Compared to Michelle Jaffe’s current run of ‘rich white girl with problems’ psychological thrillers (which I have enjoyed), I liked this book a lot more. While the mystery element isn’t as deep or complex as say, Rosebush, this is just straight-out plucky girl detective fluff. And it’s exactly the kind of cotton candy brain fluff that I love to read—interesting characters, a decent plot hook and just plain old fun.Jas is fantastic. She does read a little younger than seventeen at times, but overall she works as a very strong character. I love that while her interest in mysteries and forensics could be tied back to her mother’s mysterious death, it’s gleefully lampshaded in making Jas a perky seventeen-year old girl who just happens to use her eyeshadow for lifting fingerprints from time to time. There’s also the detail that Jas knows exactly wants she wants to do when she grows up and that she’s trying to get experience in the forensics field. (Maybe it’s because the vast majority of YA heroines strictly align themselves with the arts. Now I kinda want to read/write a YA wherein the heroine wants to be an accountant. /tangent.) I love that she has an actual relationship with her parents, not too perfect and not too dysfunctional. Her dad doesn’t like her being interested in murder, but it feels genuine given the circumstances of his first wife’s death. Sherri! could have been very easily written off as a vapid trophy wife, but Jas rarely talks down to her stepmother and I love that they have a close relationship. Jas’s friends border on the outrageous, but this feels like the type of book that her friends’ craziness works. Token Guy Tom is very much the straight man deadpan snarker, but I like that he does contribute to the group. Polly feels like the best friend fashionista, cranked up to eleven. When a character drives a van emblazoned with the name “The Pink Pearl,” it actually crosses the line from ludicrous to being kind of awesome. And then there’s Roxy, with her MacGuyver skills using nothing but noodle implements. Again, it crosses the line into being kinda awesome. But aside from the quirks, I do like the friendship that comes out in the group. The trio worries about Jas, and tries to console her in the dark moments, but aren’t afraid to step up and get into the line of danger. Also, their conversations are hysterical. While the footnoted asides get a little too random and out-of-place, they are very funny and do manage to lighten the situation. I also like the edgy friendship between Jas and her cousin Alyson and Alyson’s crony Veronique. Like the other characters, Alyson and Veronique are exaggerations of the bitchy popular girls, but I like that they have their moments of intelligence and contributing to the plot. You get the idea that Aly and Jas aren’t close, but they will put up with and look out for each other.The central mystery is one of the weaker parts of the book. The build-up is solid, I actually like a lot of the characters involved, and there’s a lot of potential for good twists and turns. What doesn’t seem to work is the reveal. It’s set-up in the text, but the way the dots are connected are very weak and I had to flip back to make sure that I didn’t miss anything. However, I did like that there’s a very real sense of danger and that Jas and her gang do land in potentially fatal situations. Adding to that, Jas’s fling with Jack is actually handled very well, and I like the question of what side Jack is really aligned. I have massive issues with the slang used in here. I know Alyson and Veronique are supposed to be exaggerated prissy rich popular girls, but the slang that they use just plain does not exist. Anywhere. I will eat a quart of coleslaw if someone can point me to the use of the phrase “That’s so Mastercard!” unironically. (And considering that I despise coleslaw with the passion of a thousand suns, that is saying something.) I also really didn’t care for the dancing around of the deeper mystery of Jas’s mother’s death—I know there’s a sequel out, but the few times it popped up, it very obviously felt like a set-up to a larger series, and this could work as a decent stand-alone.But as I said in the beginning, this is a good example of cotton candy brain fluff that’s not so insulting to the reader’s intelligence, but doesn’t take itself so seriously. If you haven’t read Michelle Jaffe before, I’d recommend starting with this book over her newer ones.