Review: I KILLED ZOE SPANOS by Kit Frick
Also by this author: All Eyes on Us
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on June 30, 2020
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
Kit Frick’s new novel, I Killed Zoe Spanos, has all of the ingredients that make for a great summer read. It has a compelling mystery regarding what has happened to Zoe Spanos and who is responsible, and it also features a fantastic podcast run by a teenager who doesn’t think the police are doing enough to solve the mystery. Top that off with an unreliable narrator and a small town setting in the ultra-elite Hamptons and you’ve got yourself a must-read book for the beach or your next vacation.
The protagonist of I Killed Zoe Spanos is Anna Cicconi. Anna has come to Herron Mills, a village in the Hamptons, to work as a nanny for a family there. She is hoping this job will be a fresh start for her. Anna has gone through a rough patch lately and spent entirely too much time partying and drinking, to the point where she has started experiencing blackouts and memory loss. Anna’s journey takes an unexpected turn when she arrives in Herron Mills and is immediately told by everyone she meets that she looks just like Zoe Spanos, a young woman who went missing in the village months earlier. Anna becomes interested in Zoe’s disappearance and starts having little flashes of memories that convince her that she knows Zoe and that she has been to Herron Mills before. When the story opens and we are faced with a scene in which Anna is confessing to Zoe’s murder, it becomes clear that Anna’s summer in the Hamptons is life changing in all the wrong ways.
We get most of the story from Anna’s perspective, and Anna is a classic unreliable narrator. From the moment we meet her as she is confessing to Zoe’s murder, it’s clear that we can’t necessarily trust what she’s saying. The confession is oddly specific yet filled with comments like “I guess,” “I think,” etc. It doesn’t sound at all like a statement made by someone who is sure she committed the crime. An even bigger cloud of doubt is cast over Anna’s story when we learn from her best friend Kaylee that she was with Anna and they weren’t even at the house where Anna is saying Zoe died. Even though the story opens with a confession, the mystery of what happened to Zoe and what, if any, role Anna had in it, is truly about as muddled as it gets and I was hooked on wanting to get to the bottom of it. I also really liked Anna and that she was trying to get her life under control, so I wanted her account to be wrong. I didn’t want her to be a killer. Sometimes unreliable narrators don’t work well for me, but I loved its use here.
I was also a big fan of the author’s use of a dual timeline. One timeline follows the events that lead up to the discovery of Zoe’s body, while the other timeline deals with the fallout after the body is discovered. I always love watching the pieces of a puzzle come together this way, as it allows me lots of opportunities to try to fit those pieces together and come up with my own theories about what has happened, as I did with this story. In this case, the chapters alternate between the two timelines so that the reader is fed a few crumbs at a time from each end of the mystery, both from Anna’s perspective and from the perspective of Martina Jenkins, who is conducting her own investigation into what happened to Zoe, and broadcasting her findings on a podcast called Missing Zoe.
I don’t want to give away any details about what actually happened to Zoe, but I will say that it’s a wild ride to the final reveal. I came up with lots of theories along the way and was wrong every time. In addition to the mystery about Zoe, there are also plenty of little side plots filled with secrets and drama that add extra layers of intrigue and suspense to the overall story. I devoured I Killed Zoe Spanos in just a couple of sittings and definitely recommend it if you’re in the mood for a good mystery.
Yes! I love a good mystery that keeps me on my toes. Hugs, RO
This is a good one! 🙂
Every time I see this book I think of my daughter because her name is Zoe and my last name is so close to Spanos, it makes me do a double take!
Tammy @ Books, Bones & Buffy recently posted…The Friday Face-Off: Tentacles!
Lol, I would be doing the same in that situation.
I’m always iffy on unreliable narrators, like you said they don’t always work for me, but I’m glad Anna worked out here! This one sounds right up my alley and I can’t wait to read this one this summer!!
I hope you enjoy it!
This one looks good! I find unreliable narrators to be quite interesting!
Right? Same here.
Sounds fantastic! Excellent review!
Anne – Books of My Heart recently posted…Never Look Back by Mary Burton
I heard this was a Rebecca retelling which I have never read. Curious if you had, and if you thought it lived up to the original.
Sam@wlabb recently posted…Five Star Friday: June 2020
I actually have not read Rebecca yet. I really need to and would be curious to see how it compares to this story.
Yay I’m so glad you enjoyed this one. I definitely want to read this book, and I’m so curious about how it all unravels.
ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Disney Dinner & Movie: Dumbo and The Sword in the Stone
I hope it’s a great read for you.
You had me at the Hamptons setting!
Right? I loved that setting.
Anna seems to be just the best unreliable narrator — even reading your review I have so many questions about her! Brilliant review, Suzanne!
Yeah, she kept me guessing most of the way through the book about her involvement. It was a pretty interesting ride.
I love when an author can actually surprise me. So often the answers seem obvious and the whodunit is apparent from early on. I love it when I’m kept guessing. Glad this one was so good at that!
Tanya @ Girl Plus Books recently posted…The Sunday Post #215
I love that too. It’s always a bummer when I guess things too early.
That sounds like a great read.. adding it to my TBR
Hena Tayeb recently posted…How Do You Do Jewelry?
I hope you enjoy it!
I really liked this one! I was a little bummed about the ending, because it wasn’t the jaw-dropping conclusion I was expecting, but I enjoyed it overall. The podcast element, the memories/hallucinations – – all interesting!
Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬
Lindsi recently posted…A Sweet Mess by Jayci Lee
Yeah, I actually enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. At first I worried it would be too much like Sadie, but thankfully that wasn’t an issue.
Great review as always!
This makes me crave a mystery novel. Weird right? How those bookish cravings come on. Too bad I don’t have any near the top of the stack :O
O recently posted…New Release The Dreamkeepers by Antonio Zadra @DrZdreams
This book interests me so much. I had to read your review after I read the title. I love a good unreliable narrator and that’s what intrigues me even more about the book. I am glad to know the dual timeline was done well ^.^
Olivia-Savannah Roach recently posted…The Very Hungry Bookworm #2
I hope you enjoy it if you read it. 🙂