Welcome to my new blog! Some of you may recognize me and my posts from their previous home of curlybookowls.Wordpress.com. I wanted to venture out on my own and have a site that is more closely associate with me. Definitely continue follow CBO, Courtney & Adrienne are absolute sweethearts and their content is worth the read!
What can you expect?
The same chaotic Stacia, the same chaotic posting schedule (there isn’t one)! However, I am booking quite a few blog tours for books, so you’ll see those a lot more!
Questions? Comments? Concerns? Feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and put “QCC” in the subject line! I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!
Hey, hi, hello! Welcome back to another spoiler-free review from your girl Stacia! Today we’ve got a cute lil romcom featuring fairy godmothers, wish granting, and Star Trek. Be sure to read alllll of this post because there’s a fun surprise at the end 🙂
perfect for fans of Geekerella and Jenn Bennett, this charming, sparkly rom-com follows a wish-granting teen forced to question if she’s really doing good—and if she has the power to make her own dreams come true. Charity is a fairy godmother. She doesn’t wear a poofy dress or go around waving a wand, but she does make sure the deepest desires of the student population at Jack London High School come true. And she knows what they want even better than they do because she can glimpse their perfect futures. Making this existential crisis way worse is Noah—the adorkable and (in Charity’s opinion) diabolical ex of one of her past clients—who blames her for sabotaging his prom plans and claims her interventions are doing more harm than good. He demands that she stop granting wishes and help him get his girl back. At first, Charity has no choice but to play along. But soon, Noah becomes an unexpected ally in getting to the bottom of the glimpses. Before long, Charity dares to call him her friend…and even starts to wish he were something more. But can the fairy godmother ever get the happily ever after?But when Charity fulfills a glimpse that gets Vindhya crowned homecoming queen, it ends in disaster. Suddenly, every wish Charity has ever granted is called into question. Has she really been helping people? Where do these glimpses come from, anyway? What if she’s not getting the whole picture?
Back cover of book, courtesy of Barnesandnoble.com
So when I signed up to read and review Glimpsed, I had no idea it would actually be a book I really enjoyed and would totes reread in the future. Charity is our main character and she is a sort of junior godmother: with just one touch, she glimpses the truest desire of someone in need (a Cindy, like Cinderella) and then takes upon herself to grant that wish. We’re given the backstory that all previous wishes had ended quite nicely for the Cindies. A couple people wanted the standard teenage dream: the hot guy or girl, one kid wanted people to notice him for his dance talent, nothing too crazy. So when Charity bumps into her newest Cindy and sees the dream she wants, its old hat for her to grant the wish and get the girl to her end goal. But then she’s confronted by a stalker: someone who has been watching her with the Cindies and has decided that Charity is actually brainwashing people, not granting wishes, and making their lives worse, not better.
Glimpsed was super cute and a very fun, easy read. The pop culture references made show that not only was the book written in current times, but that the characters are just like us. I was also really happy that the author seemed to put thought into the dialogue and reactions of the characters, as evidenced by the way they interact with each other. Sometimes in reading contemporary YA, teenage characters can be written as unrealistic or too mature/immature in their thinking. I can easily and confidently say that was not the case here.
Overall, I’d say Glimpsed is a solid 4 stars for me. The plot line does get a smidgen predictable around the 3/5th mark, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t still enjoyable!
SYNOPSIS (pulled straight from Goodreads): Liv Varanakis doesn’t have a lot of fond memories of her father, which makes sense—he fled to Greece when she was only eight. What Liv does remember, though, is their shared love for Greek myths and the lost city of Atlantis. So when Liv suddenly receives a postcard from her father explaining that National Geographic is funding a documentary about his theories on Atlantis—and will she fly out to Greece and help?—Liv jumps at the opportunity. But when she arrives to gorgeous Santorini, things are a little…awkward. There are so many questions, so many emotions that flood to the surface after seeing her father for the first time in years. And yet Liv doesn’t want their past to get in the way of a possible reconciliation. She also definitely doesn’t want Theo—her father’s charismatic so-called “protégé”—to witness her struggle. And that means diving into all that Santorini has to offer—the beautiful sunsets, the turquoise water, the hidden caves, and the delicious cuisine. But not everything on the Greek island is as perfect as it seems. Because as Liv slowly begins to discover, her father may not have invited her to Greece for Atlantis, but for something much more important.
