Author: Emily Hainsworth
Genre: Young Adult | Murder | Mystery
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: February 16, 2016
WHO KILLED GRETCHEN MEYER?
Fear grips the residents of Hidden Falls the night Sonia Feldman and her best friend, Gretchen Meyer, are attacked in the woods. Sonia was lucky to escape with her life, but Gretchen’s body is discovered at the bottom of a waterfall. Beautiful, popular, and seemingly untouchable, Gretchen can’t be gone. Even as Sonia struggles with guilt and confusion over having survived, the whole town is looking to her for information…could she have seen something that will lead the police to the killer?
At the top of the list of suspects is Gretchen’s ex-boyfriend—and Sonia’s longtime enemy—Marcus Perez. So when Marcus comes to Sonia for help clearing his name, she agrees, hoping to find evidence the police need to prove he’s the killer. But as Gretchen’s many secrets emerge and the suspects add up, Sonia feels less sure of Marcus’s involvement, and more afraid for herself. Could Marcus, the artist, the screwup, the boy she might be falling for have attacked her? Killed her best friend? And if it wasn’t him in the woods that night…who could it have been (goodreads)?
Take the Fall boasts a solid mystery with a diverse catch. Although it had my attention, I found it missing a certain oomph.
Plot: Take the Fall opens with Sonia running into her family's diner at a questionable hour. She looks like she's been in a scuffle and her best friend Gretchen can't be found. The prologue sets the tone for the rest of the novel - fast. This is a fun paced and expected for a murder-mystery. While it was well-written and kept a steady pace, Take the Fall was missing the "thrill" that I was expected the tone of the book to have. There is a murderer running around town and no one seems to care. I assumed that there would be more panic and more suspicion (besides childish fights and graffiti), but people seemed to take Gretchen's murder well.
Characters: This novel's biggest strength is its cast of supporting characters. Hainsworth sets the tone that no one is to be trusted, and she does a great job making the characters both likable and suspicious. I appreciated the diverse friends and that race was even mentioned in terms of murder (the problem with casting suspicion of the black boy when a pretty white girl is found dead). What I wanted more of was to learn about Gretchen, our resident dead girl. I expected to learn more about her, especially since Sonia was her best friend. Beause Sonia only explored the surface level of Gretchen, I felt that I didn't understand Gretchen as a person at all.
World Building: There isn't much to say about Hidden Falls, the community seems tight-knit with shadows lurking, which is what I expected from the tone of the novel.
Short N Sweet: Take the Fall doesn't hold back on any surprises, unfortunately, I didn't feel the "thrill" I thought was appropriate for this novel.