Thursday, February 20, 2014

No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale

"Ruth was the only person I ever knew who wanted to be somewhere else as much as I did. The only one who got what I meant when I said, "Friendship as in you and me is great, but Friendship, Wisconsin sometimes feels like a bad dream that's too boring to be called a nightmare..."

One of my favorite scenes in No One Else Can Have You is when the main character, Kippy, asks her father for a salad for dinner. He doesn't understand what that even is. Then he throws some frozen green beans, canned tomatoes, bacon bits, and shredded cheese in a bowl and microwaves the whole thing. It sounds absolutely disgusting, but it made me laugh out loud. That special Midwestern flavor is all through this book. There is a lot of regional dialogue, you betcha. It can be too much, but it mostly made me giggle. Which is itself funny, as the book deals with a brutal murder.

No One Else Can Have You is set in the small town of Friendship, Wisconsin, population 689...make that 688. The community is shaken when the body of Ruth Fried is found hanging in a cornfield. Her football star boyfriend, Colt, seems like the obvious suspect, so he is arrested for the murder. Friendship is safe once again...or is it? Ruth's brother, Davey, doesn't think so. He recently returned home from Afghanistan after injuring his hand, and he starts to investigate his sister's murder. The sheriff isn't a big fan of Colt, as he had a fling with the sheriff's daughter.

Ruth's best friend Kippy starts to look into the story. She keeps imagining her hero, Diane Sawyer, guiding her along. After talking to Colt, she decides that he is an a-hole, but not a murderer. He also has an alibi: he was destroying a mailbox when the murder was taking place. Kippy visits the woman who owns the mailbox, an alcoholic and rumored witch. Soon after the visit, the woman is found dead. The police rule the death a suicide, but Kippy doesn't believe it.

Ruth's mother found her journal and gave it to Kippy, hoping that she would cross out any sex parts and give them back. The journals reveal Ruth to be kind of bitchy, but also pretty funny and awesome. She had been seeing an older guy, one who had said he wanted to kill and mount her. Ruth works together with Davey, but they meet a lot of resistance. Sheriff Staake refuses to consider any other suspect, to an infuriating degree. An overly religious girl, Libby, starts an organization in Ruth's memory at school. She tries to recruit Kippy, who she keeps calling Katie. Libby considers Kippy's efforts to find a killer as offensive to her and the organization. As they get closer to finding the suspect, they get closer to becoming victims themselves. I love ending on statements like that.

I was a pretty big fan of No One Else Can Have You. The characters are really detailed in the book. There's Ruth, who I already mentioned a little. I really liked the journals, which helped show more of who Ruth was. It reminded me of how Veronica Mars had all those flashbacks of Lilly Kane, or how everyone has flashbacks of Alison DiLaurentis on Pretty Little Liars. Kippy is sort of all over the place, but I loved her. She was a weird one. Her mother died when she was younger, and she only has her father. Her father tries really hard, which is adorable. There are also many, many background characters, of varying degrees of likeability. The book was pretty funny, as I already mentioned. Lots of Wisconsin humor abounds. The mystery was compelling, though I did actually guess who did it. All in all, it was a good time, don't cha know.

I received my copy of No One Else Can Have You from Edelweiss, courtesy of HarperTeen. It's available for purchase now.

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