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PRAISE FOR GIRL IN SNOWBY DANYA KUKAFKA
*Best Summer Reads of 2017 Selection by * W Magazine * Marie Claire * Elle * Yahoo! * Refinery29 * PureWow * Domino * InStyle.com * Today.com *
"From its startling opening line right through to its stunning conclusion, Girl in Snow is a perfectly-paced and tautly-plotted thriller. Danya Kukafka's misfit characters are richly drawn, her prose is both elegant and eerie—this is an incredibly accomplished debut.”
—Paula Hawkins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train and Into the Water
“A sensational debut—great characters, mysteries within mysteries, and page-turning pace. Highly recommended.”
—Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Jack Reacher novels
“An exciting debut from a talented new voice. Girl in Snow is a propulsive mystery set in a suburban community marked by unsettling voyeurism. Danya Kukafka patiently reveals layers of her characters’ inner lives—their ugliness and vulnerabilities—in prose that sparkles and wounds. I couldn’t put this one down.”
—Brit Bennett, New York Times bestselling author of The Mothers
“There is a frightful truth to Danya Kukafka's characterizations, and the mystery at the heart of Girl in Snow is so elegantly constructed. It's an exceptional, unnerving debut novel. I'm already counting the days until her next one.”
—Owen King, author of Double Feature and co-author of Sleeping Beauties
"Girl in Snow is a haunting, lyrical novel about love, loss, and terror. Reading it felt like entering another world, where things—and people—were not as they at first appeared. The world Kukafka so masterfully creates is suspenseful and electrifying; I was willing to follow her wherever she took me."
—Anton DiSclafani, New York Times bestselling author of The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls and The After Party
“Elegiac and involving… engagingly told… its endearing characters’ struggles linger in memory after this affecting work is done.”
—Wall Street Journal
"No AC? No problem—this icy novel brings the chills...With a knack for writing oh-so-real teenage characters and underline-worthy prose, [Kukafka] weaves a tale of voyeurism and obsession that’s impossible to put down."
—WMagazine.com, Top Ten New Books to Read in August
"Newcomer Kukafka breathes new life into a common mystery trope...This smart, fast-paced novel is one that readers will be proud to flaunt beachside or elsewhere."
"Kukafka’s clever narrative tricks...propel the narrative forward. And while the novel employs a full checklist of teen tropes throughout, from abusive parents to fractured love triangles, there is enough narrative muscle to compel the reader to stick with it until the end."
"Kukafka attempts to subvert preconceptions, principally of what is expected of the thriller genre, but succeeds more pointedly in destabilizing the biases toward illegal immigration, mental illness, law enforcement, and presentations of sexuality sewn into our country’s fabric…Kukafka expertly plays with the idealization of the golden girl, with what it means to be seen as female. One of the more surprising aspects of the book is its audacious dissection of this femininity... By weaving these narrative perspectives together…we gain heightened intimacy and understanding of three unique psychologies and are also forced to reckon with our own preconceived notions of beauty, gender, mental ability, and various manifestations of power…The characters in Girl in Snow often rail against the ways they are perceived, but are nevertheless begging to be seen, asking for an audience; they seek a space to express themselves. This duality, of wanting to exist while not wanting to be categorized or wrongly labeled or objectified, is as much the novel’s core as the murder mystery itself. Kukafka is shrewd to remind us that as readers, we too are indulging in the spectacle."
“Combining elements of Bill Clegg’s Did You Ever Have a Family with Dennis Lehane's contemporary classic Mystic River, Danya Kukafka’s debut novel is an intricate, seductive murder mystery, in which a single awful crime exposes conflicts and traumas in an entire community…Girl in Snow is not just an impressive debut but one of the best literary mysteries to come along in some time.”
"This brooding and intense thriller will plunge readers into a dark world they may not want to enter—but they may be unable to tear themselves free…This unlikely trio of narrators gives readers a different look into the idyllic, small-town life, and how not everything is as it appears on the surface."
"Hard to believe this whodunit is from a fist-time author. Think Gillan Flynn of 2017."
“A cool literary mystery to get you through the season's heat."
"Danya Kukafka makes a compelling case for the next Girl on the Train with a fast-paced thriller about a young girl whose body is found on a school playground in the dead of winter, leaving an obsessive loner, a jealous classmate, and a police officer as the prime suspects."
—InStyle.com, 5 Page-Turning Books You Should Read in August
"If you loved Paula Hawkins' The Girl on the Train, then you shouldn’t miss this thriller."
