Oh what a tangled web we weave! I Killed Zoe Spanos is a twisty, plotty, murder mystery that is sure to have you turning the pages until you find out who the killer is. Look sharp at every clue, and every character: no one is above suspicion, not even Zoe herself.
Zoe Spanos: golden girl of the town, high school sweethearts with her boyfriend, and also dead. Oops. That wasn’t part of the plan.
Anna Cicconi: newly hired nanny to the wealthy upper crust; reformed party girl, dead ringer for the dead girl, and also stone cold murderer?
Aster Spanos: younger sister of the dead girl. Upset that her sister’s killer hasn’t been caught, but also kinda just wants to move on and go back to normal.
Martina Green: best friend to the dead girl’s sister; amateur detective; actively working to get justice for Zoe
Caden Talbott: boyfriend of the dead girl, kinda sorta into her doppelgänger; suspicious af; only known pepper in the salt shaker town that is Herron Mills (BIG MOOD)
This book comes on the heels of the Great YA Murder Mystery Revolution of 2019 & The Subsequent Re-Rise of 2020 after the release of such bestsellers as One of Us is Lying, We Were Liars, S.T.A.G.S., and Sadie, to name a few. This book, has quite a bit in common with the aforementioned Sadie being that they both feature podcasts as means of exposition, detective work, and character development. This is the first novel I have read from Frick, and I don’t foresee it being the last (I have All Eyes on Us waiting in the wings as I type this). Though this book is a little bit slow on the uptake, if you stick it out, it’ll be worth it.
To begin, the story is told in two timelines that eventually converge and become one: the “then” and the “now”. Both sets of events (for the most part) take place featuring the same characters and in the same town of Herron Mills. it is later revealed that some parts of the story are actualy burried memories of Zoe’s and Anna’s. The use of multiple timelines, when done well, can help move the story along by providing new suspects, casting doubt on existing suspects, and providing exposition to the reader. The flashbacks in I Killed Zoe Spanos did just that with each one. Between the memories of a winter party, to the ones describes by Mariana on her podcast, each was well timed and well-placed.
Being that I’m giving such a glowing review, you’d think it was a 10/10, million star read, right? Naaah, I do have a few questions….
One of my least favorite plot devices is that of unexplained forgotten memory. I understand that children aren’t always the most reliable narrators to trust with telling a story…but why does Actual Adult Anna™️ have magnificently large and spectacularly convenient gaps of time she can’t recollect and no one. no one. around her seems willing to help jog her memory or throw her a bone? They all knew. They could have explained to her why the ice cream flavor she chose seemed familiar. Ugh. Missing memory is a very useful plot device and works well when executed well (which I think it was here) but that doesn’t mean I like it…
So. In summary: Kit Frick has written quite a gripping tale. I constantly found myself reaching for this book whenever I had a free moment. So overall, I’d say a strong 3.5-4 stars ⭐️
I Killed Zoe Spanos is set for release on June 30 from McElderry Books, a division of Simon & Schuster. This is Frick’s fourth book. I received a free ARC of this book from Kit and the wonderful people at S&S, both of which I am deeply grateful. For more information about this and other books from McElderry, please visit simonandschusterpublishing.com/margaret-k-mcelderry-books/.