Title: This is Our Story
Author: Ashley Elston (twitter)
Publisher//Release Date: Disney Hyperion// November 15th, 2016
Genre: YA, Mystery
Synopsis: No one knows what happened that morning at River Point. Five boys went hunting. Four came back. The boys won’t say who fired the shot that killed their friend; the evidence shows it could have been any one of them.
Kate Marino’s senior year internship at the District Attorney’s Office isn’t exactly glamorous—more like an excuse to leave school early that looks good on college applications. Then the DA hands her boss, Mr. Stone, the biggest case her small town of Belle Terre has ever seen. The River Point Boys are all anyone can talk about. Despite their damning toxicology reports the morning of the accident, the DA wants the boys’ case swept under the rug. He owes his political office to their powerful families.
Kate won’t let that happen. Digging up secrets without revealing her own is a dangerous line to walk; Kate has her own reasons for seeking justice for Grant. As she and Stone investigate—the ageing prosecutor relying on Kate to see and hear what he cannot—she realizes that nothing about the case—or the boys—is what it seems. Grant wasn’t who she thought he was, and neither is Stone’s prime suspect. As Kate gets dangerously close to the truth, it becomes clear that the early morning accident might not have been an accident at all—and if Kate doesn’t uncover the true killer, more than one life could be on the line…including her own.
I love when I’m not disappointed.
I also hate anticipating unknown quantities. Most of the time, when I get worked up over a book, it’s the latest installment in a favorite series, or a new release from a favorite author. It’s hard to get really excited for a stand-alone from an author you’ve never read before. There’s always the possibility that it will be nothing like you expected – and that alone will be a deal breaker.
And then books like this come along. It has everything it says on the cover and still manages to be twisty and good.
Let’s break it down:
What I liked:
- The Realism. This felt legit – nothing is completely outlandish that its unbelievable.Nothing was off the wall and crazy and didn’t seem like it would happen in real life. The twists are great and left me guessing to the point where I was completely confused and loving every second of it. The characters were teenagers and they acted like teenagers – #PraiseBless – which was so refreshing. It also tackles some topics that are topical for teenagers and only really have relevance in a high school environment – the sharing of dirty photos and a heaping spoonful of deconstructing the golden boy
- The Pacing and Format. This book never lets up. It moves so fast – there’s always a new twist or new info to drive the mystery.There’s also a smattering of chapters told from the POV of the culprit which constantly leave you guessing. It’s very easy to read – very straight forward and direct in the storytelling, very few mystery-unrelated subplots – and I think that it both makes it a very quick and fast read for those looking for one, and gives a great deal of appeal for someone who hasn’t read a lot of mysteries and wants to dip a toe into a new genre.
- KATE. I loved Kate as a heroine. She was smart and resourceful and extremely likable. I also liked that she was a normal teenager. She’s involved in her school and has the club that’s her thing and has an after-school job and hangs out with a group of friends and was a normal teenager. She had a good relationship with her mom and just generally seemed normal. I really liked that she was normal. She reminded me a great deal of High School!Me and any high school aged readers will find her relatable.
What I Didn’t Like As Much:
- The Romance and Love Interest. It had all the shades of what I don’t like about unnecessary YA romantic subplots – but it was crucial to the plot and left me SUPER conflicted. I don’t really want to go into too much detail here as it involves arguably the best twist in the book – like I literally screamed when it happened because I didn’t see it coming – but I didn’t like the romantic plot line as much as the rest. It wasn’t unnecessary and it was cute but it was a little cliché – misunderstood bad boy, kind of on the forbidden side – and it didn’t really do much for me. The misunderstood angsty deep bad-boy with the heart of gold bit was what did it – I felt it hurt the bad boy in question character-wise; he turned into a stock character in my mind and there was an interesting potential that disappeared once the romance kicks off. There’s a lot of cute moments – there’s a semi-adorable meet cute buried in there – and a younger reader would eat this up like candy. Basically, it’s not bad, but it’s nothing new.
tl;dr: This is Our Story is a twisty and suspenseful yet realistic YA mystery that, despite a somewhat cliché romantic subplot, I recommend it to anyone looking for a good thriller. I also would really recommend this to anyone new to the mystery genre, particularly teens.