"A dark and lyrical literary thriller."
"Another summer, another great “girl” murder book. “Girl in Snow,” by Danya Kukafka, starts with a dead high school student and keeps you glued to your seat right up until the finish."
"A must-read debut thriller...GIRL IN SNOW is an unforgettable first novel you won’t want to miss!"
About the Author
- Word Wise : Enabled
- File Size : 2310 KB
- Print Length : 366 pages
- ASIN : B01MFEYUHA
- Publisher : Simon & Schuster; Reprint Edition (August 1, 2017)
- Publication Date : August 1, 2017
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Language: : English
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Page Numbers Source ISBN : 1509829938
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #188,185 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Did it? Honestly, I did not care after I got to the end because this book moved as slow as molasses in wintertime. It was a slog of literature. 2.5 Stars for me. Just not interesting and the characters were not compelling.
Perhaps the number one suspect is Cameron who's a known stalker or peeping Tom. Actually he's so bewitched by Lucinda he can't stop watching her, especially at night. Cameron's father doesn't help either. He was a former police officer who was tried for assaulting a woman who later turned out to be his mistress. He disappears after being found not guilty.
Russ is the patrolman assigned to the case, and Lee Whitley, Cameron's father, is Russ Fletcher's former partner. Russ has a secret involving Lee. Before Lee left he asked Russ to take care of his son, so Russ does everything he possibly can to make sure Cameron is not charged. That's not the secret.
Perhaps number two on the list of suspects is Jade, a somewhat overweight Goth girl who was jealous of Lucinda. Lucinda was a blond cheerleader type, and her friends made fun of Jade, but her main reason for hating her was Lucinda's relationship with Zap, Lucinda's childhood friend who grew distant when they started high school. Lucinda and Jade also babysat for the Thornton's, and Jade was losing more and more babysitting work to Lucinda. Jade adds a stylistic device to the novel. She's writing a screenplay dealing with the murder: “What You Want To Say But Can't Without Being a Dick”.
Russ is married to a Mexican woman whose brother just got out of jail. He found religion there and has started his own church, but as an ex-con he's still a suspect.
I am a mystery aficionado. I can usually spot who done it almost immediately, but not with this one, and I can bet you a dollar to a doughnut (please excuse the cliché) you can't either. Let's just say that Lucinda was not the perfect little angel everybody thought she was. That's one of the faults of the book. It's hard to believe that a fifteen-year-old girl was this “experienced”.
Unlike many suspense novels, I felt myself caring about and searching for the answers to all of the mysterious plots, both main and sub.
And there were plenty of them.
The main mystery, as the title implies, is finding out who killed Lucinda Hayes, who was found in the snow of a small Colorado town’s school playground.
There are many people who could have done it, including a couple of narrators. But somewhere along the way, I almost stopped caring about whether or not one of them did it. Getting to know teenagers Cameron Whitley, who may or may not be a budding sociopath, and Jade, a girl who envied Lucinda but had worse problems than a romantic rivalry.
Then there is the cop, Russ, who is on the outskirts of the investigation, so we get a glimpse into that process. But, more than that, we get background on Whitley’s father, a disgraced former police officer in that same small town.
If I had one complaint about Girl in Snow, it’s this: There may have been a bit too much of a focus on writing, and perhaps not enough on keeping the plots moving.
Take Russ’ subplot concerning Whitley’s father. Without giving anything away, I can tell you the punch line was not relevant to much of the rest of the novel and could have been completed earlier, leading to a bit more investigation/procedure writing. There are other soft spots in the novel that, had I been the editor, would have been shortened or cut completely. But Kaufka is a young writer, and I expect her future works to get tighter and shine even more.
But those are finer points to discuss. Overall, I really enjoyed reading Girl in Snow and was pleased with both the beautiful writing and the overall plot.
This book felt like Everything I Never Told You meets The Lovely Bones with a pinch of Megan Abbott amid the dark and twisted teens.
Highly recommended! I can't wait to see what this young author does next.
Unfortunately her storytelling style -- through the eyes of Cameron, Jade and Russ -- seemed derivative of too many other mysteries over the last decade.
And in Russ she seemed to have selected one of the least interesting perspectives. Zap or especially Ivan might have been a better choice.
Still, this was a good first effort, and I'll give her next novel a chance.
Top reviews from other countries
Each page turned not in excitement but in the hope that it may get interesting.
It never happened!