“Darkly delicious . . . Nice Girls is about the girlhood we never really leave behind, and what happens when we dare to confront our past demons. A pulsating mystery with a narrator you won't soon forget.” — Laura Dave, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of The Last Thing He Told Me
"If you’re a total true crime addict, Catherine Dang’s debut novel will have you hooked real fast." — Cosmopolitan
Recommended by New York Times Book Review • Entertainment Weekly • Cosmopolitan • Los Angeles Times • Harper's Bazaar • New York Post • E! Online • Bustle • Popsugar • CrimeReads • The Nerd Daily • PureWow • Mystery & Suspense Magazine • Criminal Element • and more!
A pulse-pounding and razor-sharp debut with the emotional punch of Luckiest Girl Alive and All the Missing Girls that explores the hungry, angry, dark side of girlhood and dares to ask: Which is more dangerous for a woman—showing the world what it wants to see, or who she really is?
What did you do?
Mary used to be such a nice girl. She was the resident whiz kid of Liberty Lake, Minnesota—the quiet, chubby teen with the scholarship to an Ivy League school. But three years later, “Ivy League Mary” is back—a thinner, cynical, restless failure who was kicked out of Cornell at the beginning of her senior year and won’t tell anyone why. Taking a job at the local grocery store, Mary tries to make sense of her life’s sharp downward spiral.
Then beautiful, magnetic Olivia Willand goes missing. A rising social media star, Olivia is admired by everyone in Liberty Lake—except Mary. Once Olivia’s best friend, Mary knows better than anyone that behind the Instagram persona hides a willful, manipulative girl with sharp edges. As the town obsesses over perfect, lovely Olivia, Mary wonders if her disappearance might be tied to another missing person: nineteen-year-old DeMaria Jackson, whose case has been widely dismissed as a runaway.
Who is the real Olivia Willand, and where did she go? What happened to DeMaria? As Mary pries at the cracks in the careful facades surrounding the two missing girls, old wounds will bleed fresh and force her to confront a horrible truth.
Maybe there are no nice girls, after all.
“Complex characters, questionable choices, and conflicted feelings about who we are and the people we leave behind combine in a compelling thriller that will have you flipping pages to discover how it all fits together.”— Darby Kane, #1 internationally bestselling author of Pretty Little Wife
“Nice Girls finds itself among the most haunting of mysteries, those that resonate with our current affairs, like Alyssa Cole’s When No One Is Watching and Rumaan Alam’s Leave the World Behind. Perfect for the millennial armchair detective, Nice Girls will satisfy your true crime addiction and intensify your desire for justice.”— Paperback Paris
Mary, the narrator of Dang's fine debut, became known as Ivy League Mary in her hometown of Liberty, Minn., after receiving a scholarship to Cornell. In her senior year, she's asked to leave the university due to an unpleasant incident involving a younger student. Ashamed, and still occasionally simmering with rage at the injustice, she returns to Liberty, where she takes a grocery store job. When her grade school friend Olivia Willand, now a rising social media star, disappears, the police and townsfolk immediately rally to locate their missing celebrity. Meanwhile, Mary discovers that 19-year-old DeMaria Jackson vanished a few months earlier. The police quickly dismissed the Black single mother as a runaway and did no follow-up investigation. Mary's convinced that the two cases are linked and sets out to prove it. The suspense builds as the uncomfortable secrets of the well-drawn and varied characters gradually emerge. Dang provides a full complement of thrills and suspense while addressing status inequities based on looks, race, and wealth. Readers will eagerly await her next.