Cover Image: The Girls Are All So Nice Here

The Girls Are All So Nice Here

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Member Reviews

What a dark view of female friendship the author has explored in this psychological thriller, based in a US college. Told in dual timelines, we see Ambrosia Wellington as she starts her first semester at Wesleyan University and begins to make friends, but also as she’s invited to a college reunion several years later. In the now, Amb is a high flying PR agent, based in Manhattan; a long way away from the acting aspirations she had at college. Her husband Adrian dotes on her and they’ve been putting off ideas of parenthood to enjoy being just the two of them, as well as concentrating on their careers. Amb seems to have glossed over what happened at college, even in her own mind. Yet, the anxiety brought on by the arrival of the alumni invitation suggests there are secrets she’s been keeping, locked away and never resolved. 

The past timeline starts to tell the tale of her arrival at Wesleyan and her first encounter with one of her fellow students, a girl called Flora who is her roommate. At first they’re friends, through proximity more than anything else, but Amb soon becomes tired of Flora’s sweet, insipid personality. She then meets Sloane ‘Sully’ Sullivan. Sully is the antithesis of Flora, rebellious and full of charisma. She draws Amb in with her charm, but that charm has drawbacks. Sully is reckless and can talk others into following her into dark and possibly dangerous behaviour. They stumble together, through parties fuelled by cocaine and alcohol and ending random couplings with strangers, Sully also has a cruel streak, and Amb watches her bully and manipulate other girls. Eventually she targets Flora, pursuing her boyfriend doggedly. Is that all that happened though? Amb doesn’t think so. However, before the reunion she receives a letter saying ‘you need to come, we need to talk about what we did that night’. The tension starts to ramp up as we are left wondering who has sent the letter and what do they want? Not only that, but what did happen all those years ago? 

As the reunion arrives, the author has built the tension to fever pitch. There are curveballs flying everywhere as revelations of sexual betrayal are exposed and the true cost of the girl’s behaviour all those years ago starts to hit home for Amb. The writing is razor sharp and has the same charisma as Sully, drawing the reader through twists and turns to find out who is the letter sender and whether they aim to frighten or to exact revenge. While I couldn’t like the main characters, except for Flora, the book was compelling throughout and rewarded me with a satisfyingly dark ending. 

The writer has a brilliant eye for human behaviour and just how bad teenage girls can behave towards each other. The psychology of Sully is fascinating and isn’t explored enough. I missed the ‘why’ of her behaviour - what had made her this way? I also wondered at the passivity of Amb, blindly going along with her schemes and immersing herself in dangerous situations. It’s as if Sully gives her permission to act this way and a totally different side of her is unleashed. Neither girl seems aware of the seriousness of the damage they’re inflicting. The letter writer
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It is a psychological thriller, alternating between Past and Present. It is a character-driven story where you witness their emotions and growth. In this case, you'll hate them, feel for them, disgust them, angry with them, shout on/for them and again hate them. I don't want to give away so much. This book was full of adventures, twists and darkness. 

I wasn't comfortable in reading a few scenes because those were so graphic, a few times they were important to understand the development but a few times I found them unnecessary but maybe they were there so we can understand how the mind of mean girls works.
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The Girls Are All So Nice Here is dark and twisty from the get go. With two timelines – one following Ambrosia in the present as a thirty-something woman preparing for her college ruinion, the other detailing her first year in college – it’s almost like following two separate women. College Ambrosia was naive, too trusting, too desperate for attention and validation, that she went against her own wishes, her own morals, and her own desires to get what she wanted – the approval of the cooler girls. One cool girl in particular, Sully, took her under her wing and out into the world of boys, parties, drugs, and ruining other people’s lives. Adult Ambrosia is different. She’s more cautious, more paranoid – a secretive best friend and witholding wife, moulded into someone else by the events of that first year of college. But when a college reunion approaches, and a friend lets slip to Adrian, her husband, about it, she can no longer bury her head in the sand and pretend it’s not happening. She has to go. Especially when she gets the hand written note telling her ‘We need to talk about what we did that night.’

