Fall is my favorite time of the year to read suspenseful thrillers and spooky mysteries. Something about the cooler weather and shorter days amplifies the creepy atmosphere in these books and makes them so much more enjoyable. I’ve seen You’re Invited all over Bookstagram and Goodreads, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read and review this perfect autumn read.
Amaya and Kaavi were best friends for years, until one fateful night five years ago when everything changed. Amaya has had no contact with her former best friend since then. Now, Amaya makes the shocking discovery that her ex-boyfriend, Spencer, is engaged to Kaavi, and the pair are set to tie the knot in a lavish Sri Lankan ceremony in a few short months. She is sickened by the news and knows she must do whatever it takes to stop the wedding.
Amaya flies halfway across the world with her plan in place: stop the wedding no matter the cost. But when she arrives in Sri Lanka, nothing is as it seems. It is impossible to get her former best alone, Kaavi’s family is stand-offish and unapproachable, and none of Amaya’s plans are working out the way she intended.
The night before the wedding Kaavi vanishes. All signs point to foul play, but who is at fault? What has been happening behind closed doors? Nothing is what it seems in picturesque Sri Lanka, and no one is who you think they are…
What is your favorite fall read? Share in the comments, and make sure to leave an emoji letting us know what you thought of this group review! Also, tell us if you’ve read You’re Invited by Amanda Jayatissa!
You’re Invited by Amanda Jayatissa
Genre: Fiction/ Thriller
When Amaya discovers her former best friend Kaavi and ex-boyfriend Spencer are tying the knot in a lavish Sri-Lankan ceremony, she knows she must do whatever it takes to stop the wedding. But when Kaavi goes missing the night before the wedding, all signs point to foul play, and all fingers point to Amaya. Nothing is what it seems in picturesque Sri Lanka, and no one is who you think they are…
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You’re Invited is a dark, psychological thriller chock full of crazy characters. This is a book that makes you say, “What the heck?” multiple times while reading. There is a large cast of characters, and it’s hard to pinpoint a single redeemable person. The main character, Amaya, struggles with serious psychological issues. She self harms multiple times throughout the book, and often has dark, disturbing thoughts about the people around her.
Her inner dialogue is alarming and sometimes shocking. I had a hard time connecting with the story because of Amaya’s character, but I became more invested when she traveled to Sri Lanka.
The book alternates between the present, after Kaavi goes missing, and the past events leading up to the wedding. The present day chapters are presented as interview transcripts which was a really unique way to get to know all the different characters. I really enjoyed these chapters! The past timeline is told exclusively through Amaya’s point of view until the end. We get to see things from Kaavi’s perspective for the last few chapters, and that was when pieces started falling into place. I thought her chapters were a relatable narrative on how curated social media can be. Her perfect image was exactly that: an image. I loved getting to see things from her perspective.
There were a few plot points that I still had questions about at the end, but overall this was a solid thriller with many morally gray characters. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a twisty thriller that takes place in the glitz and glamor of high society Sri Lanka.
Thank you Berkley Publishing for sending us the free copies!
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I struggled with this book. Despite an interesting opening, the beginning of it was quite slow and I had to force myself to read for the first hundred pages or so. It did pick up about halfway in, but I’m sure the slowness of the beginning affected my overall enjoyment of this novel. There were, however, a handful of things that I really liked. Amaya, one of the main characters and forefront narrator, was an unreliable one, which I love. Not knowing what’s true created the kind of tension that drew me in and kept me engaged in the book. The author also used a lot of red herrings that I had a fun time sorting through. Part of the story is told using interviews, which was a clever storytelling device. In fact, the author was incredibly smart in the way she unfolded the story, so I’m not sure why this novel wasn’t more than a three-star read for me.
One of the main themes of the novel is perfection, or rather the meticulously crafted facade of those we consider to be perfect. The glamorous world of influencers is so curated that we as consumers sometimes need that reminder, which we get a heavy dose of with this book. I wish more of the story had been told from Kaavi’s POV, because the “behind the scenes” of Kaavi and her “perfect” family, and how they had to pull so many strings to keep up appearances, was fascinating. So too was learning about Sri Lankan culture, the significance of their individual wardrobe pieces and accessories, and their wedding ceremonies.
