Saturday, April 14, 2012

[Book Review] Mister Death’s Blue-Eyed Girls by Mary Downing Hahn (ARC Version)

Summary(from Amazon): Based on an actual crime in 1955, this YA novel is at once a mystery and a coming-ofage story. The brutal murder of two teenage girls on the last day of Nora Cunningham’s junior year in high school throws Nora into turmoil. Her certainties—friendships, religion, her prudence, her resolve to find a boyfriend taller than she is—are shaken or cast off altogether. Most people in Elmgrove, Maryland, share the comforting conviction that Buddy Novak, who had every reason to want his ex-girlfriend dead, is responsible for the killings. Nora agrees at first, then begins to doubt Buddy’s guilt, and finally comes to believe him innocent—the lone dissenting voice in Elmgrove. Told from several different perspectives, including that of the murderer, Mister Death’s Blue-Eyed Girls is a suspenseful page-turner with a powerful human drama at its core.


A couple of weeks ago, Katy Budget Books asked if there were readers willing to read ARCs and review for them. I jumped at the chance to get some new books. This book just so happened to be one of the books that I picked up the day I went.

Although the book has a very strange and confusing start, it immediately picked up and grabbed my attention. While I’ve read that other readers do not like how the point of views changed, I actually found it very refreshing since I’m doing something similar in my own writing. What I liked about her writing was that she kept it in first person (minus Mister Death’s point of view, but I found that the way she wrote his point of view was very fitting).  The reader was literally in the mind of all the important people in the novel and unlike most writing, you (the reader) get to know what every one of them thinks about certain events. There’s no imagining or filling in what you think they are thinking about.

While I am a Christian girl and most definitely do believe in God, I found Nora’s doubts very realistic. Everyone questions the way they were raised up. Everyone questions what their parents are telling them. Everyone questions how even their friends think. Right after finishing this book, I was kind of upset, I’m not gonna lie. I wanted it to have a different ending. I wanted Nora to realize that God isn’t the bad guy, humans are. But the more I think about it, the more I like what Hahn’s did. One positive thing that I took from the book was that she shows that God gives us free will. He doesn’t force us to believe in him. He doesn’t force us to go to church. He wants us to believe in him. He wants to have a close relationship with us. It’s religion that forces these zillion of rules on us. Even if that wasn’t the writer’s intention to make her readers think in that sort of way, but I tend to have my own mind.

4 out of 5 for Mister Death’s Blue-Eyed Girls by Mary Downing Hahn.

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