When twin sisters Rose and Bel Enright found themselves orphaned and being shipped off to live with their grandmother, the distance that had always been between them grew. Raised by an artistic single mother in Californa, Bel grew up with the wild spirit within her being nurtured while Rose's quiet nature made her feel a little left out at times. As the teenagers struggled with their mother's cancer, Rose stepped up to be a caregiver, letting her natural maturity take over. Now their mother is gone and their grandmother wants to send them to a boarding school to finish high school.
Odell Academy is everything that Rose has ever dreamed of. Small classes with lots of intimate discussions. Strong academics as well as lots of extracurricular options. She feels like she's found her people at last. But for Bel, it's a different story.
Bel, with her wilder nature, struggles to find a place at Odell. She quickly makes friends with some senior girls, almost unheard of for a sophomore like herself, But being friends with the popular senior girls comes with a price. For Bel, that price is her sister. Her new besties put her in the position to betray Rose, more than once, and Bel has to chose between her new friends that make her feel accepted in a strange land, or the sister who has always made Bel feel a little uncomfortable in her own skin.
Meanwhile, Sarah and Heath Donovan are the newest dorm coheads, for Moreland Hall, which is known for housing some troubled female students. Sarah, a math teacher, and Heath, an English teacher, met while they were students at Odell, and after some shaky early years in their marriage, they are back on track to build a successful run at Odell. If they can just keep the students of Moreland Hall in check. But of course, Rose and Bel are both in Moreland, along with Bel's senior friends. And Bel's friends think that Heath is way too handsome to be with mousy Sarah and set up a contest to try to seduce him.
The secrets that each character carries with them, the lies they tell, the choices they make all come together to end one young woman's life. But piecing together exactly how it happened will take patience, as the clues drop slowly throughout Michele Campbell's She Was the Quiet One.
With compelling writing and interesting characters, Michele Campbell has crafted a story that could happen at any school, in any neighborhood, anywhere. The tension between the characters is so universal and so real that you just may have that dream of showing up to high school naked while reading this book. The family relationships, the marriage, the teenagers' ideas of themselves and their futures are so genuine that it gets difficult to remember that She Was the Quiet One is a novel. This book is a definite read, and Michele Campbell is without question one to watch!
Galleys for She Was the Quiet One were provided by St. Martin's Press through NetGalley, with many thanks.