Corinna ‘Corey’ Nguyen’s life seems perfectly average for a closeted bisexual whiz kid with her eyes on college and a budding romance with her friend Kate. Sixteen and navigating senior year with her tight-knit group of best friends through crushes, break-ups, and pregnancy scares, Corey mistakenly believes that running for valedictorian and choosing the right college are the worst of her worries. That is, until prom night, when she’s left alone and in shock, hiding inside a diner restroom, the only witness to a multiple homicide.
With graduation looming, the pressure is on for Corey to identify the killer and ensure that the crime that has changed her life forever will not go unpunished.
I was sent a copy of ‘Out of Order’ by the lovely author, Casey Lawrence, in exchange for an honest review. The description sounded interesting, and I have never read a book in the LGBT genre before so I decided to give it a go. It is also only 180 pages long so I was hoping for a quick, snappy read…and that is exactly what I got!
Corey has three best friends, Kate, Ricky and Jessa. They are all very different but have been inseparable ever since a childhood birthday party where they vowed to be BFFs. The story centres on prom night, when the girls’ lives are torn apart by a senseless, and seemingly random shooting. Heading to a late night diner after prom, the girls are celebrating the end of high school and looking forward to a summer of fun before heading off to college. However, when Corey goes to the loo, everything changes in an instant.
While Corey is the bathroom, she hears gunshots coming from the restaurant. Terrified for her friends and herself she dares to glance around a gap in the door. A man has shot her friends, and the waiter, dead. She must quickly hide herself before he finds her too. She is lucky, and he leaves just as suddenly as he appeared, but not before she catches a glimpse of his profile.
Corey’s narrative of prom night is interspersed with memories of the times she spent with her friends during high school. She focuses on the important events that bound them together as best friends, in particular, her relationship with Kate. A chance kiss when they were both high gradually developed into something more, after Kate had time to work through her feelings. They had just been getting into their relationship and were looking forward to seeing where it would go, having not yet revealed it to Jessa and Ricky. They thought they would have all the time in the world to take it slow and get used to the idea, but now Corey will never be able to spend time with Kate again.
In the aftermath of the attack, Corey must try to dredge her memories to find the identity of the killer. He feels familiar to her, but she can’t place where from. Will she be able to remember in time to get justice for her friends?
I really enjoyed ‘Out of Order’, it was a quick, gripping read which I finished in one sitting. I enjoyed the way it was written, with the flashbacks to the times the friends spent together so you could get a better idea of the relationships and dynamics in the group. The LGBT aspect of the book was done very well – capturing the confusion, and muddle of emotions the Corey and Kate are feeling towards one another, and how they learn to overcome this, and focus on what is most important – the fact that they love each other.
I would definitely recommend ‘Out of Order’ if you are looking for a short read to keep you entertained one afternoon this summer. I found it hard to put down and didn’t realise I had read so much – which is always a sign of a good book! The sequel ‘Order in the Court’ is due to be released at the beginning of August, and I will definitely be adding it to my TBR list to see what happens next in Corey’s life.