Feature & Giveaway: Fav Epistolary Novels You May Have Missed
Over the past few months, I’ve picked up some extraordinary audiobooks, which have turned out to be epistolary and in-verse stories. I highly recommend these via audio but the physical book experience is also enhanced! Leave me a comment and give me some recs to add to my list plus enter to win a copy of one of my favs, I Killed Zoe Spanos!
Fav Non-Prose Novels You May Have Missed
I Killed Zoe Spanosby Kit Frick, Jenni Barber, Jayme Mattler
on June 30, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
A People Best Book of Summer 2020 A Parade Best Book of Summer 2020 “The YA thriller of the summer.” —Bustle
First print edition includes blue sprayed edges!
For fans of Sadie and Serial, this gripping thriller follows two teens whose lives become inextricably linked when one confesses to murder and the other becomes determined to uncover the real truth no matter the cost.
What happened to Zoe won’t stay buried…
When Anna Cicconi arrives to the small Hamptons village of Herron Mills for a summer nanny gig, she has high hopes for a fresh start. What she finds instead is a community on edge after the disappearance of Zoe Spanos, a local girl who has been missing since New Year’s Eve. Anna bears an eerie resemblance to Zoe, and her mere presence in town stirs up still-raw feelings about the unsolved case. As Anna delves deeper into the mystery, stepping further and further into Zoe’s life, she becomes increasingly convinced that she and Zoe are connected—and that she knows what happened to her.
Two months later, Zoe’s body is found in a nearby lake, and Anna is charged with manslaughter. But Anna’s confession is riddled with holes, and Martina Green, teen host of the Missing Zoe podcast, isn’t satisfied. Did Anna really kill Zoe? And if not, can Martina’s podcast uncover the truth?
Inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, Kit Frick weaves a thrilling story of psychological suspense that twists and turns until the final page.
Fans of Sadie and A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder will love this not only for the story but for the full cast, full production audiobook! This book features texting visuals to add to the investigation vibe.
Nobody Knows but Youby Anica Mrose Rissi
Published by: HarperCollins/Quill Tree
on September 8, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Maybe a killer only looks like a killer in the moment just before, during, or after.
Maybe a liar, a good one, never shows it.
Kayla is still holding on to Lainie’s secrets.
After all, Lainie is Kayla’s best friend. And despite Lainie’s painful obsession with her on-again, off-again boyfriend, and the ways he has tried to come between them, friends don’t spill each other’s secrets. They don’t betray each other’s trust.
The murder at the end of the summer doesn’t change all that.
Besides—Kayla knows that the truth is not the whole story.
The unreliable narrator taken up a notch by an epistolary format. I thought I knew what was up several times through the story only to be taken by surprise. Enjoyable and perfect choice for spooky season!
Sadieby Courtney Summers
Published by: Wednesday Books
on September 4, 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
A missing girl on a journey of revenge. A Serial―like podcast following the clues she's left behind. And an ending you won't be able to stop talking about.
Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.
But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.
When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.
Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. Sadie is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.
Before I listened to the audiobook, I had started the podcast (free for you all to listen to, too!). Every week I was excited to see what the podcast would uncover, making the story even more real. This was carried over to the audiobook, brought to life by Rebecca Soler as Sadie, alongside all of the other amazing voices.
The Truth Projectby Dante Medema
Published by: Quill Tree Books
on October 13, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary
Seventeen-year-old Cordelia Koenig was sure of many things going into her last year of high school. For one, she wasn’t going to stress over the senior project all her peers were dreading—she’d just use the same find-your-roots genealogy idea that her older sister used for hers. Secondly, she’d put all that time spent not worrying about the project toward getting reacquainted with former best friend and longtime crush Kodiak Jones who, conveniently, gets assigned as Cordelia’s partner.
All she has to do is mail in her DNA sample, write about her ancestry results and breeze through the rest of senior year. Done, done and done.
But when Cordelia’s GeneQuest results reveal that her father is not the man she thought he was but a stranger who lives thousands of miles away, Cordelia realizes she isn’t sure of anything anymore—not the mother who lied, the life she was born into or the girl staring back at her in the mirror.
If your life began with a lie, how can you ever be sure of what’s true?
I haven’t read The Truth Project yet (it’s out tomorrow!) but I do know it’s told through texts, emails, and poetry! It also sounds like the perfect book to break your heart and put it back together again.
A Good Girl's Guide to Murder (A Good Girl's Guide to Murder, #1)by Holly Jackson
Published by: Delacorte Press
on February 4, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery
For readers of Kara Thomas and Karen McManus, an addictive, twisty crime thriller with shades of Serial and Making a Murderer about a closed local murder case that doesn't add up, and a girl who's determined to find the real killer--but not everyone wants her meddling in the past.
Everyone in Fairview knows the story.
Pretty and popular high school senior Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who then killed himself. It was all anyone could talk about. And five years later, Pip sees how the tragedy still haunts her town.
But she can't shake the feeling that there was more to what happened that day. She knew Sal when she was a child, and he was always so kind to her. How could he possibly have been a killer?
Now a senior herself, Pip decides to reexamine the closed case for her final project, at first just to cast doubt on the original investigation. But soon she discovers a trail of dark secrets that might actually prove Sal innocent . . . and the line between past and present begins to blur. Someone in Fairview doesn't want Pip digging around for answers, and now her own life might be in danger.
This is the story of an investigation turned obsession, full of twists and turns and with an ending you'll never expect.
One of my favorite reads of this year and completely unforgettable. Good Girl’s Guide is told through a variety of media, as any good investigation is. I can’t wait to see what book 2 brings.
These two picks are told in prose but have other immersive experiences (especially by audio) that make them worth mentioning here.
None Shall Sleepby Ellie Marney
on September 1, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery
The Silence of the Lambs meets Sadie in this riveting psychological thriller about two teenagers teaming up with the FBI to track down juvenile serial killers.
In 1982, two teenagers—serial killer survivor Emma Lewis and US Marshal candidate Travis Bell—are recruited by the FBI to interview convicted juvenile killers and provide insight and advice on cold cases. From the start, Emma and Travis develop a quick friendship, gaining information from juvenile murderers that even the FBI can't crack. But when the team is called in to give advice on an active case—a serial killer who exclusively hunts teenagers—things begin to unravel. Working against the clock, they must turn to one of the country's most notorious incarcerated murderers for help: teenage sociopath Simon Gutmunsson. Despite Travis's objections, Emma becomes the conduit between Simon and the FBI team. But while Simon seems to be giving them the information they need to save lives, he's an expert manipulator playing a very long game...and he has his sights set on Emma.
Captivating, harrowing, and chilling, None Shall Sleep is an all-too-timely exploration of not only the monsters that live among us, but also the monsters that live inside us.
None Shall Sleep is set during the 80s, but if it wasn’t, I believe Ellie Marney would have used media to enhance the story of two youth who team up with the FBI to find a serial killer. I read a lot of adult thrillers around serial killers and their investigators but I don’t often have the pleasure of reading YA thrillers like this. This audiobook has a full cast, with serial killer Simon voiced by Jake Abel. Jake has the perfect amount of poise and creep built into his voice (see: Edward Cullen and Adam Milligan). I loved the historical setting, pulling out modern technology and bringing the stakes up.
We Are Not Freeby Traci Chee
Published by: HMH Books for Young Readers
on September 1, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
“All around me, my friends are talking, joking, laughing. Outside is the camp, the barbed wire, the guard towers, the city, the country that hates us. We are not free. But we are not alone.”
From New York Times best-selling and acclaimed author Traci Chee comes We Are Not Free, the collective account of a tight-knit group of young Nisei, second-generation Japanese American citizens, whose lives are irrevocably changed by the mass U.S. incarcerations of World War II.
Fourteen teens who have grown up together in Japantown, San Francisco. Fourteen teens who form a community and a family, as interconnected as they are conflicted. Fourteen teens whose lives are turned upside down when over 100,000 people of Japanese ancestry are removed from their homes and forced into desolate incarceration camps. In a world that seems determined to hate them, these young Nisei must rally together as racism and injustice threaten to pull them apart.
Traci not only created a deeply personal story but she used 14 unique POVs to tell it. Jana has a review coming for this story, which gave her a forever book hangover!
I Hope You're Listeningby Tom Ryan
Published by: AW Teen
on October 6, 2020
Genres: Young Adult, Thriller, GLBTQIA+
In her small town, seventeen year-old Delia “Dee” Skinner is known as the girl who wasn’t taken. Ten years ago, she witnessed the abduction of her best friend, Sibby. And though she told the police everything she remembered, it wasn’t enough. Sibby was never seen again.
At night, Dee deals with her guilt by becoming someone else: the Seeker, the voice behind the popular true crime podcast Radio Silent, which features missing persons cases and works with online sleuths to solve them. Nobody knows Dee’s the Seeker, and she plans to keep it that way.When another little girl goes missing, and the case is linked to Sibby’s disappearance, Dee has a chance to get answers, with the help of her virtual detectives and the intriguing new girl at school. But how much is she willing to reveal about herself in order to uncover the truth? Dee’s about to find out what’s really at stake in unraveling the mystery of the little girls who vanished.
I Hope You’re Listening reminds me of Gwenda Bond/Rachel Caine/Carrie Ryan’s Dead Air, with shared prose and podcast styling. Transcripts of the podcast serve to bring you deeper into the mystery while the prose keeps you firmly in the day to day. They’re interwoven, begging you to ask how much of the Seeker is in Dee and how much of Dee is in the Seeker.
Enter to win a copy of I Killed Zoe Spanos. US only. Click on the Instagram post below to enter!