I have never read anything by this author, but I’m definitely a fan now! Love & Olives is a sweet, romantic romp through the Grecian countryside on a journey of self-discovery and reconnection. Olive (Liv) is a 17 year old girl trying to figure out where she wants to go to college: should she go to Stanford with her boyfriend Dax, or follow her dreams and go to the Rhode Island School of Design to pursue her art when she receives a letter from her estranged father…he’s found the lost city of Atlantis and he wants her to come to Greece and discover it with him.
Olives is a very cute story about family and the lengths one goes to to find their own personal happiness. There’s terminal illnesses, a boyfriend who is a bit pushy, a girlfriend who isn’t pushy enough, a brother who wants to be a ninja and a stranger who may be something more.
I really enjoyed this book! There are some amazing visuals and the setting of Santorini just makes it that much more beautiful. I liked the authors use of descriptions or Liv’s anxiety/PTSD about being underwater. Truly a great read!
I am very thankful to have received an ARC of this book from Simon Pulse, via Kathleen Carter Communications, a promotional service for authors and their books, in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this Advanced Copy has in no way impacted my opinion of this work.
Love & Olives is the third book in Jenna Evans Welch’s Love and… series. Olives was released on November 10th by Simon Pulse, a division of Simon & Schuster. You can read more about what Jenna is up to and see her other works on Instagram at jennaevanswelch or at her website jennaevanswelch.com.
Y’all will never guess who’s back with *another* post for y’all… Now don’t go getting spoiled on me…I’m still terrible at posting on the regular. Today’s book is a Middle Grade, so it’s perfect for you or any littles you may have running around the house too!
The Girl Who Drank the Moon meets Pax in this fantastical tale of a wolf who forms an unlikely alliance with Baba Yaga to save the forest from a wicked tsar. Since she was a pup, Zima has been taught to fear humans—especially witches—but when her family is threatened, she has no choice but to seek help from the witch Baba Yaga. Baba Yaga never does magic for free, but it just so happens that she needs a wolf’s keen nose for a secret plan she’s brewing… Before Zima knows what’s happening, the witch has cast a switching spell and run off into the woods, while Zima is left behind in Baba Yaga’s hut—and Baba Yaga’s body!Meanwhile, a young village girl named Nadya is also seeking the witch’s help, and when she meets Zima (in Baba Yaga’s form), they discover that they face a common enemy. With danger closing in, Zima must unite the wolves, the witches and the villagers against an evil that threatens them all.
Wolf was so cute and such a fun read! This book does feature multiple POVs, so if that’s something you or your kiddo have a bit of trouble with, I’d suggest using post-it flags on the first page of each separate perspective, with each perspective having its own color. That way you see green and know it’s the wolves, etc.
Zima is out main wolf we see the world through. She’s the second oldest wolf in her pack (so she’s sort of the “Beta”) but because she’s a girl and not the Alpha, it seems like no one really listens to her. She is strong and brave, but also more of a flighter than a fighter.
Nadya. Our sweet human bean. She’s adventurous, always getting into trouble, and currently attempting to map out the forest. She and Zima bump into each other on like page 5, and the whole course of the story is changed from their interaction.
Baba Yaga. The witch hag. Baba Yaga, contrary to what I’d thought, is not a hard, but decent old lady who lives in a bath house and gives Chihiro a job (Spirited Away, 2001 film), she’s actually a terrible witch who get around by riding in a giant mortar and pestle and is losing her ability to magic correctly because she’s getting old.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The author has Russian heritage, and you can see how that is written into the work from the name of some characters : Tsar (a Russian title for the king) Aleksander to Nadya and Katerina, to the harsh, seemingly always winter climate our story takes place in. There are cute illustrations sprinkled throughout the chapters that help to add to the words you’ve just read.
