Thank you to NetGalley and Wattpad Books for providing me with the ebook for an honest review. In no way did that influence my opinions or rating.
TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE, VIOLENCE, DOMESTIC ABUSE, THREATS OF VIOLENCE (not all of it goes into detail—some of it is implied.)
How well can you ever really know your sister…?
Golden boy Griffin Tomlin is found dead, floating in his pool, the morning after his family’s Labor Day party, and neighbor Emily Porterfield is arrested for his murder. No one knows why she killed him, except for her younger sister, Clara. The secrets behind What Happened That Night unravel in dual timelines:
In the present, Clara struggles with the aftermath of the murder—questions and distrust from her friends, denial from her parents, and visits to her sister in jail. And amidst all of that, another body is discovered that could be connected.
In flashback, the events that brought Clara, Griffin, and Emily together and that led to his death are revealed—events that involve a crush, an obsession, and a shocking twist.
When I first read What Happened That Night on Wattpad, it stole my breath. I began to fall for Griffin through the flashbacks, which I know the writer did intentionally. Still, it was interesting to see the way Deanna soon changed the readers’ perspective on all of the characters, wondering who could and couldn’t be trusted. Clara is an unreliable narrator, so it was interesting to try and figure out how to feel about the other characters on my own terms. I loved Kolby and I loved the slow-burn of their relationship. Anniston was one of my favourite characters for sure; I loved how she was always decked out in pink and her role in the school newspaper, as well as the way she was so eager to investigate the reasons why Emily killed Griffin (even though she said she totally wasn’t doing that.)
My favourite aspects of What Happened That Night is how it made the characters, and by extension the reader, confront their judgements and biases they have of other people and the way others are perceived. Sometimes the parts of a person you see aren’t entirely correct, and I like how this book pointed that out. That is why my rating is a little higher than what I originally would have given.
As we began to unveil the mystery of Emily, and Griffin, I started to dislike Emily. All the things we later find out about her and the way, we come to learn, she treated her boyfriend, turned her into an unlikeable character and morally corrupt. She was vindictive, conniving and sly, and an almost perfect killer. The ideas that someone we know can be capable of such dark, twisted things is what drew my attention and we see the dark side of not only Emily, but of Griffin too. Griffin is one of those popular, attractive boys that you think can do no wrong.
As the story progresses, we begin to realise there is so much more to a person than what meets the eye, another side that they hide from the rest of the world. What Happened That Night touched on the consequences of the decisions you choose to make and how it affects those around you. It brought to life the fear, the worries and denial of someone who believed the people she knew and loved were good people, only to find out that there was a part of them, and she wasn’t sure how dominant that part may be, that was evil ( . . . and thirsted for her blood.)
However I feel like this book didn’t give me as much of a thrill and the rush of excitement to find out what happened exactly and why, as other mystery books often do. Because of this, I give this book a 4.5 stars out of 5.
Still, I do recommend it and I am definitely going to get myself a paperback copy when it comes out. Deanna is a wonderful writer and I know that over the years of reading her work on Wattpad, it has improved my own. I can’t wait to see how this book succeeds and see her, hopefully, publish more books.