Girl in Snow
by Kukafka, Danya

When a beloved high school student is found murdered, a boy who loved her, a girl who envied her, and the officer investigating the case are challenged to confront their darkest secrets in order to find the truth.

This brooding and intense thriller will plunge readers into a dark world they may not want to enter-but they may be unable to tear themselves free. At first glance, it seems a basic-enough premise: Lucinda Hayes, a high-school freshman, is found dead one snowy night at the playground in her neighborhood, and her family and friends are left with their awful grief. This novel stands out by initially painting a picture-perfect community, then slowly peeling that away to show the crushing weight of truth between the narrators' flashbacks and the investigation occurring in present day. Between the boy who flirted between love and obsession by watching through her bedroom window at night, the girl who feels Lucinda took everything that mattered from her, and the officer working the case, the threads of Lucinda's life come together and give meaning to her death. This unlikely trio of narrators gives readers a different look into the idyllic, small-town life, and how not everything is as it appears on the surface. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

When lovely 15-year-old Lucinda Hayes is murdered on a playground in a placid Colorado town, the prime suspect is one of her classmates.The first of three narrators in Kukafka's debut is the perhaps mentally ill ninth-grader Cameron Whitley. Utterly obsessed with Lucinda, for years he has spent all his time stalking her, drawing her, and thinking about her. He saw her the night of her death, and now he somehow has her purple suede diary, which he puts in his closet along with his Collection of the Pencil Bodies, his Collection of People Who Did Terrible Things, and others. "The only one hidden in his head was the Collection of Statue Nights"—his peeping-Tom forays—"this was his favorite Collection, because it was full of Lucinda." Well, we readers weren't born yesterday, so clearly it's not him. The second narrative perspective belongs to another classmate, Jade, who hates Lucinda for all the reasons any overweight, unhappy, smart teen with an abusive drunk for a mother would hate the most popular girl in school and her Norman Rockwell family. Hopefully that voodoo ritual she performed didn't actually work. Third narrator: a cop named Russ, who is obsessed with Cameron's dad, his former partner, not around anymore for some ominous reason which is withheld from the reader for far too long considering it turns out to be irrelevant. Though section titles indicate that the bulk of the action happens over a three-day period, with a denouement weeks later, it feels like much longer. Once you've got a murder mystery plot, you can only spend so much time inside people's heads, going over the same ground. This 24-year-old writer needs to rein in the prose and crank up the plot. We'll be watching. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Girl in Snow



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