*We received this book in exchange for an honest review*
At the prestigious and cut-throat Westcott High, you’re either a Violet or a Cobalt. Violets are wealthy socialites from the Hills; Cobalts are scholarship students from the Valleys. Sonny Carter, a Violet, wants to make it through her junior year of high school in one piece after her older sister was involved in a scandal that rocked Westcott to its core. With the dream of attending an Ivy League and pursuing her writing, Sonny knows her best shot at standing out amongst her over-achieving classmates is to secure a spot as one of the Chosen Ten– a group of students competing for a prestigious award.
But when inexplicable events start occurring at school, Sonny’s spot as one of the Chosen Ten is at stake. First, her beloved English teacher is pushed out and replaced with a teacher who hates Sonny; then, Sonny’s old friend, JC, returns from a year-long suspension claiming that he was framed in a cheating scandal and that a mysterious note left on his doorstep is the key to uncovering his innocence. And because Sonny didn’t already have enough on her plate, Westscott’s elite become pawns in a larger game: someone is releasing scandalous student videos, threatening their futures and destroying relationships along the way.
With the help of her friends, including the new (and swoon-worthy) kid at Westcott, Jacob, Sonny puts on her detective hat to uncover who and why someone wants to destroy their lives. Soon enough, Sonny realizes that reality is not always as it seems.
Okay, we need to preface this review by saying we discovered Sarah Mello and the @WestscottHigh handle on Instagram– and were immediately drawn in. The book series’ Instagram consists of what are essentially mini book “trailers” with real actors depicting Mello’s characters. Not only is this an ingenious marketing move, but it also made us love the book that much more! We were totally invested from the start and could not put this book down because we could actually picture the characters.
Spoiler alert: we definitely rate this book FIVE STARS! Here’s why.
This book reads like an actual Netflix YA show. Imagine all of the juicy gossip, drama, and swoon-worthy romance you love in your fave YA shows. Are you imagining it yet? Good. Because it’s all you could ever want and more in a book.
First, we loved Sonny. She was smart, witty, and an amazing friend. She stood up for others and refused to conform to the Violet vs. Cobalt mentality that plagued her classmates. The core cast of characters in this book were also phenomenal, with each having distinct personalities. There was Winston (Cobalt)– ahh, our beloved Winston–, Sonny’s best friend and comedic relief; Casey (Cobalt), the adorable nerd with an oddly endearing fascination with natural disasters (specifically tornadoes); Kyle (Violet), the kind jock with mega relationship issues; Buckets (Cobalt on the Violet periphery), the class gossip magnet who owes literally everyone a favor or two; and JC (Violet), Sonny’s friend who was wrongly accused in a cheating scandal. The other main characters included Dean (Violet), Sonny’s ex-boyfriend and basketball superstar; Piper (Violet), JC’s ex-girlfriend and Westscott’s overachiever; Norah (Violet), the school’s mean girl and resident artisté; Cliff (Violet), Kyle’s jerky best friend and football star; and Ari, the edgy Cobalt and Kyle’s ex-girlfriend. The group had amazing chemistry and we found ourselves laughing at their antics and banter. Last but not least, there’s Jacob, the new kid who can charm the pants off anyone– including Sonny.
Second, we adored the romance and hardcore ship Sonny with Jacob. Their chemistry was amazing, and we really enjoyed watching them grow closer. Yes, Jacob was witty and a bit mysterious with his intentions, but he was also not a toxic jerk and we so appreciated that about him! Dean is the other love interest for Sonny, and while they do have a history, we are definitely rooting for Jacob in this love triangle. And before you cringe at the mention of a love triangle, we must say that this triangle was well-written and did not leave us questioning the MC’s life choices! But, Sonny is not the only character with a love interest. Sonny’s best friends, Kyle and Casey, also develop an adorable romance and we just want the best for them. The romantic relationships in this series are juicy and we are dying to see where they all go in the next book(s). Please tell us this is at least a three-book series?! We need lots and lots of Sonny and Jacob.
Third, we adored the plot. The high-school drama was pure gold. We were hooked from the beginning and were dying to know who was behind JC’s frame-job and the video releases. We actually really liked the cliff-hanger at the end– we definitely did not see some parts of it coming and cannot wait to read book 2, which came out June 20th!
Overall, we enjoyed this book and are so glad we discovered it via Instagram. The series is self-published and has amazing marketing. Check out the book’s Instagram if you decide to pick it up!