No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale
Release Date: January 7th, 2014
HarperTeen, 380 Pages
Sub-genre: Murder Mystery/Thriller
Source: ARC from the publisher (Thanks!)
Age Group: Young Adult (15+)
Recommended for: fans of The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Small towns are nothing if not friendly. Friendship, Wisconsin (population: 689 688) 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.
A lot of reviews from my friends have mentioned that the main character, Kippy, was a little too quirky for them – it turned them off from enjoying the book but I really felt like it made her stand out from all of the other slightly awkward teenagers we’re used to meeting in books. Most of the time, we’re reading about girls who don’t think they’re beautiful, but in actuality are stunning and all of the boys are crazy for them – and of course, the girls are mean because they’re jealous. But that’s not how things are for Kippy. I thought her awkward-oh-my-gosh-what-is-she-doing disposition was genuine and right at the heart of what it’s like to be a teenage – most of the time, painfully ungraceful and unrefined. (Can you imagine trying to give a eulogy for your best friend at 16? I wouldn’t have been able to string two sentences together.)
Kippy’s dad, Dom, tells her that everyone grieves in different ways and while it is easy to nod and agree, I think it is so much harder to actually comprehend when you’re in that type of situation. I know that Em would dig into the psychology behind grief here, but since I’m not the one with a degree in psychology, let’s move along.
The way that Kippy deals with grief after her mother’s death involves planning for the next emergency and I couldn’t help but be reminded of Ben Stiller’s character in The Royal Tenenbaum’s.
Kippy deals with her best friend’s death by searching for the murderer and it is a wild ride. I was really into this book until about 70% through, when it just kind of – veered off into this direction that I didn’t see coming. The change in direction was so jarring that I actually double checked to make sure that I was reading the same book. If it hadn’t been for that one particular part that was absolutely insane, I would have 100% liked this book.
Quirky, comedic, and thrilling – No One Else Can Have You is a solid debut that I enjoyed.