Saturday 11 December 2021

You’ll Be the Death of Me

You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M McManus (Penguin Books) PPB RRP $17.99 ISBN 9780241473665

Reviewed by Kathleen Grace

Ivy, Mateo, and Cal used to be close when they were in middle school. So, when Cal pulls into campus late for class and runs into his two old mates, they decide to ditch school. Just like old times. However, they are not the only students skipping school that day. When they spot Brian ‘Boney’ Mahoney acting suspiciously downtown, they follow him into an empty building and walk straight into a murder scene. Brian's not the only one keeping secrets, and when their day of freedom turns deadly it's only a matter of time before the truth comes out. And because the friends are teenagers and thriller protagonists, they do not go to the authorities (or their parents) for help and decide to try and solve the crime on their own.

Each of the chapters of this mostly fast-moving, engaging novel is presented by the three friends. First, Ivy, who has just missed winning a school council election to the class clown, and now she must face the school, humiliated. Next chapter we hear from heart-throb Mateo who is burned out--he's been working two jobs since his family's business failed. Then there’s outsider Cal who has just got stood up.... again. The perspectives of each of these protagonists switch throughout the book.

This story is a twist on being in the wrong place at the wrong time. At times it seemed like no one was interested in the murder as much as in drama and teen romance. The middle of the book is slow-moving, and the ending wasn’t necessarily the most enjoyable. This is a typical YA mystery novel full of teen angst.

The author McManus is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of five other YA novels. Her work has been published in more than 40 languages.

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