Another knockout from McManus. Okay, to tell you the truth, this book took me over a month to read. But I was finishing big projects and swamped with work. But Nothing More To Tell felt more like a friend to help me along than a chore.
Brynn Gallagher has just landed an after-school gig with a hot true-crime-show called Motive. They are as legitimate as they come, and she really needed it for two reasons: One, her journalism career as the editor of their school paper took a dive down the toilet when some jock she was looking into broke into her computer, and got a bunch of dick pics plastered on the next edition, and an article in BuzzFeed broadcasted it out. Two, she wants the show to take this homicide case seriously, of her 8th grade English teacher Mr. Larkin who was killed four years ago.
The case also involves three friends, one of which she used to be so close with, her family kept his favourite snacks in the cupboards. That one is Tripp Talbot, or Noah Talbot. But he’s apparently the third Noah Talbot in his legacy, so Tripp as in Triple is a name he prefers as his own. He, and two others, Shane and Charlotte, were doing a leaf collection project together. Brynn was absent. And the remaining three found Mr. Larkin that afternoon dead at the back of the school, his head smashed in with a rock. Back then there was a strange vagabond who was blamed for it, and had even apparently seen and fought with Mr. Larkin. Brynn was so shook up by the experience, she left the life she knew, and only now, four years later in her senior year of high school, with her gig on Motive, does she have a chance to perhaps find out what really happened that afternoon. And she has a chance to figure out why she and Tripp used to be so close but Tripp flat-out humiliated her, accused her of something she didn’t do, and ended their friendship.
Honestly, there’s not much more to say about McManus that I haven’t already said in past reviews. What makes me keep returning to her mysteries is the teenagers investigating the crimes feel like regular people pushed into breaking into homes and scheming con jobs because of the fear of whoever is puppeteering everything and the love for either the victim or the other people in that victim’s life. Most characters in her stories, especially this one, have some sort of secret, some extra layer to peel, and the delivery and realizations are so realistic that we remind ourselves how many secrets we ourselves keep from the world too. Who in this world truly has nothing they want to keep hidden away? Who in this world is truly squeaky clean and who in this world does not ever hold a grudge or want someone to suffer?
The adults are not pitch-perfect people either. One is a manipulative parent. Another is a racist and sexist “reporter” trying to charm his way into the spotlight. Another looks down so smugly at those in a lower position than him and will see an attempt at a debate as petulant or not worth his valuable time. I’m always in favor of showing in a teen novel that not everyone truly grows up when they’re past the point its target audience hasn’t reached yet. And it adds to the flavourful mystery even further.
I of course won’t spoil anything big, but let’s just say a reveal takes place, but then there’s a fair few others waiting for you.
If you’re ever in a reading slump, whatever age you are, and you’re looking for a contemporary book with imagination, fleshed out characters and kinetic thrills to get rid of that slump, any one of Karen M. McManus’ books are great picks for you!
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