Narrator: Jesse Vilinsky, Caitlin Kelly, Andrew Eiden
Published by HarperAudio
Published on 8 September 2020
Genres: Adolescence, Contemporary, United States, Young Adult
Source: my local library
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Maybe a killer only looks like a killer in the moment just before, during, or after.
Maybe a liar, a good one, never shows it.
Kayla is still holding on to Lainie’s secrets.
After all, Lainie is Kayla’s best friend. And despite Lainie’s painful obsession with her on-again, off-again boyfriend, and the ways he has tried to come between them, friends don’t spill each other’s secrets. They don’t betray each other’s trust.
The murder at the end of the summer doesn’t change all that.
Besides—Kayla knows that the truth is not the whole story.
This novel is told in epistolary style, in the form of letters from one girl to another after the summer camp that changed their lives.
Kayla is the main character, and the story is about her tumultuous and instant friendship with Lainie at a summer camp that’s probably not that appropriate to send a bunch of sixteen year olds to anyway, and what happens when Lainie meets Jasper the jerkass and can’t resist him.
I really enjoyed this novel and found the epistolary style quite interesting, and a wonderful technique to use to tell a story that happened in the past. I managed to get quite a firm grasp of the main group of characters, and even several less important ones.
Because the novel is told in the form of letters, we don’t get very many descriptions of the way characters or scenery looked. Why would we? The person writing the letter knows the intended recipient knows what everything looks like. So most of my impressions of the summer camp came from the greatest summer camp movie of all time, The Addams Family Values.
It seems to be the perfect location for terrifying time.
Basically the reader knows that someone has been murdered, but we aren’t told right away who it is, or why it happened, or even if it maybe… wasn’t a murder but instead a tragic accident?
I felt that the greatest weakness with this style of storytelling is that everything felt so… detached. Nothing felt in the moment, because it’s all Kayla’s reflections, several weeks removed. I still felt like I got invested, but maybe not as much as I could have been.
I think it was a really great idea to bring in other narrators in the audiobook to read for the roles of the witness statements and news reports. I especially liked how these snippets brought more to the story and was able to give us an ‘outside’ view of Kayla’s own little bubble of awareness. Like maybe we were learning and observing things that Kayla didn’t even think about.
Overall I did really enjoy this novel. It was on the short side, it was entertaining, the narrators were fantastic, the story was interesting and told in a style I haven’t read in a long time, and it kept me invested until the very end.