Twisted Summer – Willo Davis Roberts

 Twisted Summer – Willo Davis Roberts, Simon Pulse, (9781481486224), 2017 (reprint)

Format: paperback

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 2

Genre: mystery

What did you like about the book? Cici is spending the summer on the lake with all her extended family including Grandma Molly and Judge, her stepgrandfather who bankrolls the large family compound and sets all the rules. Cici can’t wait to get there because she has been away for two summers and she has missed her friend Jack, who is the son of the family’s cook, Lina. Jack is older and Cici is desperate for him to see her as one of the “big kids” and possibly even as a potential love interest. When Cici arrives, however, she is surprised to find that Lina doesn’t work at the family compound anymore because her older son Brody is in jail for murder of a girl from another family on the lake, Zoe. Cici is shocked and doesn’t believe Brody could have killed Zoe; Jack agrees with her and together they work to unravel clues as to who could have really murdered Zoe and hopefully clear Brody’s name. I didn’t actually like very much about the book. The setting was interesting and the suspense builds nicely.

Anything you didn’t like about it? The book felt very dialogue-heavy and I got confused about all the characters at times. With all the dialogue and too many characters, all the characters felt flat and I didn’t connect with any of them, even Cici. The language and situations are also dated. Present day readers will be wondering why Cici doesn’t look up information about the murders on the internet or why she doesn’t just text for help when she is shot at in the woods. The lack of modern-day technology isn’t explained at all; I suspect no words were changed from the 1996 version of this book. It just doesn’t hold up very well. It’s not just the lack of technology that is a problem. Some of the language around gender is very dated, as well. At one point it is suggested that Zoe was responsible for her own death because of her bad behavior.

To whom would you recommend this book? I don’t recommend libraries purchase this reprint.

Who should buy this book? Libraries with a strong demand for mysteries.

Where would you shelve it ? mystery

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Laura Gardner, Dartmouth Middle School, Dartmouth, MA

Date of review: August 10, 2017


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