When ensues in a twisting tale of friendship, lies, betrayal, and secrets, all stemming from one girls insecurities and ambitions to be something bigger. Ambrosia doens’t want to be like most of the girls in her dorm, she wants to be edgier, cooler, more attractive. So she shuns the ‘nice’ girls, like her roommate Flora, who stays home from parties to study and call her long distance boyfriend, who is constantly offering Ambrosia hot chocolates in her half of the ‘best friends’ mug set she got for them, who peppers the floor with positive and uplifting post it notes.

It’s difficult to say too much about this book without going too into the plot, which I don’t want to spoil, but I do want to say this about the characters. This is such a good representation of female friendship and the dynamics that shift when you leave your small town high school and mix with people from all walks of life. The way that Ambrosia was depicted was so carefully crafted, always having her teetering on the edge of ‘good’ and ‘bad.’, and made her a very compelling main character to follow She was shown as flawed in many ways – she was cruel and she lied, spread rumours, dismissed others’ feelings, and a lot of the motivations for her actions were rooted in insecurities. I’m not saying this excuses any of her actions, but I think a lot of us who have grown up surrounded by teenage girls have found outselves drawn to one of them, and ended up acting hurtfully to another to gain some respect in some way (hope this wasn’t just me! Not one of my finer moments!) The depiction of toxic friendships and the hold that some people have over you is so brilliantly explored in this novel, especially alongside the mystery of what actually that fateful night that the secret notes are alluring to, and what happened to make Amb’s old bedroom be nicknamed Doom Dorm.

This definitely had Mean Girls elements to it but it is much darker and twistier, and I found myself fully drawn into this book, the characters, and this world. I also really enjoyed how the flashbacks were to college, rather than maybe high school, as there are so few novels set in college that I’ve found, and it was so interesting to read about this time in the characters lives. I think it was so necessary that it was set in college, especially that first year, when you’ve just left home and are trying to be someone new, trying to find your friends for life, but still have that string connecting you to who you used to be.
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I requested this off Netgalley because the publisher kept tweeting about it and I wanted to see if it was worth the hype and it was, I was gripped most of the way through, until the end which quite frankly sucked. Sorry to be harsh but the little sister suddenly comes along, kills the main baddie, gets the acomplice put in prison for life by framing her for the main baddie's murder and conviently gets the acomplice's man? Really?
Brilliant book, until the end, hence only 3 stars.
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The Girls Are All So Nice Here has such an ironic title. It's a deliciously dark and twisty read that shows the brutal lengths some girls will go to, to get what they desire.
It's a book that's very hard to put down once you start and is one you will easily devour in one or two sittings.
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We are back and this time reviewing a dark academia thriller – A huge heartfelt Thankyou to HQ , Harper Collins and Netgalley for our arc copy of this amazing book which was published in April 1 st 2021

As this book started off we immediately loved the style of writing, it was immersive and thought it would be a slow, simmering thriller with hints of what was to come, but it gathered speed quickly and we couldn’t turn the pages fast enough as it geared up for a chilling, killer climax. All the girls really so nice here made for an utterly compelling read – Think Pretty little Liars meets Mean girls with a murderous twist or two!

This sounds Perfect right?

It really does make for an unsettling tale of obsessive love and toxic friendships, a dark psychological thriller which bravely explores the complexities of female friendships- and shines the spotlight on the darker sides of casual sex, manipulation, secrets and lies.

This book really got under our skin and kept us hooked and invested from the first chapter. As the reader really had no idea who to trust or believe, and despite reading crazy amounts of thrillers it remained a shock ending- We didn’t see it coming! which is always a buzz.

Throughout the novel the questions remained- What happened during that first year ? Whonwas to blame abs who is making it clear that the buried secrets won’t stay that way for much longer?

It was deeply intriguing and as we read deep into the night, disliking the two main protagonists more and more as we moved through the story, it served as a stark reminder of the dangerous lengths teenage girls will go to fit in with their peers often with alarming consequences.

We watch as the students settle in to their first term at university, as all things academic play second fiddle to their new social situations, the girls embark on a journey of self discovery, negotiating life away from home and parents for the first time and forging bonds.

Beware if you’re an prude !!! The novel has a strong element of young women exploring their sexuality – attending dubious parties, fairly graphic casual sex, excessive drinking…

In All the girls are so nice here we Meet Amb ( Ambrosia) and Sully ( Sloane) who are typical mean girls, Amb is the flawed protagonist who tells the story from alternating chapters of “ now” and “ then”, which we loved as it heightens the sense of suspense and mystery, we learn secrets from the past abs then have to wait a whole chapter to learn more!

In the “ now” Amb is a successful PR in Manhattan married to Adrian who is about to realise he doesn’t really know his wife at all. She has created a new life and tried to put the past behind her but she holds secrets from the past and they continue to haunt her.

When she is invited to the 10 year university Reunion he supportive and enthusiastic husband is adamant they should attend and despite her best protestations in the end she has no choice but to reluctantly agree. Here all hell breaks lose and her carefully constructed life started to unspool.

Because in the “ then” Amb is a jealous and vindictive girl who preyed on her “ nicer” roommate Flora picking her apart like a vulture to impress Sully and gain friendship Kudos… Sully proves herself to be reckless and uses people as toy things to control like marionettes for her entertainment. Amb becomes obsessed with Kevin, Floras boyfriend and is determined to destroy their relationship so she can have him for herself … this all leads us to the final fatal night. But what happened and what part did Amb, Sully and Kevin okay? And who is sending the notes, and toying with them? Because someone knows the truth about what happened that night and they are determined to reveal it.

If you’re looking for a deliciously dark and tense coming of age thriller then you’ve found it in All the girls are so nice here, with a strong cast of female characters, a deftly plotted storyline that is executed with skill and well written prose it’s a story to read late into the night!
The thriller girls at HQ highly recommend it to our fellow thriller fans!
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An addictive, compulsive and disturbing psychological thriller that I couldn’t put down! I wizzed through this book so fast, The plot was well thought out and kept me wanting more. And what a great title! I know you should never judge a book by the cover but titles like these just draw me in. 
Ambrosia (Amb) seems happily married and is invited to her 10 year college reunion. She doesn’t want to go and as you read on you realise why!  Amb was not a nice girl at college. The narrative is Amb’s voice and alternates between now and then (back when Amb was a freshman in college) as the events unfold in the present you discover what happened in the past. These events are shocking and devastating. There is nothing more terrifying than girls who are insecure, fuelled by jealousy and wanting to impress each other. This is one not to be missed!
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Overall, 'The Girls Are All So Nice Here' was a decent read.

The story starts off at a good pace, introducing Ambrosia, who is unhappy to receive an invitation to her college's ten-year reunion event, and it soon becomes clear that a past event at college haunts her. The book then flits between the present and ten years ago, when Ambrosia, starting as a freshman college student,  soon finds herself pulled between her goody-two-shoes roommate, Flora, and her intriguing, wild hallmate, Sully. As the story goes on, you see Ambrosia ascend into darkness and the theme of toxic female friendships is explored.

The second third of the book did slow down in pacing, and I did feel myself impatient for more action as I enjoy a fast-paced thriller. However, the author just about uses enough dripfeeding of new details to keep the story interesting. There are some twists, although I can't say they are incredibly surprising (except where I had to suspend my disbelief) as not one of the characters in the whole book was particularly likeable.

To summarise, the book was an okay read. The theme of toxicity and the 'mean girls' trope drew me in from the start, but it did lose its steam slightly. I would have liked to see more grittiness, as the story seemed to depend on the wild, shock factor of college women using drugs and sleeping with several men. I'd be interested to read another book by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn and see how it compares.
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Amb (Ambrosia) comes from a small town and finds it hard to fit in at her college. She meets Sully (Sloane) who does anything and everything for kicks. She embroils Amb in her nasty tricks and it is a surprise that they have time for their studies they are so busy taking drugs, sleeping around and playing tricks on others. Now 10 years later there is a college reunion and Amb is pushed into going by her husband. There are to be repercussions from the past, but who is responsible?
Not the most pleasant of reads with the subject matter and the cruelty of young women, but a definite twist in the tale.
Many thanks to Netgalley/Laurie Elizabeth Flynn/HQ for a digital copy of this title. All opinions expressed are my own.
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A twisty, gripping read on theme of toxic female friendship. 

Ambrosia Wellington is about to attend her college reunion- but that means facing up to a past she isn't proud of. Told in the past and present, Ambrosia's life as she starts college and tries to fit collides with her attempts in the present to pretend none of the terrible things she did to impress others, particularly the reckless Sully, ever happened.  

