Book Review: You’re Next

Kylie Schachte

Rating: 3 out of 5.

published: 23rd June 2020
spoilers? no


When a girl with a troubled history of finding dead bodies investigates the murder of her ex, she uncovers a plot to put herself—and everyone she loves—on the list of who’s next.

Flora Calhoun has a reputation for sticking her nose where it doesn’t belong. After stumbling upon a classmate’s body years ago, the trauma of that discovery and the police’s failure to find the killer has haunted her ever since. One night, she gets a midnight text from Ava McQueen, the beautiful girl who had ignited Flora’s heart last summer, then never spoke to her again.

Just in time to witness Ava’s death from a gunshot wound, Flora is set on a path of rage and vengeance for all the dead girls whose killer is never found. Her tunnel-visioned sleuthing leads to valuable clues about a shocking conspiracy involving her school and beyond, but also earns her sinister threats from the murderer. She has a choice—to give up the hunt for answers, or keep digging and risk her loved ones’ lives. Either way, Flora will regret the consequences. Who’s next on the killer’s list?

Galley provided by publisher

CWs: death, violence

You’re Next reads to me like a posterchild (posterbook?) for why there should be an intermediate age group in publishing between YA and adult. Because it was a good book, yes, but the plot just felt ridiculous when you consider that the main character, and most of the people involved, are just sixteen.

I mean, the writing is solid. The mystery is solid. The characters were great and I loved their relationships and the development.

It’s just I couldn’t get past the age thing.

I know, I know. Suspend your disbelief, you say. But I could not. I tried, and I failed.

But let’s back up a moment and look at what you, the hypothetical reader who is more successful at suspending their disbelief than I, might enjoy about this book.

The mystery. It’s a very tense and tightly plotted mystery, for all that there were a number of times I said, incredulously, they’re SIXTEEN. And Kylie Schachte is very good at incrementally increasing the tension until you’re desperately reading to find out if everything’s okay.

The characters and relationships. Probably the central relationship in the book is Flora’s family relationship, which is full of angst, even though they all love one another (which, let’s be real, is the best sort of angst). But there’s also a ride-or-die friendship going on. And a very good romantic relationship (though 16/18 was a little ehhhh for me, but the dynamic was great).

The writing. I loved the writing, to be honest. Like I said above, Kylie Schachte is excellent at ratcheting up the tension, and I think that’s down to just how good her writing is.

But, as I mentioned at the start of this review, all of this was tempered because I couldn’t get past the characters being sixteen. I mean, the plot was more intense and dark than a lot of adult mysteries I’ve read, and I’m supposed to believe it’s all carried out by people who are still 9 years from a fully-developed brain? Okay.

So if you think you can suspend your disbelief sufficiently, go ahead, read this book. (I mean, read it even if you think you might not be able to, because you never know. Also it’s a very good book in itself.)

One last thing: I want it noted I do not appreciate that ending, thank you.

4 thoughts on “Book Review: You’re Next

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