Are you in a reading slump? Don’t worry, we at THP have the perfect books for you! We’re excited to review Killing Time by Brenna Ehrlich, a YA thriller about a small-town girl trying to investigate the murder of her favorite teacher. Even if you don’t typically read thrillers or murder mysteries, Killing Time is a great introduction to the genre. Here’s what we love about this book, without any spoilers!
Content Warnings: violence, murder, suicide
Summary: Summer in Ferry, Connecticut, has always meant long, lazy days at the beach and wild nights partying in the abandoned mansions on the edge of town. Until now, that is.
Natalie Temple, who’s never been one for beaches or parties in the first place, is reeling from the murder of her favorite teacher, and there’s no way this true-crime-obsessed girl is going to sit back and let the rumor mill churn out lie after lie—even if she has to hide her investigation from her disapproving mom and team up with the new boy in town…
But the more Natalie uncovers, the more she realizes some secrets were never meant to be told.
We’re definitely fans of books with multiple perspectives, and Killing Time does them really well. It follows the protagonist Natalie’s perspective in the present and her mother Helen Temple’s perspective in the past. Ehrlich clearly labels the chapters in the past, and her writing doesn’t make the plot confusing to read. Readers can see a stark difference between Helen in her college years and the present Helen, which makes us want to know what changed her interests and behavior.
Killing Time is a little more than 300 pages long, but it didn’t feel like it! There were parts where we felt like we could keep reading for hours and other parts where we could find good periods to take a break. That’s a balance we can always appreciate! The plot moved at just the right pace for us, and the chapters switching perspectives helped with the pacing.
Several “Aha!” Moments
A good thriller and mystery novel keeps you on your toes from start to finish, and Killing Time is no exception! We’d be convinced that one character is the murderer in one chapter, only to change our minds two chapters later. The author leads us to think one way, but she also gives us multiple “aha!” moments. We have just enough information to make our own predictions, which may or may not turn out to be true. You’d have to read it to find out yourself!
Another thing we love about Killing Time is how realistic and well-rounded all of the characters are. Our protagonist Natalie isn’t totally good. She can be stubborn, naïve, and impulsive. But her mother Helen isn’t perfect either. We get to read about Helen’s backstory and start to understand why she acts the way she does. And the antagonist isn’t completely evil. We learn about their hardships that lead them to do what they do, however disturbing and senseless their reasons may be.
Once we solve the murder case and get to the resolution of Killing Time, everything comes full circle. The multiple perspectives connect, along with the characters and their involvement with one another. Natalie unexpectedly learns of her mother’s past, and they ultimately grow closer. We get enough closure from the story and have hope for the future, which is all we can ask of a good novel. It was refreshing to close the book and think fondly of how it ended.
Killing Time by Brenna Ehrlich is out March 8th and is available for preorder here!
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