Title: No One Else Can Have You
Author: Kathleen Hale
Genre: YA, Mystery
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Acquired: ARC from HarperTeen
Date Finished: 12/23/13
Small towns are nothing if not friendly. Friendship, Wisconsin (population: 688) is no different. Around here, everyone wears a smile. And no one ever locks their doors. Until, that is, high school sweetheart Ruth Fried is found murdered. Strung up like a scarecrow in the middle of a cornfield.
Unfortunately, Friendship’s police are more adept at looking for lost pets than catching killers. So Ruth’s best friend, Kippy Bushman, armed with only her tenacious Midwestern spirit and Ruth’s secret diary (which Ruth’s mother had asked her to read in order to redact any, you know, sex parts), sets out to find the murderer. But in a quiet town like Friendship—where no one is a suspect—anyone could be the killer.
Where to Start?
I’m not exactly sure where to start with this one. The tagline on this book said, “Fargo meets Pretty Little Liars.” That was actually a pretty accurate description. It had the quirkiness of Fargo’s setting and characters with the ridiculous immaturity of Pretty Little Liars.
Kippy Bushman is the 16-year-old BFF of Ruth Fried (pronounced freed) who has just been found murdered. To say that Kippy is a hot mess is a major understatement. This girl is seriously screwed up, but in an awkward and somewhat endearing way. Kippy is incredibly naïve, but also has an extremely insightful way of looking at certain things. Her dad, Dom, is a school counselor who has a hands off, hippy parenting technique. Kippy’s mom died when she was younger. The author never says anything about Kippy having any diagnosable problems, but she reminds me of someone with Asperger Syndrome. She mentions several times that Ruth was her only friend, but after reading Ruth’s diary, she realizes even Ruth had critical opinions of her. Of course, you find out later that Ruth had been whoring around town with a couple of guys and was not exactly BFF material anyway.
I really struggled with the immaturity of the characters. As a 39-year-old reader, I just wanted to put the book down. The adults and parental figures were ridiculous and seemed to be written as caricatures. They were too sweet, too understanding, too belligerent, too hover-y, too everything. Kippy’s partner in crime, Davey, is 21 and he too is strange, and doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere. I don’t know. It just seemed like everything was written “weird” just for the sake of being weird. Maybe it was written that way to show there is someone out there for everyone, but it just got on my nerves.
The book was set in Friendship, Wisconsin, so there was a lot of Wisconsin dialect. “You betcha!” and “Don’tcha know?” got very tiresome, very quickly.
The mystery seemed to take a backseat to the peculiarity of the characters. The killer just got pulled out of thin air at the end of the book. There were no clues, no lead up, and no development. The whole book was Kippy running around, following the wrong leads, crushing on Davey, and then accidentally falling into solving the murder.
Unfortunately, the only redeeming quality was Kippy’s dark and twisted way of looking at things. She could be very insightful at times. She was also a little snarky and sarcastic. I liked Kippy, in spite of, my dislike of the book.
Oh, I almost forgot! I liked the cover. 🙂
I think this book is geared toward a very specific demographic. Young people from Wisconsin and surrounding states will probably really like this book just fine, but it was not for me.
I’d like to give a shout out to HarperTeen and Kathleen Hale for giving me the opportunity to read and review this ARC.