Two former best friends return to their college reunion to find that they’re being circled by someone who wants revenge for what they did ten years before—and will stop at nothing to get it—in this shocking psychological thriller about ambition, toxic friendship, and deadly desire.
A lot has changed in the years since Ambrosia Wellington graduated from college, and she’s worked hard to create a new life for herself. But then an invitation to her ten-year reunion arrives in the mail, along with an anonymous note that reads “We need to talk about what we did that night.”
It seems that the secrets of Ambrosia’s past—and the people she thought she’d left there—aren’t as buried as she’d believed. Amb can’t stop fixating on what she did or who she did it with: larger-than-life Sloane “Sully” Sullivan, Amb’s former best friend, who could make anyone do anything.
At the reunion, Amb and Sully receive increasingly menacing messages, and it becomes clear that they’re being pursued by someone who wants more than just the truth of what happened that first semester. This person wants revenge for what they did and the damage they caused—the extent of which Amb is only now fully understanding. And it was all because of the game they played to get a boy who belonged to someone else, and the girl who paid the price.
Alternating between the reunion and Amb’s freshman year, The Girls Are All So Nice Here is a shocking novel about the brutal lengths girls can go to get what they think they’re owed, and what happens when the games we play in college become matters of life and death.
This was a psychological thriller with a great hook – the comeuppance of the mean girls from the perspective of a mean girl, wrapped up in a giant title that I have not once been able to say in the right order.
Ambrosia did some particularly sh*tty things in college, some of them specifically to hurt the people around her and when she attends her ten year reunion, it looks like someone’s determined to make her face the consequences of her actions.
Though she’s not likable as such, she’s written in such a way that you can understand the motivations behind what she does and how she rationalises her actions when really there’s no justification for them. Sully, her partner in crime, is even less likable and appears to be a straight up sociopath and devil on Amb’s shoulder – but can you blame a sociopath for behaving badly when they make absolutely no pretense at being anything other than a raging bastard?
The chapters alternate between the ‘then’ and ‘now’ of college and the reunion as we read how her behaviour escalated and the final results, before we discover who it is that’s been playing with her in the present day.
It’s a tough look at how awful people can be to each other for such flimsy reasons but at the same time it’s a compelling read, from a perspective that’s so hard to pull off without completely alienating the reader.
The ending didn’t quite blow my socks off because I was more invested in the ‘then’ timeline where mean girls were pushing the boundaries between morally corrupt and illegal, but it did neatly tie up all the loose ends with a creepy final chapter.