I received a copy from Netgalley.
When I first tried to mark this book as currently reading on Goodreads, I couldn't for the life of me figure out why Goodreads was trying to tell me I was actually reading The Vanishing season by the same author, which I had also marked as to read. And then when I looked at the Vanishing Season again, I had a duh! moment and realised oh, its the same book, just with a different title.
Either way, I really enjoyed this book. It wasn't what I was expecting, teenage mystery in a small town with ghosts and a serial killer. It was a somewhat bittersweet look at teenage life in a small town in winter in the middle of nowhere. And yes, there was a murder mystery and a paranormal element to it, that wasn't the focus of the story.
The focus of the story was between three characters, Maggie, who moves to the town, and life long residents Liam and Pauline. The story tells budding friendships and romances. And almost nothing happens in the plot until right up at the end. There's a some what unnerving filter through the story of chapters told in a first person point of view by an unnamed person who appears to be watching everything...
Maggie is one of the most likeable heroines I have come across in a long time. Down to earth, very level headed and sensible, cautious, snarky and someone very easy to relate to. Maggie has to deal with new friends and new surroundings, dealing with family difficulties. Pauline is kind of flaky, a little dim, a rich girl with seemingly no sense of direction who talks a mile a minute. She does seem to have some moments when there's hints of a deeper personality hidden. Through most of the book she's flaky, but she's fun. Nice and not a complete ditz. Though her actions later on in the book made me dislike her quite a lot. The love interest is Liam, who is a total sweetheart. A nice decent quy, who has known Pauline forever but becomes friends with Maggie quite quickly.
Despite the slow almost meandering plot, the writing is absorbing, reading about these characters in their wonderful small town in winter, with the uncomfortable background of dead girls turning up every now and then. And the chapters from the unknown voice floating through watching it all.
And the end...the end was a twist I never saw coming. An absolute heartbreaker. Again, wonderfully written, but still heartbreaking.
I got auto approval from Hatchette Children's on Netgalley and this was one the titles I ummed and ahhed over for a while and finally decided to go for it. I'm glad I did. It was a fantastic read.
Also crosses off a square for Summer Bingo - A Stand Alone.