Girl in Snow
by Danya Kukafka
Lucinda Hayes is well-liked by most everyone who knows her in the small suburb where she goes to school. She has a secret admirer in an odd boy named Cameron Whitley, who lives nearby. Her rival for babysitting jobs, Jade Dixon-Burns, doesn’t like her much because they are opposites in many ways. She is popular at Jefferson High School. So, when Lucinda is found murdered on a playground carousel, there are plenty of secrets that will be revealed as police investigate her death.
One man on the investigation team is Officer Russ Fletcher, who was once partners with Cameron’s father. Cameron is a very talented artist, and also prone to wandering the neighborhood at night, watching people through their windows, including Lucinda. He calls these his Statue Nights since he stands as still as a statue while he watches. Due to his odd behavior, he gets harassed at school, especially when a popular girl tells a teacher that she thinks Cameron is the type of kid who would bring a gun to school and shoot people. As a reader, you feel bad for the kid because he seems to have such a hard time. But, you also think, could he be a suspect?
Jade is an intelligent girl who has a bad relationship with her abusive mother. She’s also a talented writer who dreams up imaginary screenplays in her head. Her best friend, known as Zap, was dating the murdered girl, giving Jade a reason and motive to hate Lucinda. Could Jade be a suspect too?
As the investigation gets under way, more and more details come out. The suspicion falls on various people at different times, including Cameron, and the art teacher. Officer Fletcher recalls more details about Cameron’s father, who left town for some reason. We gradually learn the backstory on this too.
The book is told from the perspective of these three people, Cameron, Jade, and Officer Fletcher. Through their eyes, the reader learns about the secrets held by various characters who make up the town. The story moves along at a good pace, but not so fast that you feel like the author is just throwing facts at you. She takes time to develop the characters fully and give them well-rounded backgrounds and histories. The ending is a surprise and I didn’t see it coming at all.
I liked the fact that the characters had depth and were not just cookie-cutter characters populating the pages. They are real people to the reader, with real lives and real quirks. Flawed, just like we all are. The story is complex, but not so much that you can’t follow along. The new clues that are introduced as you read further help keep the story exciting throughout the whole book. Overall, I thought it was well done and polished. There is a moodiness to the story and the setting that the reader picks up on too. Things are not perfect in this town and the people that live there are not either. It’s quite a good book and a good solid read.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the advance reader copy I received in exchange for my honest review.