Am I okay?? Of course I am. What a silly question to ask. I’m always okay. It’s just a twig in my eye. A really persistent twig that keeps coming back.
This book is, in a few adjectives: fantastic, heart-gripping, thrilling, heARTBREAKING, amazing in every way possible ((I’m probably exaggerating at that last one but give me a break, I’VE FOUND MY FIRST FIVE STAR READ OF THE YEAR. Granted I’ve only read like 30+ books so far this year but this is BIG for me.)).
!! minor spoilers below. read at your own risk !!
by J.R. Johansson
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery
Publication Date: 11 October 2016
A death sentence. A family torn apart. One girl’s hunt for the truth.
Seventeen-year-old Riley Beckett is no stranger to prison. Her father is a convicted serial killer on death row who has always maintained that he was falsely accused. Riley has never missed a single visit with her father. She wholeheartedly believes that he is innocent. Then, a month before the execution date, Riley’s world is rocked when, in an attempt to help her move on, her father secretly confesses to her that he actually did carry out the murders.
He takes it back almost immediately, but she cannot forget what he’s told her. Determined to uncover the truth for her own sake, she discovers something that will forever change everything she’s believed about the family she loves.
Don’t judge ANYTHING by its outer appearance is probably the best and simplest way to describe this book ― the cover, the story, its characters, everything. I’m not really a fan of the cover but the synopsis intrigued me.
He’s told me a million times that he would be with us if he could.
His wishes can’t overcome the steel and bars
that have been placed between us
by a broken system.
My hopes can’t erase the words that were spoken
in a different courtroom by Judge Reamers
when I was only six years old.
Riley Beckett comes from a family torn apart by the law. Every day, she comes back to a house that is usually empty. Her mother works day and night just to keep her job. She visits her father, who is on death row, every Friday without fail. She is a very strong character and I absolutely loved reading from her point of view. It was very vocal and real. And this led to the emotional whirlwind that crashed through me as I was reading this book. I got so emotionally attached to most of the characters, especially the one who is like a father figure to her, that at 2am my eyes were blurring over as I neared the climax of the book, and it wasn’t due to drowsiness. Emotional wreckage aside, it also makes for some really good quotes.
As badly as I need him, he needs me, too.
We heal the broken pieces of each other because we’re so opposite.
We have both nothing and everything in common
and I’ve never felt like someone could understand me the way he somehow does.
Though the fact that Riley, the daughter of a convicted serial killer on death row, meets and falls in love with Jordan, the son of the policeman who put said convicted serial killer behind bars, seems too coincidental to be true and kinda cliché, I didn’t really mind. I liked how their relationship was originally formed on the basis of comfort and to some extent, understanding.
While reading mystery novels (or any kind of fiction book actually), as a rule of thumb, everyone’s a suspect in my eyes. I’ll come up with all kinds of possible motives and scenarios I can think of. I actually had my bets placed on another person, and it was mainly because of his last name (¯\_(ツ)_/¯). Who the murderer was didn’t surprise me as much as his/her intentions behind the murders. It’s like “oh, things went pretty dark there for a second…”
The pacing was really, really good and helped a lot in building up suspense for the climax. As Riley and Jordan tried different methods to gather information about the case and uncover the truth behind the murders, there wasn’t a single moment that felt dull or draggy. This book had me at the edge of my seat (or should I say ‘bed’?) and every page I turned kept me wanting for more.
J.R. Johansson’s books have been published in a dozen languages and more than twenty countries worldwide. She has a B.S. degree in public relations and a background in marketing. She credits her abnormal psychology minor with inspiring many of her characters. She lives in Utah with two sons, a wonderful husband, three cats, and a hot tub named Valentino.
She is represented by the stellar Kathleen Rushall of Andrea Brown Literary Agency.
This giveaway ends on 24 October 2016. Click here to enter for a chance to win either a signed set of the author’s books (US/CAN only) or a $50 Gift Card (INT).