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She Started It by Sian Gilbert

She Started It


We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Sian Gilbert, on your first book!

by Sian Gilbert

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Quick take

Revenge is a dish best served with champagne! And on this remote tropical island, it’s the only thing on the menu . . .

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_MultipleNarrators

    Multiple viewpoints

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Action


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Unreliable

    Unreliable narrator

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Unlikeable

    Unlikeable narrator


The party of a lifetime is nothing like what they expected . . .

Annabel, Esther, Tanya, and Chloe are best friends—or were, as children. Despite drifting apart in adulthood, shared secrets have kept them bonded for better or worse, even as their childhood dreams haven’t quite turned out as they’d hoped. Then one day they receive a wholly unexpected—but not entirely unwelcome—invitation from another old friend. Poppy Greer has invited them all to her extravagant bachelorette party: a first-class plane ticket to three days of white sand, cocktails, and relaxation on a luxe private island in the Bahamas.

None of them has spoken to Poppy in years. But Poppy’s Instagram pics shows that the girl they used to consider the weakest link in their group has definitely made good—and made money. Curiosity gets the better of them. Besides, who can turn down a posh all-expenses-paid vacation on a Caribbean island?

The first-class flight and the island’s accommodations are just as opulent as expected . . . even if the scenic island proves more remote than they’d anticipated. Quite remote, in fact, with no cell service, and no other guests. The women quickly discover they’ve underestimated Poppy, and each other. As their darkest secrets are revealed, the tropical adventure morphs into a terrifying nightmare.

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Content warning

This book contains scenes depicting self harm.

Free sample

Get an early look from the first pages of She Started It.
She Started It



MAY 22, 2023

There’s only the bride waiting for me, and she’s covered in blood.

Normally at the end of a holiday on this island the whole party is ready with their suitcases, sunburned but cheerful. As I power across to them in my deck boat, they’re often not looking at me but taking final glances around the island: its white sandy beaches, clear water, palm trees.

It’s a perfect day to be on the sea this morning. The sun is warm on my back and the tide is on my side.

But the bride waiting for me has changed everything.

I wouldn’t call myself an easily shaken person. When you run a private island, you prepare for every possibility. Just thirty minutes by speedboat from the mainland, I’m always there if something does go wrong. The guests have the island to themselves, but I’ve not left them stranded. There’s an emergency phone, flares, and a fully stocked first aid kit.

Crises have happened before, of course they have.

Someone thought they’d climb the edge of the cliffside and ended up breaking their leg. Another woman insisted her pregnancy wouldn’t be a bother and went into labour on the first night. I guess I thought I’d seen it all.

I haven’t seen this.

The boat reaches the pier and I’m able to cut the engine and secure it before the bride hurries over.

“What’s happened?” I ask, amazed by how forceful my voice sounds. “Is everyone okay? Do I need to call an ambulance?”

Now that she’s reached me, the bride seems to be in a state of shock. There are deep gashes in her hands, but I’m not sure they’re enough to cause the devastation on her thin white dress. All across the front are huge blood stains, grown dark with time. Scratches cover one side of her face. A slight bruise is forming underneath her left eye.

I reach out a tentative hand and she jerks backwards.

“Sorry!” I look around, trying to find signs of the others.

It’s too quiet here. I think back to only days ago, the happy loud group of women I took to this island, leaving them ready for the hen party of a lifetime. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.

“Where are the others?” I ask.

The bride’s eyes finally focus on me, wide and fearful.

“Your bridesmaids?” I persist. “Where are they?”

“It all went wrong,” she says.

I’m about to speak, but the bride isn’t finished. She draws herself into a hunch, grabbing both arms, wrapping herself in an embrace despite the scorching weather.

Her next words leave me cold.

“She started it.”

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Why I love it

What happens when mean girls grow up? Are they haunted by the victims whose lives they made miserable, or do they happily push the past firmly behind them and go merrily on their way?

Told from the perspective of four (obnoxious in the best possible way) women, She Started It opens on an ominous note—There’s only the bride waiting for me, and she’s covered in blood—and then catapults you into a five-star private island full of secrets so juicy that you’ll die to know what they are.

When four friends are invited to a bachelorette party in the Caribbean, they are pleasantly surprised but a little confused, especially because they haven’t spoken to the bride—a girl they were less than kind to—since they left school ten years ago. But who can say no to an all-expense paid luxury getaway, especially when there are Instagram followers to satisfy and cocktails to be guzzled down on a white-sand beach? That is, until the revenge games begin!

She Started It had me hooked from the very first page and did not let up until the very end. Fast-paced, with enough twists and turns to give you whiplash and characters you just love to hate, Gilbert does an expert job keeping us guessing until the very last page.

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Member ratings (28,268)

  • Amy V.

    Riverton, IL

    Brilliant! A very drastic Mean Girls story. From the beginning you are lured in just like the characters are to the island. I like the way the past was laid out. That twisty end though! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Shelby F.

    Syracuse, NY

    I had a feeling where this was going, but still couldn’t bring myself to put it down and tore through it in one sitting. multiple narrators are a little hard to follow at first, but worth it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Beth A.

    Pedricktown, NJ

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Can be a little hard to follow with the varying perspectives, but once you get the characters situated, it’s GAME ON! I was able to predict the ending, but that didn’t ruin it. SO good!

  • Brandy D.

    Saltsburg, PA

    Imagine you and your besties getting an invitation for an all expenses paid trip from someone you haven’t talked to in 10 years…of course that’s not going to end well. You NEED to read this! 👍🏻👍🏻

  • Kylee J.

    Walnut Grove, MN

    ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Such a great book, with a pretty satisfying ending. Lots of secrets and drama tangled up in the best way possible. Not much of a twist because I had my guesses but still so good!!

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