Friday, March 16, 2018

Quick Sand - Malin Persson Giolito, Rachel Willson Broyles (translator)

Summary: A mass shooting has taken place at a prep school in Stockholm’s wealthiest suburb. Eighteen-year-old Maja Norberg is charged for her involvement in the massacre that left her boyfriend and her best friend dead. She has spent nine months in jail awaiting trial. Now the time has come for her to enter the courtroom. How did Maja—popular, privileged, and a top student—become a cold-blooded killer in the eyes of the public? What did Maja do? Or is it what she failed to do that brought her here? (Summary and pic from

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

My Review: As soon as I saw that this had won Sweden’s Crime Book of the year, I knew I had to have it. I mean, we all know that the Scandinavians have been writing some seriously epic and awesome crime novels. It seems to be their thing, of late. Many of the books from this genre have really taken the crime genre up a notch—it’s grittier, it’s edgier, it’s more violent, the mysteries are more complicated, the characters are deeper, it’s just more. If you are a crime genre reader at all I’m sure you’ve been at least aware of the Scandinavian crime novels, even if you haven’t read one. I’ve read several from several different authors, and so although it is not the genre I always read from, I do enjoy it when I do.

Despite the fact that I’ve read many different authors in this sub-genre, I‘ve mostly read books in a series with one main detective or at least one main character. This book was different for several reasons and therefore intriguing. First, the main character was a teenage girl. That was a new twist. Although most first-person novels do not have completely dependable narrators, having a teenage girl be the first-person narrator really brought a level of chaotic storytelling and a different viewpoint. I liked it. Nothing like having a crime novel that is as unpredictable as the story is. Having a teenage girl be the narrator also made the actual events seem more unpredictable. The reader was only given one opinion and viewpoint, and the nature of this book is such that it would take many different viewpoints in order to make the story completely whole. There wasn’t one person overlooking the case, like a detective or a police officer. The narrator was a part of the crime and therefore she was both intentionally and unintentionally biased in what happened.

The book was also different from the normal fare because I’m not sure we ever actually know the whole truth, and that’s enticing. There is a conclusion, but whether or not you find it satisfying is something you’ll have to find out on your own. Either way, there’s a certain amount of chaos in the conclusion that makes you feel equally satisfied (or not) and also unsure. It’s a fun balance.

I liked the voice in this book; I feel like I can relate to teenage girls even if I am very far removed from them age-wise. I like the sassy and sarcastic. There were times when I didn’t find her completely authentic and even found her to be a little too adult, but that may be my interpretation. Also, I wasn’t sure how old she was and that kind of made it difficult at times to decide how appropriate some situations were.

The story itself is interesting and varied. There were some confusing parts, and there were some characters I wish had been fleshed out more, especially considering the role they played in the conclusion of the story. However, I think overall, it was a strong and interesting story. And given the school shootings going one, it’s very relevant today.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

For the sensitive reader: Although this is on the lighter side of most Scandinavian crime novel fare, there is still language, sex, and violence. In some ways it seems harsher because of the young narrator, although I think it’s comparable to others in the crime genre as a whole.

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