08 September, 2012

The Girl is Murder - Audiobook Review


Read by Rachel Botchan
Publication date: 19 July 2011 by Roaring Brook Press
ISBN 10/13: 1596436093 | 9781596436091

Keywords: World War II, Girl detective, friendship, mystery
Category: Young Adult Historical
Format: Audiobook, Hardcover, Paperback, eBook
Source: Purchased from audible.com



It's the Fall of 1942 and Iris's world is rapidly changing. Her Pop is back from the war with a missing leg, limiting his ability to do the physically grueling part of his detective work. Iris is dying to help, especially when she discovers that one of Pop's cases involves a boy at her school. Now, instead of sitting at home watching Deanna Durbin movies, Iris is sneaking out of the house, double crossing her friends, and dancing at the Savoy till all hours of the night. There's certainly never a dull moment in the private eye business.

Alethea's review:

I'm not a Veronica Mars fan (as the marketing taglines for this series insist on singling out that demographic), but there's something about the spunky girl-detective novel that never fails to please me. I'll confess that I have fond memories of a hundred Nancy Drew novels, and am currently obsessed with vintage fashion, which might explain part of why I liked this book. Some of the credit definitely goes to the reader, Rachel Botchan. She really nails not just the New York accents but also the inflections from--has it really been that long?--seventy years ago. I think I would have enjoyed this less had I tried to read it myself.

I'm actually surprised this novel kept my interest, as the beginning of the novel felt really slow. Iris is coping with many changes--not just the typical girl-becoming-woman challenges we expect of a coming-of-age novel. She's transplanted from the posh part of town to the Lower East Side, hears whispers of disapproval and malicious gossip regarding her mother's suicide the year before, and is trying to form some sort of connection with her estranged and now disabled father. It's heavy stuff, lending gravity to the story, and I can't decide whether or not it saves the rest of the book from just being a plot-driven mess.

The main mystery involves the disappearance of a boy from Iris's new school. I really enjoyed the author's skill at portraying the secondary characters: Suze, queen bee of the charmingly named "Rainbow Gang", the high school's resident hooligans, and Pearl, the plump, quiet, and defensive schoolmate Iris struggles to befriend. There's no team of good girls versus the bad girls here: everyone seems to have some bad with the good, even Iris, who makes some really terrible decisions for occasionally noble reasons. Despite all the mistakes they make, I found the characters well-rounded and likable. 

The solution of the mystery did leave something to be desired. I wouldn't call this a traditional whodunit--you're better off reading the original (or even playing the games--they're really good!) if a murder is what you're after. You'll enjoy this more if you like reading about relationships, teen problems and comparing those of today to those of yesteryear, or World War II nostalgia. 


You can find the author online at www.kathrynmillerhaines.com and on Twitter @KathrynMHaines.

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3 comments:

  1. I was intrigued because of my love for Veronica Mars, but also because I've been getting more interested in mystery novels. The audiobook sounds great with the voices and accents. Thanks for the honest review! :)

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  2. i've picked this book up several times at the library and even checked it out once or twice. but i just haven't been able to get it. i think i would like it better if the murder aspect was a bit stronger but it definitely sounds like a book i would enjoy. plus the cover is pretty awesome.

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  3. I really liked the setting but thought there were some problems with the mystery; I did think the second book was better if you decided to pick it up. Hopefully it has the same reader on audiobook!

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