Small towns are nothing if not friendly. Friendship, Wisconsin (population: 688) is no different. Around here, everyone wears a smile. And no one ever locks their doors. Until, that is, high school sweetheart Ruth Fried is found murdered. Strung up like a scarecrow in the middle of a cornfield.
Unfortunately, Friendship’s police are more adept at looking for lost pets than catching killers. So Ruth’s best friend, Kippy Bushman, armed with only her tenacious Midwestern spirit and Ruth’s secret diary (which Ruth’s mother had asked her to read in order to redact any, you know, sex parts), sets out to find the murderer. But in a quiet town like Friendship—where no one is a suspect—anyone could be the killer.
One word describes No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale; Creepy. And of course, being the brilliant person that I am, I mostly read this book at bedtime when it was dark outside and I could have the crap scared out of me. It was so vivid, so beautifully detailed, so fucking creepy. Holy smokes. I had to actually give myself lectures to not dream about scarecrow stuffed girls hanging from a tree before I went to sleep. Yes, I really just said that.
No One Else Can Have You is one of the best mystery books that I have ever read in the YA genre. With many mystery books, the plots are very obvious and predictable. No One Else Can Have You left me hanging until the very last second. Sure, I had suspects in my head, but I never really knew who did it. I guessed who it was before they were introduced at the end but that’s only because it was pretty much laid out for the reader by then. One could complain that the killer was one of my original suspects from the very beginning of the book. However, I kind of pushed them aside and thought that it was between a few other people. My only complaint is that the final showdown felt a little rushed. I would have preferred a little more time dedicated to that since almost 350 pages were dedicated to trying to figure out who did it. I also would have liked one final confrontation with the killer at the ending of the book. I felt that they had more to say, and I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to hear it. Maybe there will be a second book? I feel that this could either work as a standalone OR as a series.
On a more negative note, I did have two complaints with No One Else Can Have You. First, I didn’t like Kippy. I actually couldn’t stand her. She didn’t come off as a 16-year-old to me. She seemed a lot younger and really immature for her age. There were some times I struggled with the book, because it was just so hard being in Kippy’s head all the time. Secondly, I had a really hard time with the accents of the characters. Everyone came across as very uneducated and hickish. It was very difficult for me to like or connect to any of the characters, because I just couldn’t stand them. It was almost like every single character had something a little wrong with them. The writing itself was beautiful, but the characters were just way too annoying for my taste.
The best part of No One Else Can Have You was Kippy’s adventures and her mission to find out who really killed her friend. I may not have liked Kippy very much, but I sure did suck this book down fast. I felt like it was always holding me in suspense. I just couldn’t wait to figure out what was going to happen next. There was nothing tame or mild about this book. It was an in your face roller coaster ride that just left my heart pounding. I loved it. I loved the suspense and the tiny bit of horror to it. It scared the crap out of me. I love being able to say that about a book.
I will warn readers that there will be parts of this book that absolutely piss you off. Everyone is against Kippy finding her friends killer. They think she’s crazy and that she’s just having a mental breakdown. The things that are said and done to her in this book left me fuming. It was really difficult not to skim through those sections because they just made me so angry. At the same time, those parts are necessary for the book. It’s a brilliant book and those scenes really add to it. But they will make you so mad. You have no idea until you actually read it. There’s also a really weird section toward the end of the book. Power through it. It will be worth it!
Fans of Romily Bernard MUST read this book!
Publication Date: January 7th, 2013
Publisher: Harper Teen
Rating: [rating: 4]