Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons
Release Date: 27/02/2018
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Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but the past is past, and she's reinvented herself entirely. Now she's a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl's body is found in the lake, Kay's carefully constructed life begins to topple.
The dead girl has left Kay a computer-coded scavenger hunt, which, as it unravels, begins to implicate suspect after suspect, until Kay herself is in the crosshairs of a murder investigation. But if Kay's finally backed into a corner, she'll do what it takes to survive. Because at Bates Academy, the truth is something you make...not something that happened.
Our main character Kat is spending her final school year at Bates Academy, a boarding school for the upper class. She seems to fit in pretty well with the other students, considering she got in on an athletics scholarship, mostly by stealing everyone else's clothes which is certainly a trait to be admired. It's pretty clear from the start of the book that she has a dark past that she's trying hard to put behind her.
The other characters in this are sort of interesting, particularly Brie, Kat's friend who she's clearly in love with and Nola (all of the characters in this book have weird names idk why), the weird goth girl who writes on her walls and dances instead of walking. The rest of the characters though, did blend together quite a bit for me and I had difficulty even telling Greg and Kat's ex boyfriend apart (I forgot his name, sue me).
"When all is quiet, she begins to hum under her breath, and now I have to shush her once or twice, because if I don't, her voice will gradually rise until she is singing out loud, and eventually we'll be caught traipsing through the woods with a sack full of cat bones, merrily belting out show tunes."
Being hella gay or bisexual is completely normal in this book and it's glorious. Gay characters in books can quickly turn into a plot device but I never felt that that happened, Kat goes through a few relationships throughout the book but none of them felt like they were there to move the story along. Having casually gay characters is a new thing for YA and it is absolutely glorious to see it so normalised.
I did like the idea that Kat and her friends find a body, then Kat is emailed with a website that reveals ugly secrets about her friends is pretty interesting if you enjoy 90s slasher flicks like Scream as much as I do. However every clue was in verse or poem and I have zero clue what they meant, as I wasn't meant to - it was then explained by Kat what it meant. This did really take the fun out of it for me.
"Todd took Megan away. My Megan. The trivia champ of John Butler Junior High, a cookie connoisseur, and a champion snuggler. We had, between us, seven secret identities, and we could communicate in Sindarin, one of J. R. R. Tolkein's elven languages. And Todd destroyed her. And I still loved him."
The big problem I had with People Like Us is that I was strongly reminded of a book series - Nightmare Hall from the Point Horror collection. If it was shrunk down to half of the amount of pages it would fit in with the series perfectly, it was just TOO much like those books. Except, I did think that those books packed a better punch when the killer was revealed.
The killer is, unfortunately, blindingly obvious. I did really enjoy the cat and mouse chase of it but I certainly didn't gasp in horror once the killer was revealed. What I did take away from this book though was that this story was more about the relationships you have with different people and how sometimes, you don't know them at all. With that angle this does read more like a contemporary than a thriller.