The Weight of Guilt

The Weight of Guilt - Jon Ripslinger

Though this book has a lot of characters in it, the story is mainly about three high school students: Megan, Charley, and John Hawk. Megan and Charley have been best friends for a long time, and John is new to their school and their small town. Even though John has a bit of a secret past, he's a good looking guy and, after Megan tries to get Charley to go out with him - with no luck - she sets her eyes on him for herself. One night at prom and everything changes. Megan is missing and then found dead. The cops have only one suspect - John - so it's up to Charley and John to figure out who really took Megan's young life.

 

I'm always completely honest in my reviews, and this one will be no different. I wanted to love this book - and I did - but it wasn't until after Megan disappeared that it really grabbed my interest. The first couple of chapters, to me, were kinda boring and dragging - and let me explain why. It seemed like every other YA book I've read - gorgeous girl meets good looking new guy who has a past o_O Sound familiar? She then dumps her on again-off again boyfriend so she can go with new guy to the prom (even though she had originally tried to set up her not-so-gorgeous best friend with him) and she doesn't really seem to give a flying flip that he doesn't want to go to the prom or who else she may be hurting. Yes, I found Megan pretty selfish and self-centered. And slutty. This is made even worse by the way she treats her father and step-mother when John arrives at her house before the prom. But then, after their talk in the car after prom, you find out a little bit more about her and her family, and you see that she really is kinda human after all, even though she has this hard, not-so-sweet candy exterior. Once she goes missing and you start seeing how upset Charley is - and the memories from the past that Charley shares with John - you get to like her a little bit more. Unfortunately, by the time I started liking her, she was already out of the story. But that happens. This IS a murder mystery ... which means someone has to die.

 

Once her body is found, things REALLY get good. As I mentioned, the cops have only one suspect, and they're willing to do anything (including lie to him about facts of the case) to get him to mess up or, even better, confess. The only problem is: he DIDN'T do it. John and Charley start investigating themselves - first, separately, then together. There's a lot of suspense and intense moments throughout the story, especially when they are dealing with the cops involved in the story. And Megan's parents. As they get closer and closer to finding out who the murderer is, things get more intense - and a little scary (not horror scary, but definitely had me biting my nails and hoping nothing happens to these two). I started figuring things out around the time that they did, but there was way more to the story than anyone ever expected and, in the end, John is considered a hero. Even though Megan's dead, there is a happy ending, and I liked the way everything was concluded.

 

I really liked Charley. I don't know, I guess I relate with the not-so-pretty, not-so-popular girls in these stories. They always seem more real than the "perfect" girls in these stories.

The character I disliked the most will probably shock any of you who have read this, but it was John's sister. Yes, I disliked her more than the person or people that harmed Megan. She is John's sister and, no matter what has happened in his past, she should have been there for him. Instead, she seemed to believe everyone but him and blame it all on him as well. Maybe she was just nervous and worried, but she handled everything all wrong. Her behavior and attitude only made things worse for John. (And her son was a tad annoying. She never seemed to do anything to settle him down or explain things to him.)

Favorite quote: "Fresh out of boyfriends today." Charley is a sarcastic one. And pretty witty, too. :)

 

Note: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Please remember that this review is my opinion based on my personal impressions of the book.