Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 98
consuming YA thriller
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
TWO SIDES TO EVERY MURDER is a fast-paced YA thriller. The story follows two teens, Olivia and Reagan, who are each heading to Lost Lake, a camp which has been closed for about sixteen years, since three people were murdered in one night. The killer used a mask from the local legend of the Witch of Lost Lake, who supposedly uses a bow and arrow.

Olivia has recently found out from a DNA test that the man she thought was her father was not - so was her mother having an affair? She is hoping the camp office where her mother worked until the night of the murders might give her some clues as to who her father is. At the same time, Reagan is heading to the camp for a different reason. Her mother has been on the run since she was born, as she was accused of the murders. Reagan knows her mother couldn't have been the killer, and she is determined to investigate this true crime case and clear her mother's name.

However, once they are all on the mountain, the killer reappears, eager to get rid of all the evidence once and for all.

What I loved: This was a really consuming story, and I was hooked on figuring out whodunnit. At the same time, the teens are trying to solve the case - while also trying not to end up victims. The Witch of Lost Lake is there with them, and some of the kids are winding up dead. The present is tied up in the past true crime case, which makes solving it paramount to understanding who might be after them now. There are plenty of red herrings and twists in the past case that make it absolutely unputdownable.

The main characters are each of Reagan and Olivia and their BFFs, Jack and Hazel. Each of them was really interesting and infused with personality that made them stand-out and added to the story with a bit of thriller-related romance. I would have loved to see more of one potential couple but appreciated what we got with the other. Although the matches seemed a bit too easy, the story also explains how the heightened adrenaline and the like adds to their attraction.

There were some great themes that came up during the story about the weight of caregiving, the complicated nature of family, the burden of unexpected pregnancy, the power of legends, and the guilt that carries from past actions. These would be interesting to discuss and dissect with a book club as many of them contributed to the murders in past and present.

As a heads up for readers who care, the story ends with a bit of an unknown, so not everything gets wrapped up in a bow.

Final verdict: Overall, TWO SIDES TO EVERY MURDER was a fast and consuming YA thriller/mystery that I would recommend for fans of TRULY DEVIOUS, MISSING CLARISSA, or THE COUSINS.
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