Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka
Rating: 4 stars
Expected publication date: August 1, 2017
Note: I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Girl in Snow is a look at three characters’ lives through the lens of a mystery: a teenage girl in Colorado found dead in the snow in the middle of a playground at night. She was hit with a blunt object and then snapped her neck on the carousel in the playground as she fell. Each of the three characters is affected by this tragedy in their own way. Russ is one of the town’s police officers, all of whom are on the first murder case their sleepy town has seen in years. Cameron is a younger student who was obsessed with the murdered girl, who was only a few years ahead of him in school. Jade is a lonely teenager who was jealous of the dead girl’s perfect life.
I loved the detail and distinct voices for each of the three different characters. I loved Jade’s story the most, as it resonated with my high school years. I was not the popular kid, and watching the girls who seemed to have everything going for them so effortlessly was crushing. I know now that despite their popularity they had issues of their own. When you’re 15 though, it’s hard consider that they have troubles when you’ve never been asked out or even invited into any friend group.
Cameron’s story was also incredibly sad, since he needed more help than he was getting. He was obsessed with the murdered girl to an unhealthy level, but not violent. He needed help, but his overworked mother and teachers weren’t able to see or didn’t want to believe he was so far past ‘normal.’ The rumors among the kids at school, and even the adults in the town, spread quickly and viscously, especially since his father was guilty of a terrible violent crime before he ran away years before.
Russ was the least complex character at first, but then Kukafka starts to peel back layers of him throughout the story. While he still isn’t my favorite, by the end he really exemplified one of the main lessons throughout the book: other people are more complex than we give them credit for.
If you are looking for a complex thriller, this isn’t for you. While the mystery is the center of the story, the main focus is on the inner lives of the three POV characters and how interconnected they show the town to be.
I recommend this for anyone looking for a character study with a mystery thrown in, similar to Tornado Weather.