Review: Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

Girl in Snow Published by Simon & Schuster on August 2017
Genres: Adult Fiction
Pages: 368
Format: ebook
Source: Publisher
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3.5 Stars

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.

When they told him Lucinda Hayes was dead, Cameron thught of her shoulder blades and how they framed her naked spine, like a pair of static lungs.  – Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka

The real beauty to be found in Girl In Snow is not the mystery or the plot. It’s the language. The beautiful and well created words that this debut author seems to have plucked from snow.

Girl In Snow grabbed me from the opening line, but wound me tighter and tighter around its finger as the chapters progressed. We get three POVs – Cameron, Jade and Russ. Cameron, for all of his loneliness and sorrow and unrequited love. Jade, for a her lashing out, nasty and yet vulnerable heart and Russ, confused and awkward and wrongly loyal. These three show the reader what happens to the small town when Lucinda Hayes is found killed by the outdoor carousel.

It’s not fast paced or twisted plots. More like the story opens little by little with subtle and small gestures of warmth and dark. And again, the language. That’s what kept me reading and reading.

If I’m honest though, Cameron, Russ and Jade sound very similar in character with their melancholy and acute observations. The POVs act more like a viewpoint than character separation, which isn’t bad at all. Again, the language is so beautifully constructed, it would have been a shame to only have read it via one POV. At the same time, I would have liked three distinct character voices. I felt like because they were so similar, the POVs weren’t as effective as they could have been. Also, I had a hard time connecting with any of the characters.

Finally, when the real killer is revealed, it seems almost like an afterthought. While not shocking, I had guessed pages before, what was disappointing was that after the reveal, not a lot of time was spent on the aftermath to that character. We focus again on the remaining characters and their lives and how they cope with this information. But the plot was centered around who killed this girl and after we find out, there’s no real sense of justice or closure because it’s glossed over.

However, this did not impact my overall enjoyment of the book or fault it in any way. It was more of a character study of these three people than a crime/mystery story. More of an old fashioned tragedy than a thriller novel. It was well written, rich in detail and tone, dropping the reader into the beautiful cold sadness of their lives.