My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 1 day
Publisher - Indigo
Pages - 306
Blurb from Goodreads
Secrets, romance, murder and lies: Zoe shares a terrible secret in a letter to a stranger on death row in this second novel from the author of the bestselling debut, My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece.
Fifteen-year-old Zoe has a secret—a dark and terrible secret that she can't confess to anyone she knows. But then one day she hears of a criminal, Stuart Harris, locked up on death row in Texas. Like Zoe, Stuart is no stranger to secrets. Or lies. Or murder.
Full of heartache yet humour, Zoe tells her story in the only way she can—in letters to the man in prison in America. Armed with a pen, Zoe takes a deep breath, eats a jam sandwich, and begins her tale of love and betrayal.
Zoe is writing to death row prisoner, Stuart Harris to confess her terrible sin, she killed someone too. In her letters, Zoe, initially tells Stuart a little about herself and why she is writing and ends with the admission she too has killed someone. The letters that follow stay in the same style, some personal information and a bit more about what lead to the murder as well as some of her family issues.
Zoe is a young girl and her writing reflect this to begin with, as the story progresses, I felt something changed and she seemed to mature a bit. The letters act almost like a diary, glimpses into what happens on the particular day she is writing about, all building towards what happened the day she murdered someone. We are introduced to her family, friends and the object of her affection(s). The issues a young teen goes through, heartache, embarrassment, family problems, teen angst and more. From the first chapter I didn't want to put the book down, I wanted to know the how, where and when. Then as the story builds I wanted to know more about the family and why there was such a divide.
I can't honestly tell you why I loved this story so much and I don't think it will be a 5 star book for everyone. There is something endearing about Zoe, she is young, acts very stupid at times and I suppose her antics at times we can all relate too, if we can remember that far back! Her family play parts throughout the story but Dot I need to single out because she is just a little sweetie who doesn't have a huge impact on the main story but I feel she brings a certain something to it and I just loved her!
The story keeps you in the dark for a lot of it, Zoe only letting you know what she is really to tell you. As she reveals more of herself she gets more familiar with her letter recipient, watch for how she addresses him as the letters progress.
It is a great wee bittersweet tale that covers friendship, lust, love, murder, family and secrets. You don't think when you start this book that there will be a great deal to it, as I did, however I devoured it in almost one sitting. I should add this is a young adult book, however I am not in that class and I loved it so don't be put off by the genre tag. This is my first dance with this author but I enjoyed this story so much I am going to get her first book, 5/5 for me this time.