NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Cartwheel by Jennifer duBois

4.0 out of 5 stars - What is the truth? And how can there be justice if no one ever knows the truth?

It's likely that you have heard the Amanda Knox story. If not, you might want to go to a trusted news source and read about her, her trial, and all the sensationalistic coverage of her case. There's a lot!

Then, get a copy of this book and read it. The parallels are noticeable, but this is a work of fiction with a disclaimer of course. Regardless, this character-driven literary novel will hold you glued to the pages as you step inside the minds of several of the key people whose lives intersect after the murder of a foreign exchange student, Katy Kellers, while she was studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, one fateful semester.

You'll meet Lily Hayes, also in BA from America to study abroad -- she's 20 years old, bright, entitled, and in jail. She's been accused of murdering her roommate.

Then there's her father, Andrew, who is stoic and awkward, but trying his best to maintain faith in his daughter despite the mountains of evidence that have been explained to him and the vast amount of news coverage that is convinced Lily is guilty. His inner thoughts describe how he tries to make sense of the cataclysm that this brings to his family (who has also suffered another earlier terrible loss).

The prosecutor, Eduardo Campos, is fairly sure Lily is guilty. But he can't seem to get a straight story from anyone -- especially not from Lily's supposed boyfriend, the reclusive young orphan, Sebastien LeCompte. Everyone is lying about something - or obstructing justice. But Eduardo has demons of his own that drive him to want to obtain a righteous verdict for the victim, Katy.

The reader is transported between points of view as the characters muddle the truth of what really happened the night that Katy was murdered. Can a father accept that his daughter might be guilty of such a horrible crime? Is Lily really innocent or was she involved with the murder? How does Sebastien try to help Lily, or is he just protecting himself from being arrested? Does Eduardo go too far to prove Lily's guilt for his own personal gain or is he really after the truth?

This book was one I was not able to set aside so I had to read it straight through. Keep a dictionary or internet access handy as you read in case you, like me, have to do a little research. The author's command of politics, literature, vocabulary, imagery -- the structure of the narrative -- kept me spellbound and totally impressed. I highly recommend it!

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for an advance copy of this ebook to review.

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