A murder mystery set in New York City, with the body turning up in Central Park--nice creepy premise. But what I took away from this book (The Girl in the Park by Mariah Fredericks) wasn't so much the creep factor, but a sense of sadness. A lot of the book focuses on the tragedy of a life snuffed out. Young life, I should say, because our murder victim is the young, brash Wendy Geller, a prep school girl desperate for friends and attention, with a penchant for stealing the boyfriends of other chicks. She's not always the nicest or most moral person, but she never gets the chance to grow into something more mature. When her body turns up in the park, people are shocked but the list of suspects is large too--Wendy ticked off a lot of people. As the media seizes on the story, Wendy's true personality gets more and more lost--a fact that does not escape Rain, our narrator, who was once Wendy's dear friend. Though they have grown apart over the years, Rain is determined to find out the truth about what happened to Wendy. To find out who Wendy really was.
Rain's a decent narrator--she's the quiet kid who drinks in more than she gives away, a listener. She's perfect for solving a mystery, but as a result, her voice tends to sound overly adult at times. Still, she gets across the slow revelation of Wendy as a person rather than a media-made, or self-made, caricature. I'd be curious to know how many readers guess the murderer before book's end and whether knowing it made any difference to whether or not they liked the story. It almost felt like this one wasn't so much about whodunnit as about who the characters were and what motivated them.