ARC Review: This Is Our Story

9:00:00 AM

Genre: YA, Mystery, Thriller
Publish Date: November 15, 2016 by Disney-Hyperion Books
Rating: ★★★★ 4/5 Stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher at ALA Annual Conference in exchange for an honset review.

Synopsis (from Goodreads): No one knows what happened that morning at River Point. Five boys went hunting. Four came back. The boys won’t say who fired the shot that killed their friend; the evidence shows it could have been any one of them. 

Kate Marino’s senior year internship at the District Attorney’s Office isn’t exactly glamorous—more like an excuse to leave school early that looks good on college applications. Then the DA hands her boss, Mr. Stone, the biggest case her small town of Belle Terre has ever seen. The River Point Boys are all anyone can talk about. Despite their damning toxicology reports the morning of the accident, the DA wants the boys’ case swept under the rug. He owes his political office to their powerful families.

Kate won’t let that happen. Digging up secrets without revealing her own is a dangerous line to walk; Kate has her own reasons for seeking justice for Grant. As she and Stone investigate—the ageing prosecutor relying on Kate to see and hear what he cannot—she realizes that nothing about the case—or the boys—is what it seems. Grant wasn’t who she thought he was, and neither is Stone’s prime suspect. As Kate gets dangerously close to the truth, it becomes clear that the early morning accident might not have been an accident at all—and if Kate doesn’t uncover the true killer, more than one life could be on the line…including her own.

If you’re a fan of the ABC show How to Get Away With Murder, you’ll most certainly enjoy This Is Our Story. This book was a pleasant surprise, as you all know by now that contemporaries aren't my favorite reads. But this one blew me away, as I found it hard to put down and tore through it in a matter of days. The book follows the complex mystery of five boys who go hunting one morning, the accident that ensues that results in only four boys leaving the woods that day, and the girl caught in the midst of it all as she interns at the DA’s office. Kate knows one of the boys is innocent, but how far is she willing to go to prove his innocence? Who is she willing to condemn in the process? And most of all, can she figure out who really shot Grant that morning before all four boys get indicted for a crime only one of them committed?
This novel was rife with twists and turns and kept me on the edge of my seat at every single cliffhanger. I spent every spare moment I had in between my classes and my free moments on weekends with my nose in this book. In fact, I was nearly late to my Thursday math lecture one week because I was so fixated on the plot! The night I finished this book, I didn’t stop until 1:30 in the morning, I just had to know how it ended that badly.
Without giving away too much of the plot, I really enjoyed the suspense and mystery that came with the whole whodunit aspect. Who could we trust, and who was to be suspected? I was second guessing myself constantly, even suspecting those I knew to be innocent at one point or another! I loved the use of Kate’s skills as a photographer being an integral part of solving the case, what with the DA’s advanced onset macular degeneration. His eyesight impaired, it all hinged on Kate’s talents with a camera lens to analyze body language in interview tapes and in spying on the suspects at school. The flipping of points of view between Kate and the killer, whose identity remained a mystery right up until the very end, added to the thrill of it all. Punctuated with interview transcripts of Kate’s body language analyses, the mystery of the River Point Boys and who killed Grant felt plausible. I loved the procedural crime aspect of the story, and how Kate’s internship with the DA provided the behind-the-scenes knowledge of solving the crime from the law side of things.
The romance in the book, while not at the forefront of things, still felt slightly forced. As if it was included more out of obligation rather than to further the story. The side characters and their romances and plotlines mostly felt like filler or red herrings to distract from the solving of the mystery; but they felt equally as necessary, if that makes sense, so that the already heavy story about a murder mystery wasn’t entirely focused on the grim details. It just felt like the characters too easily forgot about the fact their classmate was shot to death and they were going to school alongside one or all of his potential killers.

However, the bits I took issue with were not enough to overshadow the fantastic plot and the masterful weaving of suspense and mystery into the overall story. I thoroughly enjoyed trying to solve the mystery alongside Kate, and even I couldn’t correctly guess who the killer was! I almost wish it hadn’t ended, because I am itching for another good mystery to solve after this one.

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Giselle has read 5 books toward her goal of 50 books.