I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.We Know It Was You by Maggie Thrash
Narrator: Stephanie Cannon
Series: Strange Truth #1
Published by Simon Pulse on October 4th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery
Reading Challenges: 2016 50 Book Challenge
Source: Review copy from Simon & Schuster Audio
Twin Peaks meets Pretty Little Liars in acclaimed author Maggie Thrash’s new Strange Truth series.
It’s better to know the truth. At least sometimes.
Halfway through Friday night’s football game, beautiful cheerleader Brittany Montague—dressed as the giant Winship Wildcat mascot—hurls herself off a bridge into Atlanta’s surging Chattahoochee River.
Just like that, she’s gone.
Eight days later, Benny Flax and Virginia Leeds will be the only ones who know why.
I’ve been reading a lot of detective novels lately. I think I’ve had a craving for the predictability of the format, and the page-turning quality of a good whodunnit tale. So when I saw this book was available to review in October, I immediately requested it. I know Maggie Thrash from her delightful graphic memoir Honor Girl (about a girl crush at Girl Scout camp…aka basically my own personal life story) and couldn’t wait to see her take on a teen mystery.
We Know it Was You is about Benny and Virginia, the two Oscar and Felix-esque members of a high school mystery club. They have taken on the case of Brittany Montague, a cheerleader dressed as the school mascot who literally ran off the football field and hurled herself into a river in the middle of a football game — in front of the whole school. The story is filled with jocks and cheerleaders and nerds and every high school stereotype, and claims to be a Pretty Little Liars meets Twin Peaks mash-up. I would say it was more PLL than Twin Peaks, but that it wasn’t quite successful in reaching the quality of either series.
Right of the bat I did not take this story seriously…and I don’t think I was supposed to. The characters were all over-the-top stereotypes and I think this is supposed be satirical. At least, I hope it’s supposed to be satirical. I think Maggie Thrash is a smart writer, but this particular story didn’t quite hit the mark on being clearly a fun series book or a fresh take on YA tropes. However, I could have looked past all of that if I had actually enjoyed other elements of the story…which I did not.
The plot of We Know It Was You was all over the place. The constant twists and general trajectory of the story missed the mark and felt confusing rather the innovative. I was confused throughout much of the novel about where it was all going and if any of it even made any damn sense, which definitely decreased my enjoyment of the story. I think certain elements of the plot happened too quickly, or were underdeveloped, and that the story perhaps tried to take on a bit too much.
It’s possible that all of this is attributed to the fact that I read this on audio. Sometimes I just can’t fully absorb all of the details in fiction when I listen to them. The narrator, Stephanie Cannon, attempted to sound like a stereotypical high school girl, which became quite grating as I listened. I can’t say for sure if this tone affected my understanding of the story, but I do believe it was a factor.
FINAL GRADE: D
Overall, this story did not meet my expectations. It had a lot of potential as a fun and satirical book, but I don’t think I’ll be reading the rest of the series to see if the author develops her narrative voice. There are plenty more books in the sea for me. If you are looking for a good, sassy YA mystery series, it’s better to just go with the best and pick up Pretty Little Liars instead.
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