My first 5 star rating this year! This book revolves around 3 main characters: Hattie Hoffman who has big dreams of escaping her small town after graduation is found murdered in an abandoned barn; Del who is the sheriff of the small town of Pine Valley investigating Hattie’s murder; and Peter who is a city boy forced to move to Pine Valley due to his mother-in-law’s illness and becomes the high school literature teacher. Each chapter is told from one of the 3 main characters points of view. What seems like a simple “who done it” mystery book turns into a deep philosophical book (if you choose to make it so): Who are we really and what parts we do we play? Is something wrong due to what society’s standards are or because we are not being honest with ourselves and others in following our desires? Should we be responsible and keep our obligations or do we follow our dreams? And at the heart of it, are we the heroes or the villains in our own lives? There were so many strong female characters in this book, especially Hattie’s mom and Peter’s wife, who keep on going despite how tired or in pain they are and some deep relationships and conversations that I feel we could all learn from. This was definitely more than a mystery novel and more than a young adult/ coming of age novel. It left me with a lot to think about long after I put this book down.
I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley for review consideration.