Ambrosia's actions in this book make it at times uncomfortable to read - she is awful! - but it is always pitch perfect in its depiction of female friendships. The struggle to forge an identity and the often jealous judgements we make of those who have managed to do so is very effectively explored in this novel. I enjoyed reading a thriller with a main character so despicable and loved the ending!
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For me this was ‘Mean Girls’ meets ‘Pretty Little Liars’ and ‘Gossip Girl’ all rolled into one - and what a fantastic combination it makes!

The book transports the reader back and forth from present day into the past. It looks at the excitement of going to uni and the trying to strike a balance between studying and going out, partying, making friends and scoping out potential love interests (or not). This novel deals with all of this and the dramatic consequences of trying to fit in.

The protagonist, Ambrosia (Amb), is introduced in present day as a young woman with a secret and the last thing on her mind is re-visiting her past (with her husband in tow), at a University reunion that she has been mysteriously manipulated into attending. She doesn’t want him learning of her promiscuity and the unhealthy obsession she had of pleasing her best friend Sully (the bitchiest and meanest of girls on campus), whilst sabotaging a friendship in the truest and purest form, with tragic consequences.

However, that’s what happens - she confidently accepts the ‘challenge’, whilst planning on not letting her secrets reveal themselves to her oblivious husband. Surely, a colourful past will have a way of catching up with you - won’t it? You’re left wondering if Amb will leave the weekend unscathed.

This book is refreshing in that he breaks away from the usual thriller type storyline of characters that are targeted and victimised. Instead, Amb and Sully epitomise the stereotypical mean girls and this very depiction is what makes these characters detestable and hard to relate to. As a reader, I was consumed with needing to know if they got their comeuppance or not and if so, how? I found myself guessing what was going to happen next, whilst coming up with theories of who was behind different events and I found myself wrong each time. 

The author focuses on identity and what it means to be true to yourself and not seeking the acceptance of others. They look at what goes wrong when you don’t fit in and the battles with mental health that can be attributed with toxic friendships and situations.  

I was left speechless at the ending of the novel - I found myself re-reading the opening paragraph to make sure that I’d not lost the plot. It somewhat felt bittersweet - I was left feeling relieved and satisfied, and yet solemn too (you’ll know what I mean when you read it).

It was an interesting and thought provoking read. It’s a reminder that you have a choice on the type of person you will be and that actions do have consequences you’ll forever have to live with. 

This is a book definitely worth your time. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC, in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
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This is Mean Girls go to college on drugs!

Ambrosia reluctantly heads back to head 10 year college reunion to face the demons if her past and confront the truth about her actions.

The chapters are split between the present where Ambrosia does not want to go to the reunion as she has worked hard to put her experiences at Wesleyan behind and become a different person, and her freshman year at college as she navigates the world of dorms, boys and parties.

She is determined to be someone new. Never feeling like she fitted in at high school she wants to reinvent herself and recover from her break up with her boyfriend.

She rejects the friendship from, too good to be true roommate, Flora, and instead gravitated towards Sloane Sullivan. Charismatic and reckless, Sully introduces Amb to a life of parties, drugs and casual sex.

Amb still feels like an outsider. And then she meets a boy who she think finally understands her. And Sully will help her get him.

The truth about the events of that night emerge slowly through a series of flashbacks. As a narrator Amb is honest and vulnerable but can the reader trust what she says?

This is such a compelling read – it’s a read page turner and I could not put it down. There are some shocking twists along the way. The reader has to work to unravel the truth among the lies.

Thank you to HQ Stories for gifting me a copy of this gripping read.
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The Girls Are All So Nice Here is a twisty thriller about toxic friendships and obsession. Set at a prestigious US college, Wesleyan, it tells the story of Ambrosia who is desperate to fit in and to understand the rules of the strange and elite world she finds herself in. She wants to find her place among the ‘nice’, privileged girls who surround her, that is until she meets troubled but charismatic Sully. Amb and Sully become incredibly close but it’s a friendship marked by obsession, jealousy and a need to impress. Nobody can avoid Sully’s charm and Amb simultaneously fears her and wants to be her.

