It was the last day of school. 1956. Nora’s life was so simple, her biggest worry finding a boyfriend. Mister Death changed all that. BANG. BANG. Cheryl and Bobbi Jo were dead. All fingers point to Cheryl’s ex-boyfriend, Buddy. No one knows about Mr. Death. Nora doesn’t know what to believe any more. Not about the murders, not about Buddy, not about God, life, love, death, or any of the rest of it. Told through the eyes of the kids left behind, this is the story of the last summer of innocence.
This is a sad and haunting mystery about all that death robs from those left behind. The violence is left off screen and the shifting focus is on the teenagers that knew the victim. The shifting focus keeps the suspense building and helps underscore how violence has such large ripple effects. This let’s Hahn explore much more than just a mystery, but also a lot about 1950s society. This is based on a real event that happened when Hahn was a teenager and she does an amazing job of bringing that to life in a way that feels immediate. She is able to write as a teenager and also finish with an epilogue written at the age she is now and have both feel totally genuine. The story is a great look at a different time, but also the way that childhood has to end for everyone. I recommend this to fans of historical fiction and anyone that wants a well written, suspenseful read.
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