Author: Lamar Giles
Source: Review copy from publishers via Edelweiss
At school, Lauren keeps her head down, carefully camouflaged so nobody will look at her twice, laugh at her, or call her Panda the way they used to do. It's survival, in the nasty world of high school, but it's also to keep her other identity secret. Because Lauren is Gray, the ninja photographer who always seems to catch people at their worst, and publishes that worst to the world. She's not a bad person. She only targets terrible people - the bullies, the douches, the assholes of Portside High School. She's evening the playing field by showing them what it's like to be on the receiving end for once.
But then her latest expose blows up bigger than she ever expected, and brings her the attention of a self-proclaimed secret admirer. He challenges her to an ever-escalating contest of photographic daring, and for a little while she's caught up in the rush of competition. Then things turn dark, very dark, and Lauren starts to fear not only for her life, but those of the people she cares about most.
What I loved most about this book was how tremendously flawed Lauren was, and how long it took her to realize that she was really no better than the people she targeted. Even when her secret life blows up in her face, she still thinks of herself as a Robin Hood figure, and the rage of her peers is just bullying that somehow proves she's better than them. It will take tragedy, and coming face-to-face with her twisted secret admirer, for her to admit that she's no better than the people she first targeted. Simply being the victim of bullying herself, due to her biracial background, does not give her a pass to be horrible to others.
Want a tense, dark thriller? Want a flawed character, drawn into a dangerous game? Here, take this book. You won't want to put it down.