What first drew me to this book was its cool title and the fact there wasn’t a knife on the front cover. That bothered me. A Lot. So of course? I had to read this book. Then I read a synopsis of the book and I really had to read it…because it seemed to be right up my alley. Let me tell you about it and you can decide if it’s also for you!
Lots of people attend college reunions for various reasons–to reconnect, to revisit the free-est time of one’s life, and some (in this story) to solve a ten year old murder. Our main character Jessica is excited to return to her 10 year college reunion, but not necessarily to reunite with her friends (famously known as the tight knit group the East House Seven), but to show everyone else how perfect her life has become, how perfect she’s become and how much she’s achieved. She has pushed the fact that one of her best friends was brutally murdered in their room their final semester of college as far from her mind as possible. When five of the seven reunite, all secrets past and present reveal the fact that no one is flawless. So while Jess looks picture perfect, she’s hiding the fact from herself and her friends that she’s not sure what happened the night her roommate, Heather was stabbed seventeen times…Jessica was always envious of Heather, the pretty little rich girl who got everything she always wanted Uncomfortable truths will be revealed.
I really enjoyed this book! It’s not perfect, the last 45-50 pages were a lot, but by bouncing between past and present day we get a very clear picture of Jess and what has shaped her into the person she is today. It also shows the dynamics of a larger best friend group. Group friendships are tricky, because individual wants and needs aren’t always the same as the collectives’ wants and needs. Also, add the fact that some members of the group pair off and begin dating, it naturally causes a wide gamut of emotions and not everyone feels like they’re on equal footing in the friendship. Pair this whole situation with college freshmen who don’t truly know who they are yet, and there’s a lot to mine in those interpersonal relationships. There are plenty of things that would play out differently if the characters were mature adults, but there are plenty of things that remain the same because as much as we grow, there can be seminal events that don’t allow us to change (without a lot of work). We watch them grow and change throughout their college years and then see how much has changed and how much has stayed the same as we reunite with the crew at their reunion.
I figured out who the murderer was with a few of the clues, however, there were moments (more than two) that I wasn’t 100% sure that my assumption was correct. This is not a book for those looking for great introspection or high literature–this is the literary version of any actor who chews the scenery gleefully, let’s picture Al Pacino or Jack Nicholson. The characters are not subtle and they’re not necessarily developed like “real people”, but that didn’t keep me from enjoying it 100%.