I received an eARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this book has in no way affected my opinion of this work. A Wolf for a Spell Is Sutton’s debut work, and was released on December 1st from Alfred A. Knopf Book for Children.
Karah Sutton has loved Baba Yaga, ballet, and blini ever since she had to do a research project on her Russian heritage in the third grade. Her hunger for adventure inspired her to move from Kentucky to New Zealand, where it was rumored she would find talking trees and the occasional wood elf. Karah spent four years as a bookseller before she turned to writing her own fiction. A Wolf For a A Spell is her debut work. You can find Karah on the web at karahsutton.com or on Instagram at karahdactylauthor.
Welcome back to another sporadic post from me, Stacialovestoread. Today I bring you good tidings, cold weather….oh yeah! A review of a recently published book!
Synopsis: Every fifty years, a cult claims twelve men to murder in a small Texas town. Can one girl end the cycle of violence –and save the boy who broke her heart? San Solano, Texas is a quaint town known for its charm, hospitality, and history of murder. Twice now, twelve men have been brutally killed, and no one knows who did it. A shadowy witch? A copy-cat killer? Or a man-hating murderess? Eighteen-year-old Natalie Colter is sure that the rumors about her great-great-grandmother’s cult of wronged women are justgossip, but that doesn’t stop the true crime writers and dark tourism bloggers from capitalizing on the town’s reputation. It’s an urban legend that’s hard to ignore, and it gets harder when Nat learns that the sisterhood is real, and magical. And they want her to join. The more Nat learns of the Wardens’ supernatural history, the more she wonders about the real culprits behind the town’s ritualistic murders. Are the Wardens protecting San Solano from even darker forces? As the anniversary of the murders draws near, the town grows restless. Residents start getting “claimed” as this year’s planned victims, including Levi Langford, the boy whose kiss haunted Nat for a year. Nat knows that no one is safe. Can she and the sisterhood stop the true evil from claiming their town?
First off, let’s start with a content warning. This book, though definitely a YA, features some themes some may be uncomfortable with. There are descriptions of blood, gore, and animal cruelty. If any of those things offend or upset you, perhaps skip this review and this read. Take care of yourself first, beloved.
Since this will be my first spoiler-free review, so forgive me if this one is a little dry: I’m used to letting y’all in on all the good, bad, and ugly of a book but I can’t with this one, per request of the publisher and tour company. I can say, however, that this book was a r i d e from start to finish. From the cult (which turns out to be more of a coven), to the town’s strange history, and the lengths one is willing to go through to protect the ones they love.
Bitterwine Oath stars Nat, a spunky high school senior is just trying to live out the last summer with her friends before they all separate and go to various colleges the following year. Levi, a boy that Nat kissed once (and would very much like to kiss again) has come back to town after finishing his first year at college. There are secrets a plenty, poems, a secret cult, and forest shenanigans that stand between them being together. While there are definitely some parts that call for a suspension of disbelief, the plot moves along nicely and I feel like the ending not only closed everything up well, but also left space for a sequel/companion novel.
I received an Advance Copy of this book from the publisher, Holiday House, in exchange for my participation on this tour, and an honest review. This has in no way influenced my opinion or review.
Hannah West is a YA author. The Bitterwine Oath comes after the author’s previous works: The Nissera Novels and was released on December 1st from Holliday House Publishing. You can find her on the web at Hannahwestauthor.com or Instagram at hannahwestya.
Let it Snow is a short sweet look at what can happen when people are forced into one of my favorite romance trope: “but there’s only one bed” and the resultant friends-to-lovers scenario that blooms.
Amy is a twenty-something Texas transplant by way of Connecticut who loves Christmas and is a big fan of snow. Her best friend Josh is leaving Texas and heading back home for a job opportunity that he just *can’t* pass up. Being that Amy’s job doesn’t pay her well (at all. She has like 4 roommates), Josh suggests that she drive with him across the country to surprise her family for the holidays; no objections, even bought her a plane ticket for a return flight back to Texas after the holidays. What a nice friend.
A good portion of the story takes place in transition: Amy and Josh are driving 10+ hours from Texas to Connecticut so there isn’t much else to do except get them there. Until the blizzard hits, things are pretty much coasting: we’re in Amy’s POV the entire story and she is very much into Josh, but afraid to say something because it could ruin the friendship.
