Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Girl in the Park Library Binding – April 24, 2012
|New from||Used from|
|Library Binding, April 24, 2012||
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Born with a cleft palate, Rain was cruelly mocked by her classmates at the exclusive Alcott School, but after years of speech therapy, her speech has greatly improved. Even so, in her junior year, not talking is still a habit. One friend, Wendy, encouraged Rain: “You’re brilliant. So give up the silence.” But the teens grew apart after Wendy became the school’s wild girl. Then Wendy’s strangled body is found in a park, and headlines and school gossip paint her as a slut whose behavior led to her random killing. Rain remembers Wendy’s kindness, though, and as she realizes that facts aren’t adding up, she recognizes that she is going to have to speak up. Fredericks has constructed a taut, suspenseful mystery with convincing characters whose actions and motives propel the plot. Rain is an unusual, compelling protagonist, a watcher who must step reluctantly out of her comfort zone. Observant readers will likely suspect the culprit before Rain, but they will find as much satisfaction in observing Rain’s personal growth as in the solving of the intriguing mystery. Grades 8-12. --Lynn Rutan --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Starred Review, Publishers Weekly, February 20, 2012:
“Rain’s voice provides an authentic portrait of grief and powerlessness, while Fredericks (Crunch Time) offers profound, provocative commentary on what it means to grow up in the age of Facebook.”
Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2012:
"[B]oth Rain and Wendy emerge as fully rounded, flawed characters that teens will recognize and connect with. A satisfying whodunit with enough clues and red herrings to keep mystery fans happy."
Booklist, April 1, 2012:
"Fredericks has constructed a taut, suspenseful mystery with convincing characters whose actions and motives propel the plot. Rain is an unusual, compelling protagonist, a watcher who must step reluctantly out of her comfort zone. Observant readers...will find as much satisfaction in observing Rain’s personal growth as in the solving of the intriguing mystery."
School Library Journal, May 2012:
"The story starts off slowly, gradually building to a surprise ending. Rather than a heavy-handed explanation of Rain’s cleft palate, details are sprinkled throughout the story, building readers’ understanding of her communication difficulties and readers’ compassion for her."
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, May 2012:
"The mystery unravels amidst a sensitive exploration of Rain’s coming to terms with her own quiet, demure personality, with its flaws and its advantages measured against Wendy’s extroversion and desire for recognition and love. The crime itself offers up multiple suspects before a triumphant resolution tinged with melancholy, a conclusion that highlights the fact that while growth is certainly possible, some people, unfortunately, never make it past the slights of high school."
VOYA, February 2012:
"As in her previous novels, Fredericks paints a perceptive picture of teens and their struggles with social pressures. Rain is an interesting protagonist to follow as she tries to overcome her own issues in order to defend her friend who can no longer speak for herself. Fredericks creates believable adult characters as well, which is too often not the case in teen novels. The very real mystery of the story is a riveting background for Rain’s self-struggle, and the plot twists make this a true page-turner. This book will find a ready audience in fans of Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti who are looking for something a bit edgier."
Top customer reviews
The Girl in the Park begins the story of Rain, a senior in high school who has recently learned of the brutal death of her fellow classmate and former best friend Wendy Geller. Wendy was always one of the wildest and daring girls in her grade, someone that all the girls hated and all the boys seemed to like. Everyone in Rain and Wendy's high school chalk up the death to nothing more than "in the wrong place at the wrong time" situation. However, Rain feels like there's more to the story, because while Wendy was impulsive and crazy, she never seemed stupid enough to wander into a deserted part in NYC on her own, especially while intoxicated. So Rain begins the search, hoping to discover the pieces that tie everything together. Is Rain ready, though, to learn more about her classmates as well as Wendy than she ever thought possible? Is she ready to dig into her own pass as well and come to terms with it? Only time and more pages can tell in this thrilling and eventful reading that will have nearly anyone dying to know what happens next!
The Girl in the Park is told from the POV of Rain, a girl who really managed to win me over over the course of the book. Rain is always the girl that's been in the background, especially when she was friends with Wendy. She's the one who always makes things better as well as comforts people, even when no one seems to be doing the same for her. So it's no shock that she would attempt to make sense of Wendy's death. Rain was someone I rooted for throughout, especially when she truly managed to gain her own voice. And while Rain seemed like a mousy girl on the outside, she truly was daring and dauntless on the inside, and those two traits among others really began to come out during this ready. One of the most interesting parts about her character, though, was her friendship with Wendy. Like most friendships, it had its good and bad points, and while Wendy was the character that probably should have been hated, I felt nothing but sorrow towards her, because she was a sweet girl deep down...she just had a lot of covers and layers over it all.
The plot of this was book was truly one of the best parts about it! I enjoyed seeing Rain piece together the mystery clue by clue, especially when something shocking managed to come out of the wood work. I also liked how Mariah really dug into the plot with this one. There never was an easy explanation behind anything, and just when I thought I figured out who the murder was, I was introduced to a new trail as well as new possible murder suspect. The private school setting worked well with this novel as well. It managed to add an extra suspenseful tone behind it as well as hundreds of possible motives and the suspects behind them.
Prior to reading this one, I had read one other book by Mariah, and while I liked that one well enough, this one was so much better! She's really grown as an another with not only character but plot, and I especially loved how well she developed the mystery. She's definitely an author to keep an eye on.
Thrilling as well as daring, The Girl in the Park by Mariah Fredericks is anther fabulous addition to YA lit...one that I highly suggest you pick up!
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.
For a while I was stuck between a 2.5 rating and a 3 rating. Unfortunately, even though Maria Fredericks talks about series topics for the YA crowd, the formulaic plot couldn't raise this book to a 3.
Plot: A young girl goes missing after a house party one night and she is found strangled and sexually assaulted the next day. I chose this book because it's the classic YA murder mystery, especially when it involves a strained relationship. The novel starts right in the action; our MC, Rain, receives a call early one morning from her ex-best friend's mother wondering if she knew Wendy's whereabouts. The novel progresses as Rain finds clues that leads her to believe that the culprit was a fellow classmate and she does whatever she can to bring justice to Wendy Greller. I really liked that Rain was a fragile creature with insecurities. This novel is as much about Rain's attempt to find herself as it is to find Wendy's killer. I also liked that Fredricks brings addresses the issue of victim-blaming and slut-shaming. These are very serious issues in the media and it was good to see it addressed for the high school crowd. Unfortunately, the mystery was too easy to solve and I felt like I was reading just to confirm my theory (it was confirmed). There were no new developments, just waiting for Rain to realize what you, the reader, had already realized.
Characters: Rain is a very interesting main character. She was born with a cleft palate which made her the target for most of her young life. As the book is fairly short (just 224 pages) and was not enough to get to know the characters. We meet Rain who has the most development, Taylor who is Rain's best friend, and Nico who is the prime suspect. I didn't make a connection with any of the characters, I barely made one with Rain. There are hints about Rain's personal life situation, but not enough to form a full picture.
Setting: The Girl in the Park takes place at an upper class New York high school. There isn't much to say about it. Rain moves mostly between her house and school, and I couldn't really make a clear image of what everyday life was for the residents. Many of characters allude to the socioeconomic status of the neighborhood and how there are outsiders, but I didn't get that. From anyone.
Short n Sweet: Maria Fredericks' The Girl in the Park is a stereotypical "party-girl-found-dead whodunnit with no surprises or loops. The characters are mostly one dimensional but Fredericks does make the issue of slut shaming a focus and how people are eager to blame the victim rather than the true culprit.