The Kids Aren’t Alright in “River of Ashes”

At first glance, St. Benedict is a small, quaint Southern town that oozes the type of charm lovers of Sweet Magnolias and Dawson’s Creek thrive on. Scratch at the veneer of this perfectly crafted façade and you’ll reveal a nitty, gritty darkness that clings to you like a second skin. River of Ashes (Vesuvian Books), the first book in the St. Benedict series by Alexandrea Weis and Lucas Astor, is a fabulous start to an addictive series reminiscent of Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard, You by Caroline Kepnes, and Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn.

Leslie and Dawn are twins, but they’re nothing alike. Leslie is pragmatic and has a no-nonsense attitude that the reader will find both endearing and relatable. Dawn, on the other hand, is the “it girl” — the girl every other girl wants to be even if her so-called perfection is mostly a show. Leslie and Dawn’s relationship is one of many conflicts you’ll come across in River of Ashes, but that’s all thanks to Beau Devereaux …