Review: This Is Our Story by Ashley Elston

this is our storyReview by: Paige

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ (3.5)

Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller

Synopsis: Five went in. Four came out.

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 investigates with Stone, the aging 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.

Review: I’ve been waiting to read this book for so long that once I got it into my hands I devoured it so quickly it may not have even effectively worked its magic on me. I’ll never pass up a good thriller, especially one which introduces a group of privileged white boys who have never experienced consequences for their actions. The immediate tension that establishes – the push and pull of “will they go down for it? will they not?” – is the crux of this novel. The depth of knowledge on display about the legal system, especially its inner-workings in small town, made this story even more believable – and it was already pretty believable in the first place.

When five boys go hunting in the woods and only four emerge, a small town is thrown into chaos, questioning everything they know about these boys and their prominent fathers. When Kate Marino, an assistant to the ADA, begins working on this case, she finds that there’s more to the story than the authorities want to let on – or even know – as she gets closer to this tragedy and its central figures.

My favorite element by far was the narrative. The juxtaposing of Kate’s narrative and an anonymous River Point Boy to be revealed only in the very last pages, led to a feeling of suspense and always being on the verge of discovering the killer and his intentions. I loved that Kate spent so long analyzing each boy and his body language, mannerisms, behaviors, etc. so that the reader was aided by that information in trying to deduce who the killer was when it was his turn to speak. Who was calm when others panicked? Who was more observant than the rest? Who dealt drugs, drank too much, etc.?

The plot of this novel was so intriguing that I found I didn’t really mind the writing’s weakness in its simplicity. I would’ve like more complexity, yet I think the plot carried this story so far that an accessible, fast read was necessary. Furthermore, I just really could not get on board with the romance. Though it was necessary, it felt like it took so much effort to make it convincing.

Giving away any real information about this novel means risking spoilers, so I’ll save you all and simply say that this book was a wonderful and engrossing thriller. If you’re looking for a simple, fast-paced, interesting story, this is the perfect recipe.

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