blo Teens Read and Write: Teen Fiction Review: THE GIRL IS MURDER by Kathryn Miller Haines

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Teen Fiction Review: THE GIRL IS MURDER by Kathryn Miller Haines

by Kathryn Miller Haines
July 2011
Iris Anderson is only 15, but she's quickly mastering the art of deception in this YA novel for fans of Veronica Mars. It's the Fall of 1942 and Iris's world is rapidly changing. Her Pop is back from the war with a missing leg, limiting his ability to do the physically grueling part of his detective work. Iris is dying to help, especially when she discovers that one of Pop's cases involves a boy at her school. Now, instead of sitting at home watching Deanna Durbin movies, Iris is sneaking out of the house, double crossing her friends, and dancing at the Savoy till all hours of the night. There's certainly never a dull moment in the private eye business. 
Thanks to Teen Book Scene Scene for hosting the tour for The Girl is Murder. Check out the complete tour HERE.

A bit of noir is a refreshing change. The world of the 1940's was engaging, with Iris, our spunky teen trying  to fit in at a new school and solve a who-dun-it. She's just moved from the expensive section of town to   New York's lower socio-economic spectrum. 

The time-frame is different, but many will be able to relate to Iris. She doesn't always make the best choices, but her heart is in the right place, which counts for something. And her flaws make her human. 

Iris lies and manipulates. Not a smart decision but her actions are geared toward helping others and finding out what happened to the missing boy who happens to be from her new school. She's helping her down-on-his-luck detective father find out the truth behind his disappearance. Time to get sleuthing! 

The writing was well done and the plot flowed smoothly. We are allowed to watch Iris make her mistakes and, thankfully, learn from them which provides character development. 

The reveal of the mystery in the end while making sense, was a bit of a let down. After all the build-up, it didn't quite live up to the drama, but it was realistic. 

The historical aspects of THE GIRL IS MURDER are unique. I haven't read much in this time period. I liked the slang and seeing life in the 40s. The overall flavor of that decade was pleasantly different, and the plot kept a steady pace.   

THIS GIRL IS MURDER is a fun, quick read. The characters and the journey to uncover the mystery are engaging. I think historical lovers will find it a treat. It captured the feeling of the era and gave an original perspective in the YA mystery genre. 


Blodeuedd said...

Sounds good, and Veronica Mars was mentioned. I sure miss that show, so anything like it would be good

Jenny said...

I love the historical aspect of this one, I don't read nearly enough historical fiction even though I love it when I do get a chance to read it:) I'm not a fan of the fact that Iris is manipulative, but a flawed character definitely makes them more human. Thanks for the review Alyssa!

A Canadian Girl said...

I haven't read many books set in the 40s so I like that this one is a little different in that regard. I don't like that Iris lies but I agree that makes her more realistic and allows her to learn from them. I haven't heard much about this one so I'll probably check this one out. Great review, Alyssa.

Missie, The Unread Reader said...

A noir who-dun-it! Sounds fun. I can definitley see Iris's intentions being in the right place, even if she doesn't always make the best decisions.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Oh I'm curious about the 40s too. She also sounds like an interesting character. Not too good or too bad either. Usually a great combo in a character!

Jenny N. said...

I'm a big Veronica Mars fan so any mention of it and my ears instantly perk up. I just hope there isn't too much lies and manipulation.

Natalie said...

I love historical fiction, and the 1940s is a period that I'm interested in, so I'll have to put this on my to-read list.

P.S. Veronica Mars reference? I'm so

LoriStrongin said...

I've been hearing a lot about this book and it does sound good. I haven't read a good noir book since Sam Spade, and seeing a female protag in such a setting--rather than just the bombshell love interest/victim--is definitely refreshing.


Lea (YA Book Queen) said...

Bummer that the reveal was a bit of a let down, but the historical aspects sound interesting...Nice review, Alyssa! :)

Tales of Whimsy said...

Thanks for your honesty. I'm currently contemplating this one. I need a good mystery.

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