Saturday, December 21, 2013

review: cartwheel by jennifer dubois

Not long after Lily goes on her study abroad adventure in Buenos Aires, she meets the eccentric neighbor of her host family. Sebastien is the graduate of an American prep school who was set for the Ivy League when his parents were killed. Lily and Sebastien quickly form a relationship, but then the other study abroad student staying at the Carrizo home is murdered. With Lily being the one to find Katy, she is the prime suspect. As Cartwheel unfolds in a nonlinear fashion, Jennifer DuBois explains how the Buenos Aires police find it so easy to believe one American college student killed another.

Those familiar with the murder of Meredith Kercher in Italy will find they already know the plot of Cartwheel. Initially the similarity between Cartwheel and the Amanda Knox case (which the author acknowledges the book is based on) was an unwelcome distraction. Cartwheel opens with Lily’s father and sister going to Buenos Aires after she’s been arrested and all that DuBois makes known of Lily in those first pages is ripped directly from Knox’s life. Once Cartwheel goes back to explore the life Lily led in the days prior to Katy’s murder, she becomes less Amanda Knox and more Lily Hayes. While keeping a large number of parallels to the people involved in the Italian case, DuBois does develop the characters enough that they take on their own shape. What was truly most interesting was to see how Lily was viewed by others versus her own intentions. It was eye-opening to see how people form such different outlooks due to their own experiences and biases.
4/5
Review copy from Amazon Vine.

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