BEWARE THAT GIRL
by Teresa Toten
« “BEWARE THE GIRL has all the markings of a crossover hit. It’s smart, dark, entertaining, and unpredictable…the stealthy, expertly executed story is more in line with A.S.A. Harrison’s The Silent Wife, and that’s high praise, indeed.” —Quill & Quire, starred review
“The book combines a Gossip Girl milieu with the unsettled psychological terrain of Gone Girl. . . Kate is a strong character and there is no shortage of suspense.”—Publishers Weekly
Beware That Girl
Teresa TotenHardcover, 336 pages
Published May 31st 2016 by Delacorte Press
For fans of We Were Liars, The Girl on the Train, and Gone Girl, this powerful psychological thriller with multiple mysteries is set against the backdrop of the megawealthy elite of New York City. Toten delves into the mesmerizing yet dysfunctional world of those who manipulate but seem ever so charming. With its gripping pace and Hitchcockian twists, Beware That Girl will keep readers guessing until the very last line.
The Haves. The Have-Nots. Kate O’Brian appears to be a Have-Not. Her whole life has been a series of setbacks she’s had to snake her way out of—some more sinister than others. But she’s determined to change that. She’s book smart. She’s street-smart. Oh, and she’s also a masterful liar.
As the scholarship student at the Waverly School in NYC, Kate has her work cut out for her: her plan is to climb the social ladder and land a spot at Yale. She’s already found her “people” among the senior class “it” girls—specifically in the cosseted, mega-wealthy yet deeply damaged Olivia Sumner. As for Olivia, she considers Kate the best friend she’s always needed, the sister she never had.
When the handsome and whip-smart Mark Redkin joins the Waverly administration, he immediately charms his way into the faculty’s and students’ lives—becoming especially close to Olivia, a fact she’s intent on keeping to herself. It becomes increasingly obvious that Redkin poses a threat to Kate, too, in a way she can’t reveal—and can’t afford to ignore. How close can Kate and Olivia get to Mark without having to share their dark pasts?
My earliest and most fervent ambition was to grow up and take my rightful place among the other mermaids. When cruel and insensitive adults crushed that dream by insisting that mermaids did not exist, I settled on the more mature aspiration of becoming an intergalactic astronaut. Then I realized that math would likely be involved. So, in the end, I went to Trinity College at the University of Toronto where I got a BA and then an MA in Political Economy taking great care not to take a single English or Creative Writing class. The only thing I knew for sure was that I was never ever going to be a writer. That would be silly, fanciful and well, unrealistic. And then I started to write...
“What gave you the Inspiration for this book?” 400-500 words with pictures.
Beware That Girl is a huge change for me. It’s a very dark, twisty psychological thriller. It’s my 11th book over twenty years and actually . . . looking over the titles, each is rather wildly different from the book that came before. I must be addicted to risk and terrifying myself! I have always LOVED psychological thrillers and while I was writing my last book The Unlikely Hero of Room 13b, I read a book that crawled into me and stayed. It was A.H.A. Harrison’s The Silent Wife. I found it quiet, chilling, elegant and disturbing and when I finished it, I told myself “That! I want to try to write something like that!”
And I was off! Reviewers and critics have pointed out that I always write about friendship and this is true even in this book. The fabulous and wealthy Olivia and the street smart and manipulative Kate become best friends, but who should we be beware of? You should also know that I have always stolen from my own life, my family and my dearest friends inspire almost everything I write—even in this twisted thriller. Growing up, I was the “scholarship student,” fatherless and hyper alert to my surroundings. More importantly my half brother, finally made it into one of my books. He was eighteen years older than me.
My brother was very handsome, charismatic, intelligent, abusive, violent and completely amoral. I believe he was a sociopath. Although he was rarely in my life because of the age difference, each time he was it was ugly. He hated me and yet I so wanted his approval, to bask in his sunshine that he could turn on and off at will. Most of his visits involved the police. He abused women from one end of the country to the other and yet many of those women would call begging my mother to tell them where he was. I have long forgiven him but I confess that I felt relief when he died. The Mark character in the novel is directly inspired by my brother.
Finally, the book is inspired by New York City, which is almost its own character in the book.
I love the glittering, glistening almost surreal nature of the Upper East Side and Central Park (where Olivia lives) contrasted with the energy, colour and chaos of Chinatown (where Kate lived). I lived in New York for a few years and obsessively walked its streets from one end to another. The city means a lot to me, ever changing, beautiful and terrifying. I hope that I captured it in some way on the page. I also hope that I captured some of the unsettling fear and chaotic energy that I grew up with and was able to transform it into something that a reader cannot put down!