by April Henry
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Release Date: May 3rd 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller, Contemporary, Suspense
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
When Olivia's mother was killed, everyone suspected her father of murder. But his whereabouts remained a mystery. Fast forward fourteen years. New evidence now proves Olivia's father was actually murdered on the same fateful day her mother died. That means there's a killer still at large. It's up to Olivia to uncover who that may be. But can she do that before the killer tracks her down first?
This was one of those books that started off so fast and so attention-getting that it reminded me so much of the Mystery/Thrillers I grew up reading (and loving) as a Middle Grader in the 90's. Right away we learn that Olivia/Ariel's father's bones were found, meaning he didn't kill her mother, meaning there's a totally different killer out there. We also learn that Olivia was THERE when her parents were killed, but because she was so young she can't remember much at all. She decides to go back to Medford to see if she can shake any of those memories loose. While there she meets Duncan and Nora--- the 2 heroes of this book, in my opinion. Duncan is a childhood friend she can barely remember, but gets close to fast, and Nora is an elderly neighbor and one of the few people she does remember from her time in Medford. They become the only ones who know her true identity... it's kind of too dangerous to go around telling people that the only witness to the crime is digging around for answers.
I thought this was an entertaining. fast-paced book-- full of short chapters and a to-the-point plot. I appreciated reading a book that didn't take it's time getting to some big answers. It wasn't a deep book, but I need books like this in-between all the heavy stuff I usually read. I've been a big fan of April Henry's books (my fave is The Night She Disappeared), and I would definitely recommend this to younger readers. It's exactly the type of book I loved when I was younger because it is such a quick mystery.
I think I would have enjoyed this book even more if Olivia/Ariel wasn't such a Captain Obvious. She definitely ran around the town of Medford asking question after question to the point where people would have either told her to shut up or they would have outed her... I'm almost thinking both scenarios would have happened :) Also, the ending was not my favorite. I didn't guess the killer, but I thought he/she came busting out of the mystery-closet at a really early and odd moment. I wish the build-up was just a little bit more.
OVERALL: I love reading April Henry's books because they remind me why I love YA Mysteries so much. This one I would definitely recommend to younger (6-9th grade) readers. It reminds me of 90's thrillers like R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike, and Diane Hoh books.
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If you've read one of my books, I would love to hear from you. Hearing from readers makes me eager to keep writing.
When I was 12, I sent a short story about a six-foot tall frog who loved peanut butter to Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He liked it so much he arranged to have it published in an international children's magazine.
My dream of writing went dormant until I was in my 30s, working at a corporate job, and started writing books on the side. Those first few years are now thankfully a blur. Now I'm very lucky to make a living doing what I love. I have written 13 novels for adults and teens, with more on the way. My books have gotten starred reviews, been picked for Booksense, translated into six languages, been named to state reading lists, and short-listed for the Oregon Book Award.
I also review YA literature and mysteries and thrillers for the Oregonian, and have written articles for both The Writer and Writers Digest.