Book Review: Girl In Snow

GIRL IN SNOW | Danya Kukafka
08.01.2017 | Simon & Schuster
Rating: 3/5 stars

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Popular high school student Lucinda Hayes has been found murdered in a playground with her neck snapped and buried in the snow. Who has committed this terrible crime? Enter in the novel’s three narrators: Cameron, the boy who loved Lucinda too much; Jade, the unpopular girl who envied Lucinda’s life; and Russ, the local cop who is assigned to find out what happened.

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I have a theory: faking shock is easier than faking sadness. Shock is a more basic emotion than sadness – it’s just an inflated version of surprise.

Each chapter of GIRL IN SNOW is told by one of the narrators in a way that unravels the story of what happened to Lucinda on that fateful night, ultimately leading us to our killer. Along the journey we get to know Cameron, Jade, and Russ. We learn their personal struggles, the strange ways in which they are connected to each other, and how at the end of each day we all hold secrets from the people closest to us. While Lucinda Hayes may be gone forever, the ways in which she has touched our narrators will remain through time.

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She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies

Danya Kukafka’s debut novel is a character study into three seemingly different individuals who are in reality more similar than they know. Cameron, Jade, and Russ each hold a secret near their heart that they would do anything to keep from being revealed. The narratives individually and together weave a story of heartbreaking loss stemming from a love that turned to obsession. Despite vastly different stories, the damage is just as great for each character.

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It occurred to him how you could watch people all their lives. You could watch them sing along to music, but you’d never hear what song. You could watch them drink cups of tea before bed, but you’d never know the bitterness on their tongue. You could watch them talk on the phone, but they could be in love with the person on the other end of the line. Sight was useful, and also beautiful – but it was not necessarily truth.

Unfortunately, promotion of this novel, led me to believe that I was picking up a mystery/thriller, which this novel very much is not. I was disappointed as I expected more of an exhilarating story than I received. I was never able to truly feel sucked into this novel and despite wanting to know who the murderer was, my reading speed slowed down dramatically in the middle of this book. Kukafka’s GIRL IN SNOW would be perfect for a reader looking for a character study, but those looking for a true thriller should look elsewhere.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster, Danya Kukafka, and NetGalley for providing me a free digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest and unbiased view.

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