Handpicked by Dani Oden
The Pledged Series #1
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Suspense
College freshman Jill Holloway takes one look at the stuck-up girls going through sorority rush and nearly returns her borrowed dress and heels. Against her best judgment, she ends up falling for the prestige and parties, and snagging a bid from a top house. After moving in, she quickly grows skeptical of her too-perfect sorority sisters. She tries to ask questions, though no one will take time from their busy social calendar to give her any real answers.
Jill wastes no time digging for everything she’s not supposed to find, and soon comes face-to-face with a big and bloody secret hidden in her sorority’s basement. She knows she’s in over her head, but taking off so soon would raise the perfectly-plucked eyebrows of her suspicious new sisters. She’s stuck until she can make a smooth exit.
But the closer she gets to leaving, the more it becomes clear that it won’t be as simple as she hoped. A tempting fraternity guy, a best friend who needs her, and new details about what has really been happening in the basement have her questioning what her next move should be, and whether or not it’ll be worth the risks.
HANDPICKED is a New Adult coming of age, with elements of suspense and romance.
Book Review ~ ‘Handpicked’ by Dani Oden ~ 5 Stars!
‘Handpicked’ was just what I needed on my reading list. I’d just started a new job and in the short time between shifts I found myself struggling to connect with a story and characters in the short spans of my reading time, but when I started ‘Handpicked’ straight away I knew this would be different.
I adored this story, with its brilliant, fun and suspenseful writing style which was balanced perfectly throughout the novel, as well as the really unique interpretation of a sorority house at college. Being from the UK, we don’t have anything similar in terms of sorority’s and pledging, so being given an insight into this world was really exciting and great fun to read.
Jill was a brilliant heroine for our story as she was just a young girl trying to fit in, which made her so relatable to me, and therefore making me root for her throughout the book. I loved the relationship she had with her best friend, and how she was pledging because she wanted to stay with her. The introduction of Hannah, another girl pledging in the same house, was brilliantly done, and the three had a great banter going about, making them the perfect trio for this book. I really felt for all of them, and the pains they were going through, so it was great to see how the events of the story affected all three of them equally.
The suspense in this story was paced perfectly, and I adored all the little nudges and worries that rubbed off on me from Jill’s uncertainty, which made reading the mystery scenes all that more real and nerve-wracking. The mystery storyline flowed beautifully throughout the book, and didn’t detract from any of the other elements of the story and vice versa. Dani Oden has done a fantastic job at making this story flow realistically, and allowing the mystery elements of the story to unwind at a slow and suspenseful pace.
The introduction of the boys at the fraternity house gave this book a wonderful romantic element that warmed my heart. I loved Tad and his quiet but understanding nature, as well as how much of a gentleman he was to Jill throughout the beginning of their relationship. If the next books in the series are to focus on Jill again, I’d love to see more of their relationship as it was beautiful to read.
Overall this was fun and suspenseful, a perfect read when you just want a few hours to yourself. I laughed, cringed and cried along with the characters, and can’t wait to see more from Dani Oden soon.
*Review copy was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
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