Something Terrible Happened on Kenmore is set in the 1930s, however this is never explicitly stated so the reader must infer the period from mentions of what’s popular on the radio. The "something terrible" is the truly horrific crime of a murdered five year old girl. There are three teens at the center of the story who are each connected in some way to the murder. Maizy thinks she may have seen the killer with the girl, but she tries to believe that isn’t true even as Maizy forms a relationship with the mother of the murdered girl. The other teens are Zane, the boy Maizy likes, and Fred, the new boy in town, who is friends with both of them. The boys know where the severed hand of the dead girl is, but keep it hidden even though it could help the police catch the killer. As the threads of the story come together to reveal the killer, the teens experience a significant number of additional hardships.
The murder of a child should really be enough, but Stillerman throws in poverty, children who have lost a parent, teen pregnancy, and child pornography. The teens are forced to deal with too many issues in too short a period of time for anything to be satisfactorily resolved. The amount of tragedy is overwhelming and the writing isn't particularly good. I had little sympathy for the characters even as their worlds collapsed, which I believe speaks to how poorly the teens were developed.
Review copy provided by BookDivas.