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Girl in Snow: A Novel Hardcover – August 1, 2017
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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PRAISE FOR GIRL IN SNOWBY DANYA KUKAFKA
*Best Summer Reads of 2017 Selection by * W Magazine * Marie Claire * Elle * goop * 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
“Kuafka’s bewitching first novel spins a spell of mournful confessions around a “Twin Peaks”-like centerpiece. In [her] capable hands, villainy turns out to be everywhere and nowhere, a DNA that could be found under the fingernails of everybody’s hands.”
—Marisha Pessl, The New York Times Book Review (Editor's Choice)
“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."
“One of the more interesting thrillers to come out this summer…more of a subtle, well-developed character study than murder mystery, though there are some good twists when it comes to that, too. In short, it’s a great beach read.”
“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 Gillian 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
About the Author
Danya Kukafka is a graduate of New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. Girl in Snow is her first novel.
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First and foremost- this isn't a feel good novel. The story concerns a young teenage girl who is murdered in a playground- the murder is discussed, but not to grotesque ends, nor is the topic used exploitatively. The suspects in the murder - the boyfriend, the mentally unstable boy who has been stalking her, a vengeful classmate, a warm young teacher, a shady janitor- all have their own secrets and stories, but the beauty of this novel is that nothing turns out the way you expect it to- each of these "sinners" have secrets and as the novel unfolds, your expectations about each of these characters is upended.
Like I said, this isn't a light novel. The characters are all very flawed and have pretty much given up on the idea that there's any reason left for living. But ultimately, the search for the truth ends up being a chance for salvation for many of them. The key to this book's success, at least for me, was how readable it was. I admit that I devoured this novel in two sittings- I don't know if it would have been as readable if I dipped in and out, like I usually do with books.
I think the tone of the characters reminded me a lot of "Girl on a Train"- definite "hot mess" category, with more tragedy. I'm normally super sensitive to tragic characters, but again, this book was so well written that I couldn't help but be swept up in the story.
Warning: this is one brief incident of animal abuse that is referenced in this book- I'm normally the kind of person who is incredibly sensitive to that topic and avoid anything with even a remote chance of that even being brought up. But the scene was very quick, not descriptive, and there was no suffering (it matters to me even if it is fiction). I just thought i would mention that in case anyone out there is super sensitive to that issue- avoid the kid's campout scene. You won't miss anything in the general plot.
If you like a good "who done it?" and can handle the realities of mental illness and the things that lurk in the shadows of even the safest of suburban neighborhoods, I recommend this book. Like I said- not a light read, and won't leave you feeling like the world is a wonderful place, but the characters are redeemed, the mystery surprises, and the book is hard to put down if you can get invested.
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”.
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.
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.