book for teen readers to put down until the thrilling, twisted end. VERDICT Ideal for teens craving a good mystery/thriller.—Ryan P. Donovan, Southborough Public Library, MA
Quiet but tough June investigates the apparent suicide by fire of her wild former best friend, Delia. When Delia's death is announced over the school PA system, neither June nor her boyfriend, Ryan, has spoken about Delia in a year. Although the announcement is the first readers have heard of Delia, flashback chapters—inexplicably written in third person rather than in first person like the rest of the text—gradually show her as impulsive, troubled, and intensely attached to June. At an informal, alcohol-filled memorial, Delia's ex-boyfriend Jeremiah approaches June with the idea that Delia may have been murdered. June's subsequent investigation leads to tangles with drug dealers, jealous ex-lovers, and Delia's abusive stepfather. Plot twists keep readers guessing, though some clunky sentence-level writing causes hiccups ("Her voice sounded dreamy and wistful, the way it did when she was fucked up, which she currently was"). June's character is inconsistently drawn, one minute goggling with grating naïveté at the idea that someone in Delia's life might be a drug dealer and the next talking her way into the dealer's party with relative ease. A revelation at the end cheapens the story, reducing Delia to a caricature and removing ambiguity from an otherwise compelling moral dilemma. Provides some tense moments but ultimately disappoints. (Suspense. 14-18)
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- 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
- Age Range:
- 14 - 17 Years
Read an Excerpt
Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls
I’d forgotten what it was like to be that alone.
For the ten days of winter break, I drove. I made my way past the crumbling houses in my neighborhood, the mansions a few miles away, out toward the hills and then back again through stretches of cold, flat land. Up and down the Schuylkill River and up and down the Delaware, I cranked the radio and sang loud. I needed to hear a live human voice, and I was my own best hope.
But now break is over. I’m walking up toward school from the far lot, and I’m happy because I’m here, because it’s done. I know you’re supposed to like vacation, but it was lonely, that’s the thing, like I was floating off into space, tethered to nothing.
My phone buzzes in my pocket. I fish it out, a text from Ryan who I haven’t seen yet because he only got home last night: by the way got somehting in vermont I want to give you. Then a second later another one: not herpes.
I write back: good because it would be really awkward if we got each other the same present.
I click send with one frozen finger. Warm puffs of air escape through my smile.
I walk into homeroom, and Krista looks up like she’s been waiting for me.
“Oh my God, June,” she says. Her eyes are half open, and she’s wearing a pair of red plastic glasses instead of her usual contacts. “Is it possible, medically, that I’m still hungover from Tuesday? That was two entire days ago!” She takes her big orange purse off the chair next to her so I can sit.
“Given everything, yeah, that seems likely,” I say. She grins as though I mean this as a compliment.
The only thing I did over break, other than drive, was go to a party at Krista’s boyfriend’s house, which is a little weird since we’re not close friends or anything. But we talk in homeroom sometimes, and neither of us has a lot of other options, is I guess the truth of it. When I got the text about her boyfriend’s party, I’d been alone for so many days that I just said yes.
Her boyfriend, Rader, lives thirty-five minutes away, right at the edge of Philly, in a run-down apartment that he shares with friends. He’s older, and his friends are too, some of them in their twenties. The party was mostly guys and the air was hazy with a few kinds of smoke. When I walked in, Krista was already trashed and going upstairs to Rader’s bedroom. And I felt all these guys turn and give me the up-down. And I suddenly understood why I’d been invited—not for her, but for them. I spent the whole night leaning against the wall, not really talking to anyone, watching the party like a movie.
“Rader asked me to get your number for Buzzy,” she says. She rubs her eyes.
I have no idea who Buzzy is. Maybe he’s the tall guy who kept coming out of the bathroom sniffling and wiping his nose, or the guy with A S S S tattooed on his knuckles, or the one in the velvet shirt who kept asking if I wanted to touch it (I didn’t) and who tried to put a shot of tequila in the fish tank (I stopped him).
“I have a boyfriend,” I say.
“Wait, you do? Who?”
Krista raises her eyebrows like maybe I’m joking.
“Seriously,” I say.
She tips her head. “No shit.”
I shrug. I’m not surprised that she’s surprised. We’ve been a couple for over a year, but mostly no one knows about us. I guess we don’t exactly seem like people who would be together.
“I wouldn’t have thought you’d be dating someone so . . . normal.” Krista means this as an insult, to him.
“Well, you don’t know him,” I say. But the truth is, he is normal. And it is comforting, somehow.
Ryan is one of those people who slides effortlessly into whatever social group he wants without even thinking about it. He is comfortable everywhere, and tall and handsome in the sort of way where even if he isn’t your type, you can probably appreciate the bones in his face and the fact that they’re all exactly where they’re supposed to be to make a face pleasing.
He’s a little bit of everything, I guess is what it is. And I’m not sure what I am. I don’t think most people give me much thought at all, which is fine by me.
“I hope he’s at least secretly into something freaky,” Krista says. And then she winks and lets out a pained little moan. “My eyes are not ready for winking yet.”
