Going dark

Melissa De la Cruz, 1971-

Book - 2023

When 19-year-old Josh returns from Rome without his budding influencer girlfriend Amelia, he immediately becomes a suspect in her disappearance, but as college sophomore and hacker Harper attempts to clear his name, she unearths secrets from both Josh and Amelia's past.

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Location Call Number   Status
Young Adult Area YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Delacruz Melissa Checked In
Young adult fiction
New York : Union Square & Co [2023]
Main Author
Melissa De la Cruz, 1971- (author)
Physical Description
329 pages ; 22 cm
Ages 14 and up.
Contents unavailable.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Amelia Ashley, a college student and social media influencer, goes mysteriously missing while on vacation in Italy with her photographer boyfriend Josh Reuter in this absorbing mystery by de la Cruz (the Blue Bloods series). After the two argued at the end of their trip, an angry Josh returned home to California without Amelia, only to be implicated when she was declared missing. Following a media frenzy--spearheaded by her 1.5 million Instagram followers making the hashtag #WhereIsAmeliaAshley go viral--one of Amelia's friends hires hacker Harper Delgado to gain access to Amelia's online information. Instead of clarity, however, Harper unearths more questions about Amelia's everyday life and the reality of her relationship with Josh. Through social media posts, private diary entries, and firsthand accounts, Harper unravels the mystery while bringing to light a seemingly connected past disappearance. De la Cruz combines familiar thriller beats with a socially conscious narrative to deliver a breakneck story that outpaces its ripped-from-the-headlines influences to establish its own labyrinthine twists. This timely work gratifyingly interrogates the core question of what determines whose disappearance gets taken seriously and whose gets ignored. Amelia and Josh cue as white; Harper is brown-skinned. Ages 14--up. (Jan.)

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Review by School Library Journal Review

Gr 9 Up--Josh Rueter and his influencer girlfriend, Amelia Ashley, travel to Rome for vacation, but when only Josh returns home and Amelia's busy social media goes dark, he is the prime suspect in her disappearance. Matters only become worse when the police find blood in Josh's suitcase. Hacker Harper Delgado becomes involved, scouring the internet for digital breadcrumbs that might help solve the case. A mix of Gone Girl and true crime, this is a twisty plot that highlights the role race, media, and fame can play in solving a crime. Josh is white, but there are a number of characters of color. Chapters alternate among his perspective, Harper's, and Amelia's, while also jumping between past and present; even a ghost makes an appearance. The story is full of detail and nuance; however, the second half loses a bit of momentum as the mystery unravels. Despite this, there are creepy moments that will satisfy internet sleuths and thrill seekers. VERDICT Overall, this is a clever take that will please fans of the genre and de la Cruz's books.--Kaitlin Malixi

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

A gripping mystery that addresses deeper social issues. American college students Josh Reuter and Amelia Ashley had a wonderful European adventure--or they should have, but they got in a fight, and at the end of the trip, Amelia never boarded the plane in Rome to head back to California. On top of his girlfriend's abandonment, implied White Josh is dealing with lost baggage. Meanwhile, attractive blond foodie influencer Amelia's nearly 1.5 million Instagram followers are saying that she's missing, and the hashtags about her disappearance are going viral. With questions piling up, Josh becomes the prime suspect even in the eyes of his friends, and he must prove his innocence to the police as evidence against him starts appearing. One of Amelia's friends asks Harper Delgado, a brown-skinned San Diego State sophomore and well-connected hacker, to search for Amelia in ways the police can't. Harper scours Amelia's online content for clues and finds a disturbing unlisted video that puts her on the right track for discovering the truth about the couple's relationship. Playing with different points of view and narrative tools, including prose, descriptions of videos, blog posts, and diary entries, the book will draw readers in through its engaging storytelling and compelling characters they can't help but care about. The novel probes questions of the types of victims who garner public sympathy and those who are overlooked. An edge-of-your-seat thriller with a deeply satisfying ending and a message that lingers. (Mystery. 14-adult) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.