Primary Genre(s): Mystery, Thriller, True Crime
Published: 23 June 2020 by Bloomsbury Publishing USA
Page count: 240 (hardcover)
My Format: eBook/ARC via NetGalley
Do I Recommend: No
Commission Link (U.S.): Buy Nothing Can Hurt You
My rating: ★★☆☆☆
On a cold day in 1997, student Sara Morgan was killed in the woods surrounding her liberal arts college in upstate New York. Her boyfriend, Blake Campbell, confessed, his plea of temporary insanity raising more questions than it answered.
In the wake of his acquittal, the case comes to haunt a strange and surprising network of community members, from the young woman who discovers Sara’s body to the junior reporter who senses its connection to convicted local serial killer John Logan. Others are looking for retribution or explanation: Sara’s half-sister, stifled by her family’s bereft silence about Blake, poses as a babysitter and seeks out her own form of justice, while the teenager Sara used to babysit starts writing to Logan in prison.
I struggled with this book quite a bit. Here are my pros and cons for Nothing Can Hurt You:
- The concept was interesting. I thought that reading a story about how a murder impacted family members and the surrounding community would be insightful and emotional.
- It is inspired by a true event.
- While the concept was intriguing, the execution of the story did not work for me. Every chapter was a vignette of new characters and discussed how they were connected to either the murder victim or the murderer and how the murder affected their lives. I was really struggling to figure out what was going on! There was no continuity between chapters and nothing even close to a normal story arc. Not that every story has to be written in one specific way, but the lack of arc/cohesiveness in this book was very awkward and difficult to read.
- Due to the format of the book, characterizations were weak. We never really get to know any of the people in the story since most of them just show up once in a vignette and never again. Everything is just surface information, almost like reading newspaper clippings. I didn’t connect to anyone.
- I was actually pretty interested in a couple of the individual vignettes and it was ultimately disappointing when I didn’t get more of some of the stories.
- The ending wasn’t an ending.
I understand the intention behind the concept – a story of love, loss, murder, and grief and how people are impacted by a horrific event. However, the way the narratives of the various people were presented in the book, I lost interest in their voices because I found myself searching for a story.
I appreciate that this book was based on a true event, and I appreciate the attempt to depict how one singular tragic event can impact so many people. The execution just didn’t work for me personally.
Thank you NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing USA for a free eARC of this book, which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
If you would like to read this book and form your own opinion, please consider purchasing through this link: Buy Nothing Can Hurt You. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!
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