**This book was sent to in exchange for an honest review by Random Things Tours and Pan Macmillan Books. Thank you for the opportunity to read this book.**
“Fifteen years ago, three sixteen-year-old girls meet at Wescott, an exclusive private school in India.
Two, Sabah and Noor, are the most popular girls in their year. One, Alia, is a new arrival from England, who feels her happiness depends on their acceptance.
Before she knows it, Sabah and Noor’s intoxicating world of privilege and intimacy opens up to Alia and, for the first time, after years of neglect from her parents, she feels she is exactly where, and with whom, she belongs.
But with intimacy comes jealousy, and with privilege, resentment, and Alia finds that it only takes one night for her bright new world to shatter around her.
Now Alia, a cabinet minister in the Indian government, is about to find her secrets have no intention of staying
buried . . .”
Can you see me now? Is a twisty, dark novel that keeps you guessing until the very end. Just as you think you know what’s happened, you’re taken on an explosive trip down memory lane with Alia and Sabah. The only way to find out the truth is to walk a mile (or hundreds) in their shoes.
The two points of view in this book had me running in circles, doing cartwheels and backflips to get to the bottom of this juicy ‘whodunit’. Alia is the girl that’s moved back to India due to her parent’s lack of wanting her. She’s been forced to live with her loving grandparents who do whatever they can to help her and keep her safe. But it’s not enough, Alia’s dream of being “one of the girls” and to be well-known was too big for that small space shared with her grandparents.
As you delve deeper into the best friends, Noor, Sabah, and Alia’s backstories you’re led down paths of bitter teenage rivalries, jealousies, and above all, loyalty. Alia and Sabah are always competing to be Noor’s best friend. They couldn’t both fill that post and ultimately, Noor spent the majority of the book flip-flopping between the two of them.
This depiction of teenage friendships turning sour is quite frankly, tragic and a bit annoying. Tragic because they didn’t need to compete with each other, they choose to tear each other down. Alia was bordering on obsessive with Noor, and instead of wanting to be her, she just wanted to be platonically loved by her. She came into the friendship group knowing that to be liked and known by all, she had to become quick friends with Noor and Sabah. It was annoying because it could come off as trivial and it took until about 150 pages in before I started to understand why it was necessary to explain it in such depth. The bullying that Noor experienced was horrific and disturbing. If you’re triggered by bullying then I don’t recommend reading this book. It really brought out the ugliest sides of teen friendships and I can only be glad I can’t relate to what happened to these girls.
I’d argue that Noor and Sabah’s relationship was one of the most toxic in this book. They had an “on again off again” friendship and some of the things they did to each other were so vile that it would make you shudder. If I’m honest, there were few likable characters in this book – if any – and none of the protagonists fall into that category. They all had deep-rooted, ugly flaws that were difficult to ignore. But did I hate them? No, and in fact, they each brought different elements to this story that made it more enjoyable. I think it’s better if you can like, and possibly even relate to the characters you’re reading about, but I don’t think it’s essential for this book to work and flow properly.
In saying all of this, I must say I did enjoy the book and I’m happy to rate it 3.5/5 stars. It didn’t blow my mind as some others I’ve read recently have so I couldn’t rate it any higher than that. The plot twist at the end really made me like this book more. It was a very strong way to finish the last few chapters of the book. Whilst it was well-written and intriguing, it also fell short on character development at times and some parts were a bit lacklustre in my opinion. However, I would still recommend it to fans of Psych Thrillers as it is enjoyable and that plot twist at the end!