September 24, 2017

Girl in Snow - Danya Kukafka

Simon & Schuster, August 1, 2017.


 Four Stars


On a frozen, snow-covered morning, the body of popular high school student Lucinda Hayes is found in a local park. In the small Colorado neighbourhood, everyone knew Lucinda – and everyone is affected by her death, whether they liked her or not.


Girl in Snow is narrated by three characters with connections to Lucinda. Cameron is an anxious, unpopular boy who was obsessed with Lucinda – he drew detailed portraits of her and watched her through her bedroom window at night. Jade is an edgy girl with an alternative style, whose alcoholic mom and miserable home life make her jealous of Lucinda’s seemingly perfect world – she also admittedly hated Lucinda for stealing her babysitting job. Finally, Russ is the officer in charge of investigating Lucinda’s murder, and he also has a strong connection to the family of his main suspect, Cameron.


Each character works to expose the others’ secrets while confronting their own emotions as they all search for the truth about Lucinda’s death. The novel explores how people can see us and interpret our lives in different ways, while never knowing the truth about who we are – not just Lucinda, but all of the characters are judged by who they appear to be. Cameron expresses himself through his artwork, while Jade’s sections often shift into her dramatic screenplay in which she envisions the scenes that she wishes had taken place, and the conversations that sounded better in her mind.


Lucinda could have been killed by anyone in her small suburb, but as more backstory is revealed through the eyes of different narrators, the identity of the murderer becomes inevitable. This novel is ostensibly a mystery-thriller, but the focus is ultimately on character development. The only exception is Lucinda, who remains fairly flat, but she acts as a device to bring everyone else together. The story is written in clear, concise prose, yet it is saturated with depth and emotion – Kukafka’s words are evocative without being overly descriptive. As the characters become increasingly intertwined, they show the unknown connections between all of us – and how appearances can be deceiving.


I received this book from Simon & Schuster and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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