If you are looking for a mystery book full of drama, You’re Invited is the one for you. You’re Invited left me thinking, “Wait, what?”. The very first sentence had me hooked immediately. I really liked how this story was told, switching back and forth between past and present. You’re Invited had several interviews that helped me to see the big picture and put things together. I loved how throughout this book I had no idea what was really going on. There are so many twists and turns, possibly even a few too many. I kept trying to figure out “who did it,” and honestly the ending completely surprised me. Another thing I really enjoyed was learning about Sri Lankan culture and their wedding traditions.
While reading this book, there was not a single character who I thought, “Wow I love this person.” Amaya (probably the least terrible), Kaavi, Spencer, Tehani, and everyone else in Kaavi’s family were just awful. They were written well, just not likable (which I am sure was the point). I felt some of the story lines in this book were unnecessary. While I do love drama and a crazy ending, I felt that You’re Invited had a little too much going on at the end. I also was not a fan of some of the characters’ habits, and how they were not addressed. However, after reading this book I have added Amanda Jayatissa’s book, My Sweet Girl, to my TBR!
You’re Invited starts off with a missing bride-to-be named Kaavi with suspicion aimed at her former best friend, Amaya. Amaya’s character is an entertaining hot mess who intends to stop the wedding because the groom is her ex-boyfriend! When a book opens with an unsettling premise, my interest is immediately captured. I was anticipating a twisty thriller set in the coastal town of Colombo, Sri Lanka, but it felt more like a family drama entangled with a mystery vibe and a side of thrill.
The storyline had many personalities and differing points of view that caused me to change my thoughts as to who was responsible for Kaavi’s disappearance. I enjoyed reading about Kaavi’s family and their lavish lifestyle, but I was uncomfortable with how the lower class was viewed and wondered if this is the societal norm in their culture. Bringing in the social media element was an interesting glimpse into Kaavi’s public image that varied from her protected self-image. She had secrets, as did her affluent family, but not all was as it seemed with their expectations of her and her prospects of marriage. As the mystery unfolded, there were some shocking revelations.
My rating for this book is three and a half stars. This novel has a lot of positives with a great storyline, complex characters and a unique setting, but there were just too many sub-stories for my preference. I didn’t find it to be as thrilling as I had expected, but I enjoyed the unraveling of the mystery and the ultimate ending. I’ve been reading thrillers for decades, and now so many books are thrown in the thriller genre that maybe my expectations are too high.
I first saw this book included with Book of the Month’s choices. The synopsis made me very curious. The pacing of this book was a bit slow for my liking. But what kept me going was the style of storytelling. Most chapters were Amaya’s POV months and days before the wedding. Amaya was a very questionable character from the beginning. She was obsessive and had so many secrets, but it felt too easy to just point the crime toward her.
The author did a great job narrating the events through interviews with helpers, guests, employees, and family members. This gave more room for assumptions, especially how each interview hinted that more than one person was plotting against Kaavi. We also got Kaavi’s POV toward the end, and that definitely charged the ending of the book. I really wished she had more chapters.
This book was more a mystery than a thriller, and incorporated family and cultural drama. There were so many sub-stories going on that I didn’t connect with any of the characters. However, I enjoyed reading about Kaavi and her family’s lavish lifestyle, the glitz, and glam of the upper society of Sri Lanka, and the gossip-worthy family dramas.
I rated this book 3.5 stars. The plot and setting were very interesting. It was just a slow burn and nothing mind-blowing stirred me as a thriller reader. I gave a half star for Kaavi’s chapters. The deception and manipulation happening toward the end made the book thrilling enough.
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My Sweet Girl by Amanda Jayatissa
The moment Paloma was adopted from Sri Lanka, had everything she could ever want. But when she’s cut off from her parent’s money as an adult, she’s forced to look for a roommate. When Arun discovers Paloma’s deepest, darkest secret, she considers paying him off. That is until he’s found in a pool of his own blood. When the police arrive, all traces of Arun–including the body–have vanished. That doesn’t mean, though, that Paloma’s secret is safe.
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