Buddy Review| People Like Us – Dana Mele

We are both fans of Riverdale and were looking for a book that could compare. People Like Us sounded like the perfect fit. TBR & Beyond, a group we both belong to, was having a group read. That made it seem like the perfect moment to read this book! Today we are here to tell you what we thought of People Like Us.


Kay Donovan may have skeletons in her closet, but the past is past, and she’s reinvented herself entirely. Now she’s a star soccer player whose group of gorgeous friends run their private school with effortless popularity and acerbic wit. But when a girl’s body is found in the lake, Kay’s carefully constructed life begins to topple.

The dead girl has left Kay a computer-coded scavenger hunt, which, as it unravels, begins to implicate suspect after suspect, until Kay herself is in the crosshairs of a murder investigation. But if Kay’s finally backed into a corner, she’ll do what it takes to survive. Because at Bates Academy, the truth is something you make…not something that happened.


Isabelle I wasn’t really a fan of the cover at first, it seemed so simple and didn’t do anything for me. However, the longer I looked, the more I started to like it. It’s still not my favorite but I don’t hate it either. I do really like like the text on it, after reading ‘People know us, People fear us, People like us’ I read the title differently than before. It’s pretty funny how this title can basically mean two things depending on how you think about ‘like’. Are the people like them or do people like them? So interesting to think about!

Candyce  This cover is very interesting. I wasn’t sure what to think of the book after seeing this, but it is appealing. Especially the line “People Fear Us”.


Isabelle This was such an entertaining and addictive read! I would say this one compares more to Pretty Little Liars than to Riverdale. While I absolutely love Riverdale, I also really enjoyed PLL. People Like Us is, like PLL, all about secrets, blackmail, and us trying to figure out who is behind it all. And possibly, for some people like me, a bit of a disappointing reveal at the end.

The story starts with Kay and her friends finding a dead body in the lake and pretty soon I got the idea these were not likeable characters at all. All of them are liars with secrets, and those secrets are really serious as well! I really enjoyed the blackmail part of the story and couldn’t wait to find out what everyone was hiding. However I did find it a bit strange that Kay asked Nola to help her with all of it, that seemed more out of convenience for the writer than that it made sense in the story in my opinion.

Throughout the story you slowly start to learn more about Kay’s past and her own secret. This was so fun and kept me guessing as well. Like I said, People Like Us is such an addictive read and I just wanted to keep on reading to find out all the secrets and the killer. The reveal at the ending was a bit disappointing fo me personally. There was a lot of telling and didn’t have that shock factor I like in my mysteries. This was mostly due to the way it was written and not necessarily due to the who and why.

Candyce People Like Us sucked me in right away and I didn’t want to put it down. Riverdale is already pretty crazy when it comes to events, but this one takes that to another level. Even Mean Girls doesn’t compare to how mean the girls in this school are. On Halloween night a dead body is found and Kay and her friends are the ones to find the body. This starts a major investigation to figure out who killed this girl. Dana Mele writes this story in a way that everytime I started to think I knew who the murderer was, something would happen that would change my mind. Near the end, I was able to figure it out, but it didn’t ruin the book for me. Bates Academy is definitely a school I wouldn’t want to go to. The girls are all pretty mean to each other and use weaknesses against each other. I have read a quite a few YA mysteries and thrillers, but this one is definitely a better one. I loved that besides the whole mystery, Kay really discovered more about herself and what she was doing. Her family history definitely became a part of the story as well. People Like Us is the first book I have read that had no characters that I liked. They were all mean or cruel in their own way.


Isabelle As I said before, these were not likeable characters, and those are the kind I like best in my mysteries! This was a pretty diverse read and I loved that we had queer (main) characters without that being the main plot. They simply were queer and I would love to see more stories were that is the case. The friendships in this book were awful and not healthy at all.

Kay was interesting to read about, she was struggling with a lot. Her coping mechanisms weren’t healthy at all and her support system sucked. The relationship with her parents was pretty strained and her friends seemed to be her friends simply because they’re all popular. Brie, her best friend, seemed to like her best but even she didn’t like her all the time. They’re relationship was quite unhealthy (is this my new favorite word? I’ve used it so much in this review haha) and they kept hurting each other. At the same time I was really rooting for them and hoping they would work out their issue. All though I must say, I was also hoping Brie would be the killer haha. I think she was my favorite suspect. She seemed so nice, especially compared to the other girls in this novel.

Nola was such a weird character and at first I didn’t really understand why she was part of the story. She was quite different from the other girls and I did really appreciate that about her. The storyline with her sister was pretty interesting and I was proud of myself for figuring out what was going on there pretty early on haha.

Maddy might be my favorite character in the whole story, she was pretty adorable to me. And even though her secret wasn’t so great either I just couldn’t be mad about it. She was such a cutie and she tried so hard.

Candyce Kay isn’t the most typical student you will find at Bates Academy. She’s not as rich as other students and was sent there aftera tragedy took place in her family. It’s clear she’s still dealing with the aftermath of that and her own involvement. Kay doesn’t feel like she fits in, but she is a in a group of friends that make a difference. Even though there is teenage drama when it comes to her love life. Figuring out what she really wants is something Kay is having a hard time with. Being a suspect in the investigation and having a scavenger hunt to work on, life is stressful. The only thing that I like in the end is that Kay realizes how mean she really was. Kay turned in to a person she didn’t recognize anymore. Her family life didn’t help either.

Brie is Kay’s best friend, even though that doesn’t always seem to be the case. She is busy with her new relationship and it’s clear the will they, won’t they with Kay has an effect on their friendship. Brie definitely tries to help Kay out in the beginning, but this changes fast once Nola comes in to the picture. Brie seems jealous and suspicious.

Nola was a mystery to me. In the beginning it’s clear that she’s the underdog. Nola is different than others and doesn’t seem to care, but other students are definitely mean to her. It’s clear she notices that with the demands she has when Kay asks for her help. At first she seems like a good friend, but as the book goes on, it’s clear more is going on. Nola is quirky and there is definitely more going on. Who knows, maybe she’s just not good at making friends?

Those are the characters that stuck out to me the most. The group of friends Kay is a part of is clearly only friends to gain popularity. This group is definitely the new definition of mean girls.


Our ratings are a little different for this one.




Even though we both figured out who was behind everything, it was still a really good book! I hope this author writes more books like this. Have you read People Like Us? What did you think?

4 thoughts on “Buddy Review| People Like Us – Dana Mele

  1. So glad you both liked it. I’m so happy seeing more people reading this now (yay TBR and Beyond).

    1. That is the great thing about groups like TBR and Beyond!

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