A second later the announcements begin. “Good morning, North Orchard students and faculty. Can I please have everyone’s attention?” Vice Principal Graham. There’s something strange in his tone. I sit up and listen. “It is with deep sorrow and a heavy heart that I must deliver some very sad news. A member of the North Orchard High community passed away over break.” He pauses to clear his throat. And in that moment, I stop breathing. I think everyone does. In that moment it could be any of us. “Junior Delia Cole passed away yesterday. Ms. Dearborn and Mr. Finley and the rest of the counseling staff will be available for anyone who needs to talk, and my door is always open as well. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ms. Cole’s friends and family during this difficult time.”
The loudspeaker clicks off. And then there is silence, and the ding of the bell. The school day has officially begun.
My head detaches from my body. It rises right up into the air and floats toward the door, and so I follow it.
“He didn’t say how,” someone whispers. “What could have happened?” They sound confused, as though her death was so unlikely.
But I can so easily imagine a million ways Delia might have died. Maybe she climbed up onto the old closed-off bridge that stretches over the reservoir and went out onto the rotted part beyond the DO NOT PASS sign. Or she was up on someone’s roof looking up at a big bright moon and teetered onto the delicate edge, even as they begged her not to. Maybe she walked across the road with her eyes closed, playing a game of chicken like she used to, her final moment the howl of a horn, a rush of adrenaline, and sudden blinding light.
Ryan is waiting for me outside homeroom. We lock eyes and he stands there staring, frozen, like he isn’t really sure what to do with his face. And I’m not sure what to do with mine, either, because it doesn’t even feel like my face anymore. I start walking toward him and he pulls me against him into a hug. His arms are strong and warm like always, but right now I can barely feel them.
I say, “This is . . .” And I stop because my brain has run out of words, and there’s nothing in my head but air.
“. . . completely nuts,” he says. He is shaking his head. And it occurs to me that this is the first time either of us has mentioned Delia, referred to her at all even, in over a year. I thought we would at some point—that it would be so strange when we finally did.
We make our way across campus, and he drops me off at the door of the English building, where my next class is. He leans in and hugs me again. The nylon of his jacket is smooth and cold against my cheek.
When he lets go, he looks down at the ground. “I can’t believe this happened.”
But the thing is, now that it has, it seems like it was always going to. Like somehow all along, Delia was far ahead of us, dead, and we are only just now catching up.
“I don’t know if it’s weird to say this now,” he says, “but I really missed you.”
And I know in a different version of the world than the one we are in, this would send a jolt of pleasure up my spine. So I say, “Me too,” but being apart from him and winter break and everything that happened before this moment seems very far away. I can’t really remember what missing feels like, or any other feelings either.
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This is one if the best books ive read! It was super hard to put down i read it nonestop tiday until i got ti the end!!!!!but with that being said i didnt quite get the ending:/ anyway if you can explain the ending that would be great! Overrall i would DEFINANTLY recommend this book.
June isn’t convinced that Delia committed suicide. Even though the two of them are no longer best friends, June knows Delia as well as she knows herself, and something doesn’t add up. The signs all suggest that Delia was murdered, but by who? And why? June delves into dangerous territory with her investigation, and what she discovers only produces more questions. This is the hardest type of book to review! It was so twisty and brilliant and had me guessing, and guessing again, the whole way through (and long after finishing!). It really stuck in my mind, and I know it’s a story that’ll stay with me, always on the tip of my tongue to recommend. Told in chapters both past and present, readers get an all-round view into what led June and Delia to be friends, what led them to fall apart, and what it has taken to drive them back together. Guilt, grief, secrets, and lies—the pages sizzle with uncertainty and possibility. I didn’t read much about this before starting as I knew it was a mystery/thriller and think the best way to go in is knowing as little as possible. Dark and light, painful and beautiful, SNFBG is a clever, powerful read that leaves a lasting impression.
June and Delia used to be friends. Best friends. Even when it felt like their home lives were falling apart, June knew she could count on Delia. She knew their secrets tied them together. That was a while ago. Over a year. Before June started dating Ryan. Before Delia met Ryan and things got . . . weird. June hasn't spoken to Delia since. Now Delia is dead. Burned to death in her step-father's shed, they say. Suicide, they say. June doesn't believe it. Certain that Delia was murdered, June sets out to uncover the truth. Instead of easy answers, she finds a complicated tangle of secrets and lies that will change everything she thought she knew about her best friend in Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls (2015) by Lynn Weingarten. Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls is Weingarten's fourth novel. It is a stand-alone title. Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls is a complicated novel. Weingarten employs varied narrative techniques and format choices throughout to create prose with as many twists as the plot. Like June herself, readers never know exactly what to expect in this book. The plot is uneasy and often difficult as June unearths raw moments from her past with Delia. This story is partly the postmortem of a friendship with flashbacks and June's memories detailing how the girls' friendship began and, later, how it unraveled. The rest of the novel focuses more closely on June's investigation of Delia's death and her increasing questions about what really happened. June is never certain who to trust, lending a sense of uncertainty and unease to a novel where allegiances--and even facts--are constantly shifting. Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls is a solid thriller with moments of genuine suspense, numerous shocks, and a powerful ending that demands to be discussed at length. A must-read for fans of thrillers in general and readers who like a novel that keeps them guessing. Possible Pairings: Shift by Jennifer Bradbury, The Devil You Know by Trish Doller, Charlie, Presumed Dead by Anne Heltzel, Consent by Nancy Ohlin, I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest, Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield, Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan, Liars, Inc. by Paula Stokes, Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma *A copy this book was acquired from the publisher for review consideration at BEA 2015*