Danya Kukafka’s debut novel, Girl in Snow, took a great premise yet drew it out to pointlessly boring detail. It follows a story similar to Twin Peaks (minus the supernatural aspects), in which the golden girl of the town, Lucinda Hayes, is found murdered on a playground, revealing hidden secrets of teenagers and parents alike. It’s a murder mystery that tries to be a character study as well, but doesn’t quite gain success with either.
Who Are You When No One Is Watching?
When a beloved high schooler named Lucinda Hayes is found murdered, no one in her sleepy Colorado suburb is untouched—not the boy who loved her too much; not the girl who wanted her perfect life; not the officer assigned to investigate her murder. In the aftermath of the tragedy, these three indelible characters—Cameron, Jade, and Russ—must each confront their darkest secrets in an effort to find solace, the truth, or both.
In crystalline prose, Danya Kukafka offers a brilliant exploration of identity and of the razor-sharp line between love and obsession, between watching and seeing, between truth and memory. Compulsively readable and powerfully moving, Girl in Snow offers an unforgettable reading experience and introduces a singular new talent in Danya Kukafka.
What I liked:
I really loved the character Jade, a teenager who lost her boyfriend to Lucinda Hayes and continues to hold a grudge against her. Her prickly yet intelligent character felt both unique and familiar to a former insecure teenager. To me, she appeared to be the most realistic of the novel. Her foray into witchcraft is both humorous and interesting. I thought that this book tried something different and unique, and while it may not have worked it made a great effort.
What I didn’t like:
The content and style of Girl in Snow awkwardly toes the line between adult and YA. The over-dramatic thoughts and characters frequently induce eye-rolling. These teenagers are much more pretentious and “deep” than any I’ve known. Also–one of the main characters is a teenage boy who consistently looks into people’s windows at night, which is just creepy and not endearing at all. I’m really tired of that sensitive boy who is actually a stalker trope. (I’m looking at you, Jonathan from Stranger Things).
Danya Kukafka made a valiant effort to add meaning and detail to her novel, but in actuality she merely drew out the length of the book and took the thrills out of a thriller. I wanted to like this book, but couldn’t stay awake long enough to keep reading.
I won’t be fully disregarding Kukafka and would love to give her next books another chance.
Overall Rating: ★★☆☆☆