Neither of our characters checked the weather before starting their drive and so they are caught off guard when the flurries of snow suddenly gain some momentum and a blizzard is announced over the radio. The two hunker down in the first motel they can find (which is a very nice one, surprisingly) for the next couple of days to wait out the storm. “This” leads to “that” and “that” leads to (honestly) one of the sweetest NC17 scenes I’ve ever read.
After arriving home and talking things out, the two decide to give their romance and try and would you believe it, it works!
Overall, I thought Let it Snow was a cute story. It’s only about 200 pages so the characters aren’t super developed and the plot line is fairly simple, but I enjoyed it! Snow was a welcome palate cleanser and I’ll definitely be going back to this novella again when I want something short and sweet.
This eARC was provided for me by Inkslinger PR, in conjunction with the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this free copy in now way altered my review of this story. Let it Snow released November 12th and is available now for purchase! Please visit cassiecross.com for more about the author, places to buy her work, and to see what she’s up to now!
Greetings and salutations fellow book based lifeforms! I come to you today with a post that’s quite different from my usual. Thanks to Hear Our Voices Tours for the chance to do this post for you all! Legendborn is a book featuring a powerful Black lead character, magic, and Arthurian legend. There are a lot of central themes in this book, and I’m gonna do a rec-a-reads (and watch) based off some of them!
Arthur/Camelot The main plot of Legendborn is set around the Legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. If you’re looking for more things like this, you may want to check out…
BBC’s Merlin This one is pretty obvious. The show focuses on the titular Merlin, who serves the Prince Arthur Pendragon and will eventually rise to become his sorcerer. Colin Morgan stars as Merlin with a supporting cast featuring a young Katie McGrath (Supergirl, Jurassic World) as Morgana. This show is available on Netflix and is one of my favorites to watch when I want something familiar but interesting.
The Camelot Rising series Written by Kiersten White, author of The Dark Decent of Elizabeth Frankenstein, The Camelot Rising series of books feature the common Arthurian players but with a twist: Guinevere isn’t just the love interest on the sidelines this time, she’s the MC and the heroine of the story! The first novel: The Guinevere Deception released in November 2019, with book #2 expected in November of 2020.
Once & Future Released in March of 2019 by the dynamic writing duo of Ami Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy, the Once duology takes a look at the myth of Arthur through a gender-bent lens with a Merlin who’s aged backward to help guide Alix to saving Camelot.
Secret Societies A big part of this book is a secret society that Bree finds herself drawn to and yet wanting to flee. Here are some other things that feature secret societies…
The Order This show is on Netflix (season 2 just dropped a month or so ago) and revolves around a boy who’s off to college and hoping to be tapped to join one of the oldest secret societies on campus. Featuring witches and hidden lineages, this show is great to quench your dark academia fantasy thirst.
Dead Girls Society This mystery novel released in 2018 and features a group of girls who all receive the same anonymous letter daring them to do things in exchange for what they want: money, prestige, and life-saving medication.
BONUS: The Magicians I absolutely love this show. The first 4 seasons are up on Netflix. Based off the book series by Lev Grossman, the MC Quintin is drawn into the secret world of Breakbills University. He and his friends — who are sometimes his enemies — must team up and stop the Great Blank Spot from happening.
Magic Hidden in the Real World Though the book is set in the real world at UNC Chapel Hill, there is a bit of magic hidden on campus. Here are a few books that sort of do the same…
Charlie Bone I absolutely loved these books as a little! Jenny Nimmo writes about Charlie Bone, a regular kid who discovers he has the magical ability to hear people through photographs and portraits. His cruel grandmother and her sisters send him to Bloor’s Academy to be educated about how best to harness these powers. This is a complete series of 4+ books (I think there are actually 7 or 8) that will keep you occupied and entertained for a good while.