Determined to impress, Amb is pulled into Sully’s games, never knowing what the consequences might be for the other girls or for herself…

This debut thriller made for uncomfortable but addictive reading. It’s brutal, twisty and unrelenting. Whenever I thought I had the mystery pinned down (and I was so certain at one point!) the story took me in another direction. If you’ve read this book, I’d love to hear what your theories were!

I saw a lot of similarities between this book and The Divines by Ellie Eaton, which I read at the start of March. If you enjoyed one, I’d definitely recommend the other! However, unlike in The Divines where I was often keen to get back to older storyline, I found the story being told over two timelines in The Girls Are All So Nice Here – one in the present at a college reunion and one ten years earlier – really added to the story and the tension.

This is a book that is genuinely hard to put down. If you read it, I can’t wait to hear what you think!
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The Girls Are All So Nice Here was a dark and wild ride. The girls were definitely not so nice. I was shocked how far these characters went for the sake of entertainment. I instantly thought of the infamous quote from Abbott’s Dare Me.

“There’s something dangerous about the boredom of teenage girls.”

Amb is eager to impress ultimate mean girl, Sully. Sully is looking to find someone willing to come to her level. Things get dangerous fast. We follow two timelines. One is during Amb’s college days and the other is 10 years later to the present time. I personally loved the two timelines and was equally invested in both.

While I was really interested in what was happening throughout the book, I was a little bothered by the lack of motivation. Boredom and finding people annoying really wasn’t reason enough for some of the things these girls did. Still, I was somehow invested. There are obviously some twists and turns and you are left feeling dizzy by the end! I really enjoyed this roller-coaster of a ride, but please be aware, there are very triggering topics!

If you were a fan of Dare Me, Mean Girls, or Pretty Little Liars growing up, then this is the perfect adult version to sink your teeth into!

Thank you to HQ and Netgalley for the arc! This title was released April 1, 2021.
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Transport yourself to the giddy first term of university life where studying takes a back seat over love, relationships and self-discovery. In this thriller by Flynn, the writer demonstrates the basic need to be accepted – but, with alarming consequences.

I could not believe how many sexual encounters there were in this novel! It did not feel like being at university because of the distinct lack of studying. Flynn makes some reference to academia as Ambrosia’s grades slip – which is unsurprising considering how little she actually seems to do. Instead, we are transported to the life of a partying student who has prioritised friendship and acceptance above all.

On the surface, present-day Ambrosia is clearly hiding a secret to do with her past. Attending a university reunion is evidently her worst nightmare, but circumstances mean that Amb cannot escape it. With her supportive husband in tow, Amb is confident that she will get through this reunion relatively unscathed. However, as the narrative switches back to Amb’s first term at university, it is obvious that she was not the girl that we see now. I grew to intensely dislike Amb as a student because of how she treated others. Frustrated with her desire to prove herself to Sully, Amb completely destroys any potential, genuine friendships that could exist around her. As Amb grows more sexually active, she finds she is still not satisfied with who she is, desiring the ease that her best friend Sully displays. Yet, this only leads to hurt and tragedy.

I was shocked by the turn of events. Amb and Sully were typical “mean girls” and I think this is what makes the narrative a bit different from other thrillers. Instead of being presented with a targeted heroine, Amb is a clearly flawed protagonist. As my dislike increased from the past narrative, it fell into present-day. Therefore, I was keen to see Amb penalised for her actions. I could not understand her fascination with Sully and believed that there was more to the relationship than illustrated. Although my predictions were off the mark, the friendship between the two becomes more twisted as the years progress.

Flynn addresses the issue of identity and acceptance; how this can have a significant impact on one’s mental health. This, along with the recklessness of Amb’s behaviour, makes this quite a dark novel. Amb’s lack of care about herself is saddening, especially when contrasted with her roommate, Flora. They are an antithesis and I think this works with the novel’s title really well. On the one hand, everyone at university does seem nice – to an innocent Flora. However, it is people like Amb who appear nice but actually have hidden motives. 

Amb is a destroyer and over the course of the story do we truly find out what this means. I thought the best part of the story was the unexpected ending. It really blew me away and was cleverly woven into the narrative. This made the book more explosive for an otherwise dark, sex-fuelled story about mean people picking on the innocent.

My first read from Flynn and I was interested in this story throughout. It did not have a “spark” with me until the very end, but I did enjoy watching how Amb’s actions did have consequences and retribution.

