Hauntingly written but leaves readers wondering, what now? (Mystery. 14 & up)

READ REVIEW

THE LAST GOOD DAY OF THE YEAR

Ten years after the widely publicized kidnapping of Sam's baby sister, Turtle, Sam and her family return to live in the home where the abduction took place.

In a detail-rich, nostalgic narrative voice, Sam describes the fateful night and its aftermath. It was 1986; Sam was 7 and Turtle, 4. Alternating chapters take readers to 1996, when Sam and her altered, numbed family return to Shelocta. Sam's older sister, Gretchen, whose much-older boyfriend was eventually convicted of Turtle's murder, has come back to Shelocta from Texas; Hannah, the 5-year-old sister everyone agrees is serving as Turtle's replacement in her parents' minds, flits innocently through the action, unaware of her family's history. Tension among family members and with old neighbors, former acquaintances, and Sam's childhood best friend drives the largely atmospheric story forward. Interspersed throughout are excerpts from the book an investigative journalist has written about Turtle's case. These interview transcripts and outsider descriptions of family members add to the pervasive sense of distance and fragility in a community blown apart by trauma. Oddly, the resolution is far more plot-based than the lead-up would suggest. Many of the character-based questions (When will Hannah learn about what happened to Turtle? What sort of relationship will Sam and Remy have now?) go unanswered.

Hauntingly written but leaves readers wondering, what now? (Mystery. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 12, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8027-3662-8

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments.

Reader Votes

  • Readers Vote
  • 25

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating

ALWAYS AND FOREVER, LARA JEAN

From the To All the Boys I've Loved Before series , Vol. 3

Lara Jean prepares for college and a wedding.

Korean-American Lara Jean is finally settled into a nice, complication-free relationship with her white boyfriend, Peter. But things don’t stay simple for long. When college acceptance letters roll in, Peter and Lara Jean discover they’re heading in different directions. As the two discuss the long-distance thing, Lara Jean’s widower father is making a major commitment: marrying the neighbor lady he’s been dating. The whirlwind of a wedding, college visits, prom, and the last few months of senior year provides an excellent backdrop for this final book about Lara Jean. The characters ping from event to event with emotions always at the forefront. Han further develops her cast, pushing them to new maturity and leaving few stones unturned. There’s only one problem here, and it’s what’s always held this series back from true greatness: Peter. Despite Han’s best efforts to flesh out Peter with abandonment issues and a crummy dad, he remains little more than a handsome jock. Frankly, Lara Jean and Peter may have cute teen chemistry, but Han's nuanced characterizations have often helped to subvert typical teen love-story tropes. This knowing subversion is frustratingly absent from the novel's denouement.

An emotionally engaging closer that fumbles in its final moments. (Romance. 14-17)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-3048-7

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense.

A GOOD GIRL'S GUIDE TO MURDER

From the Good Girl's Guide To Murder series , Vol. 1

Everyone believes that Salil Singh killed his girlfriend, Andrea Bell, five years ago—except Pippa Fitz-Amobi.

Pip has known and liked Sal since childhood; he’d supported her when she was being bullied in middle school. For her senior capstone project, Pip researches the disappearance of former Fairview High student Andie, last seen on April 18, 2014, by her younger sister, Becca. The original investigation concluded with most of the evidence pointing to Sal, who was found dead in the woods, apparently by suicide. Andie’s body was never recovered, and Sal was assumed by most to be guilty of abduction and murder. Unable to ignore the gaps in the case, Pip sets out to prove Sal’s innocence, beginning with interviewing his younger brother, Ravi. With his help, Pip digs deeper, unveiling unsavory facts about Andie and the real reason Sal’s friends couldn’t provide him with an alibi. But someone is watching, and Pip may be in more danger than she realizes. Pip’s sleuthing is both impressive and accessible. Online articles about the case and interview transcripts are provided throughout, and Pip’s capstone logs offer insights into her thought processes as new evidence and suspects arise. Jackson’s debut is well-executed and surprises readers with a connective web of interesting characters and motives. Pip and Andie are white, and Sal is of Indian descent.

A treat for mystery readers who enjoy being kept in suspense. (Mystery. 14-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-9636-0

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

more