The Spiderwick Chronicles These books are another favorite from my childhood. They’re super short and sweet and one could totally power through like 5 of them in an hour. The first book (and maybe parts of the second) have been adapted into a movie featuring a very young (practically a baby) Freddie Highmore (Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, Bates Motel, The Good Doctor) as the twin boys Simon and Jared. Fun fact: these were co-written by an author that I’m sure many of you have on your fave 5 list: Holly Black (Folk of the Air trilogy).
Fablehaven Written by Brandon Mull with more of a middle grade/early young adult audience in mind, I enjoyed the Fablehaven books as a kid too. The story revolves around Kendra & Seth who go to visit their grandparents only to discover that Grandpa is missing and that Fablehaven (the grandparent’s house and grounds) is actually a nature reserve of sorts for fairies and witches and other fantastical things! The series was so popular and successful, Mull has written a sequel to the original storyline of 5 books.
Competition Competing for the title of Squire to the coveted Line of Arthur is a main plot point in Legendborn. Though some are born in to the world of the Legendborn, some, like Bree have stumbled upon it and have to fight twice as hard for a seat at the table.
Tiny Pretty Things This duology features characters at a prestigious ballet academy that are all fighting for the title of principle dancer. Written by Dhonielle Clayton (The Belles) and Sona Charaipotra (Symptoms of a Heartbreak), this book is soon to be adapted into a series for Netflix. I will most definitely be tuning in!
Scythe This series is set in futuristic world where people can’t die…but they can be gleaned. When a spot opens for a new Junior Scythe, Citra and Rowan are pitted against each other for the position and, more importantly, the lifelong protection of their families. Neal Shusterman writes a fun world about morality, the power of AI, and the power of following one’s heart about what they believe to be right.
Caraval Scarlett has always dreamt of running away to Legend’s circus experience called Caraval. She never thought she’d actually get to go when she receives an invitation that she can’t refuse: her little sister Donatella has been taken and Scar is the only one who can save her. Written by Stephanie Garber, this trilogy is one of my favorites when I want to slip into a fantasy!
The Hunger Games Katniss. Gale. Peeta. The Capitol. The vicious fights around the cornucopias…’nuff said. Suzanne Collins knew what she was doing with these.
#BlackGirlMagic The final theme I’m going to touch on is #BGM. In these times, especially, it is important for young readers to be able to see someone like them on the page. I’ve got a whole list of fantasy books written by Black authors featuring some amazing Black kids…
Raybearer by Jordan Ifewko Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Rosanne A. Brown You Should See me in a Crown (double points: both Crown & Legendborn feature LGBTQ+ MCs) by Leah Johnson Slay by Brittney Morris Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron Shuri by Nic Stone Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
That was certainly a lot to process,and a lot for me to unpack but if you’ve stuck it out this long and Legendborn seems like your type of book (and honestly, there’s something for everybody in it), run, don’t walk, to your favorite bookseller of choice and purchase 2 copies: one for you, and one for a friend because you’re surely going to be shoving this at everyone once you’re done.
Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster for sending me a finished copy of this book a few weeks ahead of its release for me to read and review! Legendborn is Tracy Deonn’s debut novel and was released on September 15th from Margaret K. McElderry books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. For more on Tracy and what she’s up to, visit tracydeonn.com.
Greetings and welcome to another review where I basically shout things in bullet point form and hope the sentiment lands! This week’s review is for The Boyfriend Project, the first book in a new series from author Farrah Rochon. Without further ado, let’s get into the review!
– WOMEN in STEM
– BLACK women in STEM!
⁃ Last time: BLACK men in STEM.
⁃ Oh wait: BLACK women owning their own business.
Now that I’ve gotten my main shouting points out, let’s get on to the actual review.
Samiah is a late-20-something Black woman working in the very male dominated tech industry in Texas. We start the story following with Samiah getting all gussied up for a date with her sorta-boyfriend, Craig. Craig cancels, so Samiah spends her time listening to her sister read the live-tweets of a girl on a horrible first date. Further listening reveals that the scumbag man who stood Samiah up is the same man who is the subject of these live tweets!!
A few days later, the smoke has cleared and Samiah’s back at work where she meets mixed reactions praise, scorn, and shock, however, there’s a kindaaa cute new guy who’s just started at the company. Turns out, he’s not all that he seems, but that doesn’t matter because Samiah’s feeling him and she’s not alone.
