Finished Wild and Crooked by Leah Thomas. I received a copy for review.
Summary (from Goodreads):
“Critically-acclaimed author Leah Thomas blends a small-town setting with the secrets of a long-ago crime, in a compelling novel about breaking free from the past.
In Samsboro, Kentucky, Kalyn Spence’s name is inseparable from the brutal murder her father committed when he was a teenager. Forced to return to town, Kalyn must attend school under a pseudonym . . . or face the lingering anger of Samsboro’s citizens, who refuse to forget the crime.
Gus Peake has never had the luxury of redefining himself. A Samsboro native, he’s either known as the “disabled kid” because of his cerebral palsy, or as the kid whose dad was murdered. Gus just wants to be known as himself.
When Gus meets Kalyn, her frankness is refreshing, and they form a deep friendship. Until their families’ pasts emerge. And when the accepted version of the truth is questioned, Kalyn and Gus are caught in the center of a national uproar. Can they break free from a legacy of inherited lies and chart their own paths forward?”
In her acknowledgments, Leah Thomas thanks Karen and Georgia and calls herself a Murderino. I didn’t make the connection before reading it, but yes, this is definitely the My Favorite Murder kind of true crime. It’s darkly funny (“grim” works) and, above all, it honors the victim and his family.
It’s not surprising that I love Kalyn, right? She’s so sarcastic and tough, and that’s because she’s had to be. Her life has been almost impossible because of who her dad is.
Throughout the book, we see how the impact of that one night continues to reverberate almost two full decades later. It’s a sad but necessary thing to contemplate.
This is an amazing book. I’m sure it’ll be compared to Sadie by Courtney Summers; it’s a worthy comparison.