The Foxglove Killings by Tara Kelly
Tara Kelly won my undying affection after Amplified, which to this date is still one of my all-time favorite reads. There’s something about her ability to write so honestly and emotionally about the young adult culture we see and experience ourselves today that I find endearing and always makes for a seriously kickin’ piece of fiction.
In comparison to the rock scene setting we have in Amplified, The Foxglove Killings finds us in a small town in Oregon centering around Nova, a girl secretly harboring romantic feelings for her best friend, Alex, while a string of mystery murders starts taking place and she’s forced to find solace in the oddest of people in order to keep her friends, and possibly the whole town, safe from harm. The idea of it sounds fairly simple, but this book isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be. It’s much more than just a mystery, it’s a story of life, love, and what it really means to understand and accept others on account of differences, whatever kind they may be.
Nova served as a real and original YA role model, in my eyes. Sure, she might have not been sitting on the right side of the tracks all the time, but she stood for what she believed in and was recklessly loyal, and it may have blew up in her face now and then, but overall she was favorable and I found myself admiring her character on more than one occasion. The way things romantically unfolded for Alex and her was infuriating in the best way possible. Kelly certainly knows how to make readers bang their head in frustration over the obvious sexual tension there is between characters that everyone but them ever seems to take note of. Regardless of how much I wanted them both to just mash faces and ignore the killings, their friendship made me so happy. My personal favorite romances are the ones that unfold over the course of long, treacherous years filled with embarrassment, sadness, and complete and total honesty. I loved just how well Nova and Alex knew each other inside out and in spite of the new, and distressing, situations they happened to face, they never questioned their loyalty to one another. This book is not Love, Rosie but if you’re a fan of that sort of harrowing love that lasts forever and ever, I totally recommend you pick up The Foxglove Killings just for that special brand of masochistic pain so many of us are known for secretly loving. Outside of that, I enjoyed how Nova teamed up with one of her least favorite gals in town and was able to put differences behind them to make for one hardcore mystery-solving team. Girl power is the best power, as they say. Just look at Velma and Daphne.
I’m personally not much for mystery, though I have enjoyed some from time to time. Can we count Jane Eyre under that? That novel is gold and I, at least, was surprised. Someone’s hiding a wife in his attic. That has to count, right? Who does that? The Foxglove Killings, unlike Jane Eyre, isn’t about a man who forgets to tell his future-wife he’s hiding his already-wife in the attic and thinks he can get away with it, but it is equally entertaining and unexpected. Being someone who doesn’t always turn to this genre for a Friday night read, I can say that the clues and small hints scattered around the novel kept me on the edge of my seat and had me guessing left and right. Every guess I had was wrong, I might add, so I’m not Sherlock Holmes, but I had a good time, alright? You will, too. Lots and lots of promises.
Anyone who’s looking for a book to fill the murder mystery hole in their heart will love this new young adult story Tara Kelly has to offer, filled with friendship, romance, and just the right amount of blood.