My eARC of The Boyfriend Project was graciously provided to me by the publisher via Netgalley. TBP released on June 9th from Forever Romance, an imprint of Grand Central Publishing. This OwnVoices romance novel is sure to delight readers and educate the layperson a little bit about the technology field. For more information on Ms. Rochon’s previous works and her upcoming projects, check her out online at https://www.farrahrochon.com.
In light of recent events, I have been in a serious reading slump. I have been struggling to focus enough to read and none of the books I’d tried to read were holding my attention….until Raybearer. This book was breath of fresh air, well written, and a welcome distraction in this time of unprecedented difficulty.
Tarisai has always longed for the warmth of a family. She was raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother known only as The Lady.
When Tarisai comes of age, The Lady sends her to the capital of the global empire of Aristar to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of Eleven. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through the Ray, a bond deeper than blood. That closeness is irresistible to Tarisai, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But The Lady has other ideas, including a magical wish that Tarisai is compelled to obey: Kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust.
Tarisai won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn — but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself? With extraordinary world-building and breathtaking prose written by an incredible new talent, Raybearer is the story of loyalty, fate, and the lengths we’re willing to go for the ones we love.
ARC back cover
Where do I even start with the amazingness that was this book?! I guess I’ll go with my usual Good, Bad, and Ugly…so here we go!
The Good Jordan is a Nigerian-American author and her love of her heritage and its customs bleeds through these pages loud and clear! From the names she gives the characters and locations, to the styles of clothing to the belief systems that shape the religious and mythos of the world of Aristar. making a whole court case about the naming of a child and the potential ostracizing that the baby could face was an excellent way to again pay homage to the author’s African roots, and maybe even slip in a bit of social commentary about how some names are perceived as “professional” or “appropriate” and others aren’t.
Kirah. My sweet, perfect sunflower, Kirah…she’s my favorite of the council siblings. From the jump as a child meeting Tarisai, she was kind to her and (eventually) taught Tar what it means to have friends and a family. I think I connected with Kirah so strongly because her Hallow is manifested through song and as one who can hold a tune fairly decently myself, I am a firm believer that music has the power to heal.
Sanjeet. The Prince’s Bear. Older than the rest and yet younger in so many ways. The way Tarisai cares for him and unchains him both physically, mentally, and emotionally just shows how much time and effort Ifewko put into developing all her characters as more than just words on a page. At times, I wanted to join the council sib pile-up because of the closeness and trust they all share one for another. Sanjeet’s character goes through a major life crisis or two, and the way he responds makes all the difference as to who he’ll become, and what kind of man he’s seen as.
The Bad/The Ugly The Lady. What is her major malfunction?! I love to hate a good villain, and The Lady definitely served that purpose. From the cold, callous, unloving way she raised Tarisai, to her overall manipulative nature…a wonderful villain, but man was I not sad to see her go. Also, her entire revenge plan hinges on Tarisai killing an innocent child? BIG yikes.
The older set of council members (those that serve the Emperor) are not without fault either. When they first met Tarisai, some of them wanted to harm or kill her, an innocent child! What is it with killing kids…?
Overall, I gave this story a solid unquestioned 5 stars. Even though I mentioned two of the “bad” parts of this story, they really weren’t bad at all. A well-written villain is just as important, if not more so than a well-written hero/anti-villain. If this is the work Ms. Ifewko delivers for a debut, all I can do is buckle up and strap in for future releases because I know they’ll be undoubtedly amazing. I have so many questions that I hope are answered in the sequel to Raybearer (because there’s gonna be a sequel, right? I’m pleading here…)
I was graciously sent an ARC from the publisher, Amulet, an imprint of Abrams Publishing as a part of a blog tour to promote Ms. Ifewko’s book. This no way impacted my reading or review of this book. Raybearer is set to release on August 18, 2020 from Amulet Publishing. Please visit https://abramsbooks.com/product/raybearer_9781419739828/ for more information about where to buy the book and future projects Ms. Ifewko is working on.
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/.