Friday, March 7, 2014

No One Else Can Have You (a Book Review)

No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale

Released: January 7, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 389

The Pretty Little Liars series by Sara Shepard meets the cult-classic film Fargo in this gripping and darkly humorous murder mystery by debut author Kathleen Hale.
A quiet town like Friendship, Wisconsin, keeps most of its secrets buried . . . but when local teen Ruth Fried is found murdered in a cornfield, her best friend, Kippy Bushman, decides to uncover the truth and catch the killer. Since the police aren't much help, Kippy looks to her idol, journalist Diane Sawyer, for tips on how to conduct her investigation. But Kippy soon discovers, if you want to dig up the truth, your hands have to get a little dirty, don'tcha know.
In this riveting young adult novel, Kathleen Hale creates an intricately plotted murder mystery that will keep readers guessing, laughing, and cringing until the surprising final pages.

Overall, I thought this book was pretty good. Once I got into it, it kept my attention. I was hooked. The mystery was interesting, the plot was gripping, and the creepiness was perfect.  I couldn't put it down and blazed through the rest of the book in two days.

However, the writing wasn't the best and there was a ton of (in my opinion) unnecessary swearing. I don't care about swear words if they're used well (such as in Eleanor & Park), but this was every other word. I also couldn't stand the characters. I have a hard time liking a book if I don't like the main character. Otherwise who am I rooting for? The plot mostly made up for that, but I couldn't get past the fact that Kippy was boring and really embarrassing. Socially awkward is one thing, but I found myself cringing at nearly everything she said. She didn't always make the best decisions, which I'm usually okay with (hey, nobody's perfect), but she didn't learn from her mistakes. I didn't really like her dad, either. He treated her like she was seven, and even though he was doing the best he knew how, she treated him badly back. Ruth was a jerk, too. Kippy read her diary after she died, and Ruth was constantly insulting Kippy behind her back. The only character I really liked was Davey, and he wasn't in it a whole lot.

To sum up, terrible characters, but a good story overall. It's definitely worth the read if you're into creepy mysteries.

(Actual rating: 3.5)


Alexandrina Brant said...

Interesting. Aspects of that summary remind me of the first novel I ever finished (I'm trying to rewrite it at the moment): useless policemen, amateur teen detective, breaking rules... It's a shame the characters weren't that likeable. In a way, characters are the true momentum of books; I can stand bad plotting, but badly written characters are something I can't sit through.

The Magic Violinist said...

@Alexandrina I completely agree! If I can't stand the characters, I have a really hard time getting through a book. And this book had a ton of potential. I loved the story, but the characters were extremely bland and/or unlikeable.

Boquinha said...

Wow. It must've stunk for Kippy to read that stuff about herself as she was in the midst of trying to help. Geez.

I don't like it when characters aren't likeable or relatable. I mean, it's okay for some of them to be like that, but when it's hard to find ONE redeeming character, it gets old fast. It's exactly why I don't like Seinfeld. The entire cast is shallow. Yuck.

The Magic Violinist said...

@Boquinha You'd think she'd hate reading that stuff. But she honestly had no reaction after she'd read it. None! It was like she'd been wiped of all emotion. That drove me crazy.

Sure, I don't mind when some of them are unlikable (every book should have characters like that). I'm even okay with characters who aren't relatable. I can like characters that I don't relate to. But when there is a grand total of ONE character that I like out of around TWENTY? That gets old. Especially for a book that's almost 400 pages. :P