BLOG TOUR: Going Dark by Melissa de la Cruz (BOOK REVIEW) || #WhereisAmeliaAshley

I’m trying to read more thriller books – either YA or Adult to try to figure out what exactly I want to see in those books. This book definitely helped because it had plot points that I really enjoyed. I usually view influencers from afar and I think the only ones I follow (that would be considered influencers) are in the book community.

Thank you ever so much to TBR and Beyond Tours for selecting me for this blog tour! Here’s the schedule if you want to see who’s posting on other days. I really enjoyed reading this.

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the blog tour company (TBR and Beyond Tours) and the publisher (via Netgalley) in return for a free and honest review and a spot on the blog tour. The summary and book details are taken from Goodreads The Storygraph; from me reading the book, or from others’ reviews. I try my absolute best to find the cover art/designer but unfortunately I am not always able to do so. The page numbers/audio hours are taken from the version that I’m reading from (if an e-arc, the Kindle version then). The featured image and other blog tour information (purchase links, author information etc) are provided by TBR and Beyond Tours. Any opinions expressed are my own. This is a spoiler-free review with slight references towards the spoilers, be they plot or characters.

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Going Dark - Melissa de la CruzTitle: Going Dark
Author: Melissa de la Cruz
Number of Pages: 336
Year Published: 2022
Publisher: Union Square Co. (Imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc)
Cover Art/Designer: Whitney Manger and Marcie Lawrence (Cover Design). Marcie Lawrence (Interior Design). Fatima Baig (Cover Art).
Genre: Young Adult ~ Mystery ~ Thriller
Stars: use thisuse thisuse thisuse this
Links: Goodreads || The Storygraph
Copy: E-arc (Netgalley)
CW/TW: Death, Violence. Missing person. Social Media Stalking (although it’s done to gather information about Amelia – the missing person – rather than general stalking).

“An intense rollercoaster of a thriller and a searing indictment of which victims get our attention and sympathy.”
#1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu

In this ripped-from-the-headlines Gone Girl meets A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz weaves a white-knuckle YA thriller about a beautiful young influencer who vanishes after going on vacation with her boyfriend.


The Influencer
Amelia Ashley shares everything with her followers – her favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurants, her best fashion tips, and her European trip-of-a-lifetime with her hot boyfriend.

The Boyfriend
Josh has no choice but to return home without Amelia after she abandons him in Rome. He has no clue where she went or how her blood got in his suitcase. Why won’t anyone believe him?

The Hacker
To Harper Delgado, Amelia Ashley is just another missing white girl whipping up a media frenzy. But with each digital knot she untangles about the influencer, Harper wonders: who is Amelia Ashley?

The Other Girl
Two years ago, another girl went missing, one who never made headlines or had a trending hashtag.

The Truth
Amelia’s disappearance has captured the world’s attention. What comes next? Watch this space…

Told through a mixture of social media posts, diary entries, and firsthand accounts, Going Dark is a gripping, suspenseful thriller about all the missing girls who fall off the radar, perfect for true crime fans and readers of One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus.

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Going Dark is certainly more than what it appears to be on the surface. At first it speaks of a simple relationship between two people who seem to lead simple lives – and dating each other in what also seems to be a simple act. What you get from their relationship looks easy and happy, or so it seems. And I really enjoyed that – seeing how it changes from looking like an easy relationship to something much more.

I’ll be honest, I was not that interested in Amelia from the beginning. I didn’t like how she was written or how she acted. But then as the story progressed more and more things started to come out about her and she became more likeable. But only a bit because I still found her actions and the path she took not the best one for her, Did I understand why? Yes. Did I like any of it? Not so much. Of course I’m not going to sit here and say “here’s what I’d do differently” because I haven’t lived her life, I haven’t gone through what she’s gone through. Doesn’t mean I have to like it, though.

I think that’s why I rated it 4 and not 5 stars – because I wasn’t a fan of her actions and the reasons behind them. Other than that, I really enjoyed the book. I don’t know if my rating would change if either her actions were different or if I could understand them more.

