"To find out what a story's really about,' the Librarian said,

'you don't ask the writer. You ask the reader."

- SNOW & ROSE by Emily Winfield Martin

Friday, January 11, 2013

A "Bee-Keeper" Review: The Girl in the Wall by Daphne Benedis-Grab

by Daphne Benedi-Grab
Release date: December 18th, 2012
Published by: Merit Press
Genre: Young Adult - Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Format read: ARC


Ariel's birthday weekend looks to be the event of the season, with a private concert by rock star Hudson Winters on the grounds of her family's east coast estate, and all of Ariel's elite prep school friends in attendance. The only person who's dreading the party is Sera, Ariel's former best friend, whose father is forcing her to go. Sera has been the school pariah since she betrayed Ariel, and she now avoids Ariel and their former friends. Thrown together, Ariel and Sera can agree on one thing: this could be one very long night.

They have no idea just how right they are.

Only moments after the concert begins and the lights go down, thugs open fire on parents and schoolmates alike, in a plot against Ariel's father that quickly spins out of control. As the entire party is taken hostage, the girls are forced apart. Ariel escapes into the hidden tunnels in the family mansion, where she and Sera played as children. Only Sera, who forges an unlikely alliance with Hudson Winters, knows where her friend could be. As the industrial terrorist plot unravels and the death toll climbs, Ariel and Sera must recall the sisterhood that once sustained them as they try to save themselves and each other on the longest night of their lives.


Daphne Benedis-Grab really knows how to deliver a good dramatic plot full of nail-biting moments! The Girl in the Wall is told in alternating point-of-views between the main characters, Sera and Ariel. The story is fast paced, suspenseful and shocking!

It starts with Sera, who has been disowned by her best friend, Ariel, and everyone at school because she actually did something right. Even though Sera knew what the consequences were going to be, she knew that she couldn't ignore the warning signs anymore and had to do what she did. It's been really hard not having any friends for the last couple of months. But in her heart, she knows that if she had to do it all over again, she would. And that my friends, makes Sera a very strong and courageous character, a true friend.
Ariel was Sera's best friend since they were in grade school. Their families have known each other Not being a part of Sera's life has been difficult, but she knows how stubborn and spiteful Ariel can be, and wonders if Ariel will ever forgive her. Especially since Sera's father is forcing her to go to Ariel's 17th birthday party - the party of the year - hoping that Sera and Ariel will be able to mend their friendship.
So when Ariel's party starts off with a huge bang during Hunter's performance (literally) and the entire senior class is taken hostage and Ariel goes missing - Sera knows where Ariel is. Will Sera and Ariel be able to put their differences aside and trust each other to save everyone in time???

This book was the ultimate page-turner! The writing and plot are really good - I could picture the scenes in my mind perfectly. I would highly recommend it just for that. But, that's all it had. The characters and their chemistry felt flat to me. They weren't engaging enough. Their emotions did not reach me. They seemed mechanical most of the time. Maybe it was the situation that they were in - Sera couldn't exactly have a break down in front of the gunmen who would then find out how much Sera knew Ariel, Ariel's family and the house. And Ariel, who is in hiding, didn't exactly have time nor the place to dwell on her feelings to the situation. But the brief moments that they were allowed to show how they were truly feeling really lacked something. Also, the relationship between Ariel and Hunter didn't click for me. To me, he was just a guy that was there, who helped and that was it. Could have been any other guy. Not a memorable supportive character - and those are usually the characters that I look for and tend to fall in love with. And then the other supportive character that I did like, was around enough... and the ending, well, it hurt me. I would have liked to have had more of a bittersweet ending...
Also, what Sera did to Ariel - through a teens eyes, I can understand the hurt and betrayal that Ariel must have felt. And she had every right to be angry. But to take it to the max and turn the entire school against Sera just seemed wrong, and unrealistic to me. There has to be at least one or two people who would have understood and sympathized with Sera, right?!
And the violence - I understand that this was a hostage situation and that things happen. But for me, personally, there was just too much of it. The methods that were used were just so cold-hearted... I just don't know. As a mom, I just wasn't comfortable with it.

Overall, if you're looking for a suspenseful quick read, this is definitely one for you to jump on.
But I will say this again, I truly believe that this is a book for a more mature teens and up.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Daphne Benedis-Grab

Daphne Benedis-Grab is the author of two books for teens: 
Alive and Well in Prague, NY and The Girl in the Wall. 
She lives and writes in New York City.


  1. I haven't seen a ton of reviews for this and I really appreciate yours! I won this book from the YA for NJ auction and I can't wait to read it because it's so different from what I normally pick up.

    I'm glad you called it a page turner because that's a major fear of mine... read a different kind of book and it's uber slow.

    Looking forward to seeing how my thoughts line up with yours! Nice review!

  2. Very well done review! Hadn't heard of this one, but liked how you broke down what did and didn't work for you. Don't think I'll read this one because of the hostage/terrorist angle, but enjoyed reading your review!

    My Saturday Situation.

  3. I believe this is the first review I've seen of this. It sounds like an interesting premise but probably not for me. I'm SUCH a character person, that I like when books allow me to really connect emotionally with someone...in some way. This one doesn't seem to really do that, unfortunately.

    Lauren from www.shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com


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