Throwaway Girls by Andrea Contos
Caroline Lawson is three months away from freedom, otherwise known as graduation day. That’s when she’ll finally escape her rigid prep school and the parents who thought they could convert her to being straight.
Until then, Caroline is keeping her head down, pretending to be the perfect student even though she is crushed by her family and heartbroken over the girlfriend who left for California.
But when her best friend Madison disappears, Caroline feels compelled to get involved in the investigation. She has her own reasons not to trust the police, and she owes Madison — big time.
Suddenly Caroline realizes how little she knew of what her friend was up to. Caroline has some uncomfortable secrets about the hours before Madison disappeared, but they’re nothing compared to the secrets Madison has been hiding. And why does Mr. McCormack, their teacher, seem to know so much about them?
It’s only when Caroline discovers other missing girls that she begins to close in on the truth. Unlike Madison, the other girls are from the wrong side of the tracks. Unlike Madison’s, their disappearances haven’t received much attention. Caroline is determined to find out what happened to them and why no one seems to notice. But as every new discovery leads Caroline closer to the connection between these girls and Madison, she faces an unsettling truth.
There’s only one common denominator between the disappearances: Caroline herself.
This was really good! So hard to put down and I read the last two hours in one sitting.
I’m going to do my best to keep this short so there are no spoilers. Throwaway Girls is suspenseful and will have you guessing for awhile. I think I figured it out about 75-80% in, but I still wasn’t 100% sure. The book also covers some pretty heavy topics.
Caroline was still heartbroken over her girlfriend, Willa, leaving her for California. She got some letters from her, but that’s it. Then her best friend, Madison, goes missing. Caroline remembers finding a young girl dead a couple years earlier. The police didn’t really care since she wasn’t the type of girl they actually look for. Caroline hides most of her life from her parents and she has a goal to leave as soon as she’s eighteen. When her parents found out that she liked both girls and boys, they sent her to a horrible conversion camp. She escaped and found the owner of The Wayside, a crappy bar where none of her boarding school friends would ever be. Caroline got on Xanax, but it was kept a secret from her dad.
Madison missing really screwed Caroline up even more. She decided that she would be the one to look into the case and find her. While the police cared because Madison was a rich white girl, Caroline felt they were looking in the wrong direction. Mainly a teacher that was close to his students. While looking into things, Caroline finds that there were a lot of missing girls. They were either poor or girls of color. Their cases were ignored, but Caroline was sure there was a connection. She gets some help from her friends, Jake and Aubrey. When a person they talked to ends up dead, Caroline is sure she’s on the right path.
I gave this book 4 stars. The pacing is great and it’s hard to put down. Thank you to the publisher and Edelweiss for my review copy.
Warnings for conversion camp, talk of suicide, fire, kidnapping, teenage drinking/drugs, anxiety.
Have you read Throwaway Girls? Is it on your TBR?