The characters were interesting to get to know and I liked everything we learnt about them. I am most certainly not interested in influencers – even if they push the narrative that they’re down-to-earth and don’t put on a farce for the camera. For me when you start to gain a large following you’re inevitably going to make the decision to pull back a bit – show less of your life, keep some activities private because they mean a lot to you. You might even take a few classes or courses surrounding anything social media marketing. So all of Amelia’s pushing to show that’s super down-to-earth and doesn’t really care about her following – I didn’t buy it at all, any of her personality. Maybe de la Cruz purposefully wrote her that way, maybe it was just my personal feelings.

Josh was an interesting case as I originally did like him. That also changed as the book carried on. I actually thought I as I liked him less I would like Amelia more – but that didn’t happen, which was interesting to me. I can’t say much without spoiling the book but I liked seeing how he dealt with Amelia going missing and everything that came from that.

We get some flashbacks of another girl who went missing two years ago who never received the attention that Amelia Ashley received. Of course a good reason (for that) is because Amelia is very famous and has other famous connections. I found it interesting the connection the one character (Harper Delgado – whom I really liked and wanted to know more of) made between the two. Both pretty girls, both this and that, but the previous girl had nothing done for her the way Amelia had. It really shows the truth about any missing case, really. That some missing people aren’t deemed as important as others for various reasons – popularity, money, mental state, even race as a reason as to why they are missing – even though the ‘reason’ is lack of evidence.

I definitely want to revisit the book now having read everything so I can see if there are any puzzle pieces to be found before the big reveal. Probably will wait to see if it’ll get an audiobook and reread it that way. I have read a mixed media book as an audiobook before (These Fleeting Shadows by Kate Alice Marshall) so I know that I’ll like another one.

I love mixed media in a book and while I liked what we got I also would have been very happy with even more. Amelia Ashley is an influencer and I felt like there should’ve have been more focus on her posts and her journey as an influencer. Especially as we got more into the story, I would’ve loved to have seen more time dedicated to that.

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Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indigo | IndieBound

About the Author: Melissa de la Cruz is the #1 New York Times, #1 Publisher’s Weekly and #1 IndieBound bestselling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for readers of all ages. Many of her more than fifty books have also topped USA Today, Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times bestseller lists and been published in over twenty countries.

De la Cruz’s novel, The Isle of the Lost, the prequel to the Disney Channel Original Movie Descendants, spent more than fifty weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, fifteen at #1, and has over a million copies in print. Descendants starring Kristen Chenoweth and Dove Cameron was the #1 cable TV movie of 2015, and #5 of all time, and its soundtrack the #1 bestselling album on iTunes. The series’ subsequent books, Return to the Isle of the Lost and Rise of the Isle of the Lost, were also New York Times bestsellers for many weeks.    

De la Cruz is also known for the Blue Bloods series (with three million copies in print), and the Witches of East End series. Her recent book releases include New York Times bestsellers The Queen’s Assassin and the Alex & Eliza series, as well as the graphic novel Gotham High and The Birthday Girl.   Her next release is her upcoming middle grade series launch, Never After, publishing December 2020.

De la Cruz’s Hallmark Christmas movies, Christmas in Angel Falls and Pride Prejudice and Mistletoe (based on her novel), were both the top-rated movies for their Christmas season on the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. 29 Dates, her YA novel about a Korean exchange student, will soon be a feature-length movie on Disney’s streaming service, Disney+.
Melissa is also the founder and principal of Melissa de la Cruz Studio at Disney Publishing, which will create and package books in every genre and age range but with a focus on middle grade and young adult, from a diverse group of new and established writers that will appeal to all the platforms across the Disney company for a global audience. The projects will reflect Melissa’s humor and taste and range from adventure, romance and fantasy to contemporary stories.

Melissa de la Cruz is the co-director of YALLFEST (Charleston, SC) and the co-founder of YALLWEST (Santa Monica, CA), the two largest and most vibrant young adult book festivals in the country, attracting more than 30,000 readers every year.

Melissa de la Cruz grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. At Columbia University, she majored in art history and English. She lives in West Hollywood with her husband and daughter.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads | Facebook | Tumblr

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I could say even more about this but that falls under the spoilery portion and I don’t want to get into that. if you have read this and do want to chat about the plot points that we can’t in a spoiler-free review – definitely find me somewhere (Discord, Instagram, Twitter etc) and let’s chat about it! Have you read other de la Cruz books? Do you follow any influencers and do you agree with me that as their following increases, their authenticity decreases and their image becomes more fabricated in a sense?


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