Mystery Mondays is a sometimes weekly, sometimes biweekly and sometimes monthly review feature here on Words of Mystery that showcases books in the mystery (and on occasion thriller) genre that we are currently reading and our thoughts on them. Feel free to comment and leave suggestions as to what we should read and review next.
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.
How would you feel if your best friend died? Sad and heartbroken right? But what if you discovered she wasn’t really who you thought she was? What if you found out your friend was actually a pretty horrible person? How would you feel? What would you do? For Kippy Bushman this is the situation she finds herself in as she eventually decides to find out who really murdered her best friend, Ruth “Fried”. To be fair though as I got to know Ruth a bit more through her diary she left behind she did have her moments. And really she was mostly just selfish and insecure rather than evil.
No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale is a unique combination of murder mystery and contemporary young adult fiction. It was also a very surprising and unexpected read in the end for me. This is not your feel good or light mystery nor is it a mushy contemporary young adult read, instead No One Else Can Have You is as gritty and dark as the title suggests maybe even darker. But seeing as I love murder mysteries, I found the story to be deliciously dark though there are a lot of mature content and language so I would not recommend this book for younger readers. Additionally I should warn you, things do get very bleak for the main character, Kippy before the novel’s conclusion.
Speaking of Kippy, I love her character and if I were to be murdered I would hope my friends try as hard as she does to find my killer. I also loved the character of “Albus” who although she wasn’t in most of the book managed to steal ever scene she was in even when she wasn’t actually there. Other than Kippy and “Albus” and the members of Kippy’s group, the other characters in the book were mostly unlikable. I do think that Hale does a good job of capturing how one major event can cause paranoia in a small town between neighbours used to be so friendly with one another. The only thing I hated in this book was the romance element. I did not like Davey’s character, he came off as a jerk, and so I was not a fan of the “romance” in the book. To me it came off as awkward and forced and I could have done without it. Still I guess it made sense it a way seeing as how the teenaged characters in the book have pretty crazy hormones.
No One Else Can Have You is a dark and edgy young adult novel. I liked that the story was more focused on the murder mystery rather than the contemporary elements. And though I was right about who the murderer was from the start, there were still a lot of surprising elements that kept me on the edge of my seat. For the most part I loved this book; Kippy character is such an awesome character. I loved how even after finding out how horrible Ruth was Kippy was still determined to be a good friend to her. However I wouldn’t recommend this book to just anyone. But if you’re a fan of dark, edgy and mature murder mysteries than No One Else Can Have You is the book for you!
If you like this book, you’ll love: The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag by Alan Bradley (a more family friendly alternative)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.