With thanks to HQ Digital and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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'The Girls Are All So Nice Here,' is a great, pulpy thriller about girls gone bad, and the things young women do to make themselves likeable to men and to their peers. I related a lot to Ambrosia's overwhelming desire to fit in in a new place and all of the fears, doubts and insecurities young women have when they start at university. The flashbacks to her time at college work better than the ones set in the present day, possibly because she's such a cow in the present day parts, it almost feels unbelievable. The end is so jaw-droppingly unexpected, you can't help but laugh at Laurie Elizabeth Flynn's daringness to include it. In the wrong hands, it wouldn't work. But here, it (just about) does. A great -and highly enjoyable - thing to read somewhere cozy on a rainy afternoon.
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As soon as I read the description for this book I knew it would be a story that would captivate me, and I certainly wasn’t wrong.

Ambrosia is now a successful, fully grown woman who wants nothing more than to put the mistakes she made throughout her younger years firmly behind her. Now married to her husband Adrian who is several years younger than her, Ambrosia feels as though her life is being to settle down. That is until Adrian discovers that she has been invited to a reunion at her old college and is rather adamant that she should attend, and as Ambrosia is unable to come up with any feasible reasons as to why they can’t attend, she finds herself returning to the one place she so desperately wants to forget.

Adrian is the supportive husband, and insists that he would love to meet her old friends, and assures her that she should try her best to forget about all of the mean girls she had encountered there, but what he doesn’t seem to realise is that Ambrosia was in fact one of the meanest girls there was. When she receives a further email ‘you to come to – we need to talk about what we did that night’ Ambrosia is left with very little choice but to attend.

When she is reunited with some of the people who played a part in the devastating events of that evening, all of the secrets and lies Ambrosia believed were buried deep begin rising to the surface, and it is only a matter of time before her own involvement comes crashing down on her with force, leaving her to deal with the consequences to her past once and for all.

I don’t want to give too much away about this book as it is without a doubt one of those stories that will captivate you from the very first page. The story is told in such a chilling way, which has you on the edge of your seat as the story begins to unfold and you learn of the events that occurred all those years ago.

The story is told from both a past and present perspective, giving us deeper insight as to the impact of that night has had on Ambrosia as an adult, and the lasting affects she is left living with. With a strong cast of characters that each add a new insight to the story, you find yourself fully immersed in this world that has been created by the author.

Thrilling, well paced and full of drama and suspense, this is without a doubt one of the books that I will be talking about for a very long time to come.
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"The Girls Are So Nice Here" follows the story of Ambrosia, who receives an invitation to a class reunion in her old collage, Wesleyan. Married to affable Adrian, Amb wants to forget about her college experiences from 10 years ago. She was one of the bad girls and bad things happen, so she is doing her best to forget and hides the past from her husband. But the past is catching up with her – so maybe it is finally time to meet some old friends and discover the truth?
The book is a psychological thriller dealing with themes of peer pressure, male gaze, sexualisation of girls, female friendship, and obsessive behaviour. Amb and Sully’s friendship is toxic and disturbing, and none of them are really a likeable character, but I found their portrayals realistic. The college parts of book were really dark and disturbing, and the tone of the whole book was unsettling and creepy, however I found towards the end that the plot was slowing down and became a bit repetitive. Even so, I think it was a suitably unnerving book, definitely worth reading.
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These girls are absolutely far from nice, they are cannibals who eat parts of themselves in the mistaken belief that they are destroying each other, not realising that they are devouring their own mirror image. In a bid to emerge, butterfly like, into college life from their high school caterpillar existence, it is the one girl, Flora, who remains true to herself throughout all the trauma visited on her at Wesleyan .

Amb tells the story in 'now' and ' then' chapters, she has been running from the events of the first year she spent away from home and now, the ten year anniversary is here to make her face up to the truly terrible things that she was instrumental in creating.

Much like a cuckoo, she takes and steals what she perceives are the best bits of the other girls around her, becoming engaged in a toxic, mutually enabling relationship with bad girl Sloane Sullivan, known as Sully, who wrecks lives without consequence.

