Published by Entangled Teen on September 1, 2015
Genres: Mystery, YA
Source: ARC borrowed thru Around the World ARC Tours
Gramps always said that when the crickets were quiet, something bad was coming. And the crickets have been as silent as the dead. It started with the murdered deer in the playground with the unmistakable purple of a foxglove in its mouth. But in the dying boondock town of Emerald Cove, life goes on.
I work at Gramps's diner, and the cakes―the entitled rich kids who vacation here―make our lives hell. My best friend, Alex Pace, is the one person who gets me. Only Alex has changed. He's almost like a stranger now. I can't figure it out...or why I'm having distinctly more-than-friend feelings for him. Ones I shouldn't be having.
Then one of the cakes disappears.
When she turns up murdered, a foxglove in her mouth, a rumor goes around that Alex was the last person seen with her—and everyone but me believes it. Well, everyone except my worst enemy, Jenika Shaw. When Alex goes missing, it's up to us to prove his innocence and uncover the true killer. But the truth will shatter everything I've ever known about myself — and Alex.
~ As stated before, I love murder mysteries, especially YA murder mysteries, which aren’t as thick on the ground as, for example, paranormal romance. But I’ve been reading some great, creepy YA lately, and so I thank you, YA authors, for reminding us that teenagers are scary as hell!
~ At the heart of this book is class struggle, between the haves and the have nots in a small coastal community. It’s like the Outsiders meets Gossip Girl, and I’m all for it. I thought the parallels drawn between the town kids and the cakes- the rich kids, was realistic. The cakes weren’t just better off then the townies, these are private school kids, who drive expensive cars and blow through money like it’s nothing. The animosity between the two groups is… palpable.
~ So, Nova’s mom hooked up with Jenika’s dad years ago, and they all have to live in this small town. Honestly, that would be kind of hellish, and I get Jenika having less than positive feelings towards Nova. And I also get why Nova was scared of Jenika- she’s a bit scary.
~ I loved Nova’s relationship with Alex, despite the fact that I thought she should have pushed harder to find out what was bugging him. And they had moments of misunderstanding and hurt and miscommunication… it was heartbreaking at times.
~ Let’s talk about the killings for a second. It starts with animals, which was truly disturbing, and the thing that links them all is foxglove shoved in their mouths.
~ So pretty much right after finding a mutilated deer corpse, Nova starts to get letters from a secret admirer… You know, it’s not often in book reviews that I get to write sentences like that.
~ I blazed through this book pretty fast, there was a lot going on, and lots of personal drama going down for Nova too, and all was great until I got to the end. I won’t spoil it, but the motive for the killings (yes, the killer moves from animals to people) seemed a bit weak. The groundwork was laid down, but I just feel it could have been fleshed out more.
~ I did love that Nova wants to be a detective when she grows up, so it made sense for her want to figure out what was going on.
~ What made this book for me was not the murder mystery, which is odd, because usually I live for that kind of plot, but Nova and her friends. I felt the class struggle- so often in YA the teens have money, or even if they’re poor you don’t necessarily feel it. Nova is better off than Alex or Jenika, and you can feel even that slight difference. So, great characters, and a decent mystery that could have used just a bit more layers.
~ Also, loved Gramps, whom I totally pictured as the grandfather in The Lost Boys because it’s my imagination and I can mentally cast characters however I like! 😉
Nova- our main character, dealing with a crush on her bff, a rich boy ex, cakes, and trying not to get killed.
Alex- Nova’s suddenly moody bff (at times I felt like they had a Heathcliff and Cathy vibe going)
Jenika- the trailer park Draco to Nova’s lower middle class Harry. Tough, mean, and a tiny bit kick ass.
Zach- Nova’s cake ex-boyfriend, he could have been Nate from Gossip Girl he was so bland and easily influenced by friends.
Christian- a major cake a**hole. And Zach’s bestie. And a humongous turd sniffing bully.
Megan- Alex’s younger sister, hanging out with the cakes this summer/
Gabi- popular cake, but lives in town all year round since her dad turned the town into a rich summer getaway.
Amber- Gabi’s friend and Zach’s on again ex-girlfriend.
Gramps- Nova’s awesomely quirky grandfather, owner of the diner The Emerald Spoon.
Brandon- son of the local police chief, hangs around Gabi sometimes.
Gavin- the half brother Nova and Jenika share.
Okay, this might be mildly spoilerish, but there comes a time when Nova and Jenika go all Cagney and Lacey when they try to figure out what’s going on, only without all the trust and friendship that Cagney and Lacey have for each other. Yeah, the Draco and Harry comparison works better.
Stop the Clock:
The Foxglove Killings was a great read. I liked the mystery, and loved the characters. Nova, Alex, Jenika, everyone is so realistically messy. It’s not quite a midnight read, because the answer of who was behind the killings rang a little falsely to me, but I still couldn’t put it down. I hope Tara Kelly writes more mysteries, because I’m on board to read more!
The Foxglove Killings gets a Midnight Book rating of: