Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Thicker Than Water - Brigid Kemmerer

Forget I ever said I don't like paranormal/sci-fi books, I have been converted. After reading Thicker Than Water I've not only purchased every Brigid Kemmerer book I can (the Elemental series), but I'm actually considering adding the genre to my review list. It's not that I ever 100% disliked it, I went through a witch/ghost/vampire stage in high school, but I haven't read one on purpose in over 8 years. Thicker Than Water sneaks up on you, you won't be expecting it, but it certainly adds to the mystery and charm of this book.

Rating: 4 Stars
Published: December 29, 2015
Many thanks to Netgalley for providing an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Amazon Goodreads
Thomas Bellweather has just lost his mother, in just ten days his entire life has changed. Not only had she just been married and they'd just moved to a new town, but now she's murdered and he's living with a stepdad, Stan, who he doesn't even really know. To add salt to the wound, the entire town, including the police force, thinks he's the murderer. Charlotte Rooker, from a family of four cops, believes he's innocent, it's just too bad that every time they're around one another something bad seems to happen. As Thomas receives glares from every person, Charlotte, and her bestie, are there to help him put together the pieces of what could have possibly happened to his mom and answer the questions that have plagued the town since a similar murder happened years prior.

Don't let the blurb fool you, this book is anything but ordinary or simple. Upon every page turn, a new scenario or character was introduced to this book. As the murder mystery begins to unwind, we slowly are introduced to everyone who has the slightest interest in what happened to Thomas' mother. Our main characters, Thomas and Charlotte, attract the oddest of attention, which should have given me clues right away, but didn't. I was left shocked until the very end. Thomas is a hard character to read, he's never been super close to his mom, he doesn't have the best reputation, and for some reason he's attracting a lot of fights. Not only that, but he doesn't remember small things, things that happen during the fight. His inner monologue provides for the best read, he views things from such a mature perspective. Charlotte is our goodie two shoes, except she doesn't want to be anymore and Thomas is too good looking to not break the rules for. While their chemistry wasn't off the charts or anything, they made a good couple as they dealt with the unfamiliarity of guilty stares, overbearing family members, and a twist that could shock anyone.

The big twist is something you will not see coming, even if you've read Brigid Kemmerer's previous books. It's so expertly weaved into the story that when the truth was revealed, I flipped back to see if I had missed something. I hadn't. There are secrets at every turn, there's drama and angst, and fists flying all the time. I loved how Kemmerer weaved the townspeople's thoughts into the story, while the reader believed Thomas' innocence it was so easy to feel the hatred pouring out of the other characters. As a reader, this one piles on the emotions, at times you want to cheer for Thomas, shake him for being dumb, and pat Charlotte on the back for facing her family, even if she's darn idiotic when she does so.

I did not like the alternating POV style for this book, because I felt like I was reading a book from the perspective of country mouse and city mouse. The main characters were polar opposites and while they had distinct voices, it took away from the chemistry I was sure they should have had. For being drawn to one another so quickly, I felt like they were best friends and not teenagers caught up in taking the next step in their relationship. It was almost hard to believe the steps both were willing to take to be together, even though they had to know it would not ever turn out well. However, their relationship really lends to the stories climax and left me shocked. The twist near the middle of the book, that I can't spoil for readers, changes the entire direction of the story. While I grew to love the change in direction, I wish I had seen it coming, at least sort of. It totally surprised me and while the rest of the twists continued to happen to reach the climax, I sort of held onto the first big reveal trying to understand it.

Brigid Kemmerer delivers one heck of a story in this YA mystery, part paranormal and part thriller it will absolutely leave you guessing as you read. I enjoyed the mystery and putting together the pieces of the puzzle with the characters. Unfortunately, there is a cliffhanger of an ending and I do not know if a sequel is in the works or not. It doesn't take away from the story, but it certainly leaves you wondering. I absolutely recommend Thicker Than Water to those looking to shake up their YA bookshelf.

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