Her freedom to do exactly as she wishes with complete lack of regard to the fallout immediately attracts Amb to her, who has viewed college as a a place where she can be the person she has always felt she could be. Instead, under Sully's malign influence, she descends into this caricature of the person she thinks she is. The freedom she perceives from throwing off the shackles of trying to fit in is an illusion based on exchanging sexual favours for feeling needed, rebellion against conformity and that being 'nice' will get her precisely nowhere.

In reality, every time she returns to her dorm room and sees Flora, her too good to be true roommate, she is reminded of her inadequacies-totally creating a self fulfilling prophecy-and descends further into chaos until she turns on Flora with the most wicked betrayal of them all.

It is untrue to say that there are no nice girls here, there are, but Amb dpes not recognise them as such, she sees opportunities to steal and borrow other people's personalities and try them on for size, completely missing the point that this re-invention marks her out as nothing but a fake. However, in the contrasting narratives of Flora and her sister Poppy, attending Wesleyan 14 years later, there appear to have been very few lessons learnt.

What this raises is the issue of conformity, rebellion and the values we place on friendship born from necessity or convenience. Is it the fault of a patriarchal society that turns girls on each other by devaluing the very parts of their personality which makes them 'nice'? Is being nice really such a crime? And why do we continue to lie to ourselves about the traits we see in others, instead of valuing and uplifting them, what we see in others and we lack in ourselves, we seek to destroy?

The males seem to get away with it, they are passive recipients of the sexual favours doled out by drunken girls eager to please, whilst upholding this as a 'traditional' rite of passage. Amb's husband is not seen by her as a real person, more a source of irritation and you wonder why on earth she married him, she clearly finds his existence barely tolerable, but again, it is the expected norm and part of her re-invention as 'nice'. So when she and Aiden attend the school reunion, not only does she have to face up to the person she was, she has to become self aware of the person she still is,as soon as Sully re-appears, Amb falls back into her sidekick role very quickly.

The cumulative effect of seemingly victimless crimes are brought front and center, as Amb's husband Aidan becomes aware at the reunion that the woman he married is not someone he ever really knew. And then , there is the small matter of the handwritten invitation cards that brought both Amb and Sully back to the scene of the crime...but who wrote them and what plans do they have in store for them? Have Amb and Sully changed, have they grownup and will they take accountability for the wrongs that they have wreaked upon their fellow classmates?

This is a brilliant debut novel, deliciously dark and menacing with undertones of grief and redemption which I think will have one hell of a lot of buzz around it, and have readers discussing the events portrayed in it for quite some time. It is a dark academia novel which will have you thinking about how you were as a teen, the pressures on you to conform when the structures around you are removed after leaving home, and how you make yourself accountable for your actions. There is a reason why karma is often framed as being female.
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The Girls Are All So Nice Here is a dangerous, heady and intoxicatingly addictive read that you cannot tear yourself away from. Flynn didn’t hesitate to go there in this psychological, twisted and disturbing exploration of possibly the most toxic friendship you’ve ever heard of.

It’s a dark and addictive mystery about toxic friendship, mixed with a bit of murder. I liked how Flynn didn’t shy away from making her characters truly unlikable, though they often stayed morally gray, allowing for nuance and discussion. Here, there are very very few likeable characters, instead they are mired in their fractured, complicated lives and relationships, often with some dark secrets bubbling beneath. You never completely emphasise with any of them, though you do get to peek into their heads and get some sense of why they do what they do. The final narration was unexpectedly brilliant and I particularly loved the exquisite ending. There’s no easy answers here and there was never really a chance for a truly happy ending. 

It opens with a very good opening hook that drew me in straight away and left me desperately wanting to know more. I liked how the mystery was really teased out, with certain events remaining shrouded in shadow close to the end. You get a sense of this toxic bond between the two central characters and how this affected their every move. It’s like they’re locked in this endless battle masquerading as a friendship and it gives them motivation to do some truly awful things. Our main protagonist, Amb, is no sweetheart. Her actions are often despicable and unforgivable, particularly when her secret is revealed. That makes for some compelling reading though, as you are torn between glimmers of sympathy and deep hatred for her. 

The Girls Are All So Nice Here is a dark exploration of toxic friendship and the lengths to which people to will go to in order to claim what they believe to be theirs. It’s a morally fraught and ambiguous book, even down to that perfectly sinister ending.
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