Ashleigh Paige

I'm a full-time college sophomore pursuing my B.A. in English with hopes of one day working as an editor. Cats, musicals, documentaries about cults/disasters/tragedies, and curse words are just a few of my favorite things. Also, check out our blog or I WILL FIND YOU.

The Deadly Sister - Eliot Schrefer Also appears on The Screaming Nitpicker.One Saturday morning on a jog, Abby Goodwin discovers two things: the dead body of Jefferson Andrews, local "good boy" and her rebellious sister Maya's tutor/object of affection, and Maya's cell phone buried in the dirt near his body. Taking on the role of detective, Abby uncovers what kind of person Jefferson really was. A cheater, a manipulative man, a drug dealer,... There are a lot of people that had reason to want him dead. Abby just needs to prove that Maya didn't kill Jefferson and then prove who did do it. The novels wastes no time drawing the reader into the story. It opens with a short prologue where Abby details how she covered up for Maya all the time when they were children, then moves on to the present time and the discovery of Jefferson's body. Abby's sisterly instincts kick in instantly and the race to prove whether Maya is innocent or guilty begins. None of the characters are ever what they seem to be, from "good boy" Jefferson to Abby's best friend Cheyenne to popular girl Rose Nelson to Abby herself. The major players in the story are all given a believable depth and one will come to find that there is more than one sociopath in Abby's little Florida town. Reading the book in two or three sit-downs is easy. The plot moves quickly and the writing, while minimal in its description of people and places at most points, aids in the advancement of the story. Its minimal style works best for this kind of book; flowery prose would slow it down and take away a good chunk of the suspense. Abby's narration keeps you reading and as she discovers more clues while investigating out of admirable love for Maya, the urge to keep reading grows stronger. Did Maya really kill him? Did someone frame her? We have to know! About halfway to two-thirds of the way through the book, the pieces start to come together and an observant reader may figure out who the killer is. Instead of being predictable, it elicits a reaction of shock and keeps you reading so you can see if the conclusion you reached is true. You think that no, this couldn't be, you've got to be wrong and the real killer will show themselves in a twist ending, but you will find that your conclusion is true. It's true and this turns the novel into an amazing example of what unreliable narrators can do for a story. Not only is it the ultimate twist, this twist makes sense when you reread the novel. Pieces that seemed strange before make perfect sense. I had only two annoyance with this book and the first is a petty one: the motive behind the murder. The motive is a valid one in the real world--there are cases all the time where one person kills another because the killer loved the victim and they feel like the victim betrayed them in some way. It gets points for realism, but I can think of one motive that could have one-upped the story and made it perfect: Jefferson was murdered out of both love for Maya, to protect her from further bad treatment by Jefferson, and the need to punish her for not listening and getting with Jefferson in the first place. Do they always have to kill over a guy? Really? It couldn't be out of a twisted love for Maya? The other annoyance is one that is implicit and may turn out not to be there at all; it could be a perception I had that was wrong. At points in the novel, I felt like there was a little bit of shaming going on. Jokes were made about Maya sleeping around and meanwhile, Jefferson was being exposed as someone who slept around and cheated on his girlfriend. Jefferson isn't being put in a positive light either, but I felt that the girls who got with Jefferson were being shamed because they should have known better than to sleep with him due to his reputation of dumping the girls. Read this book and see if you find the same thing I do because I may be seeing something that isn't there. Now that I'm finished with The Deadly Sister, I'm left to wonder how this book is not more popular. With a good mystery, interesting characters, and a twist that will blow your mind, this is the kind of book that deserves a place on best-seller lists. Is it because the main character does not fall in mind-blowing love with someone during the course of the story (even though love is a big part of the story)? Read The Deadly Sister. Really. Even readers who don't care much for the young adult murder mystery genre will enjoy this book.