Monday, July 6, 2020

I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick
Synopsis (via Goodreads): This gripping thriller follows two teens whose lives become inextricably linked when one confesses to murder and the other becomes determined to uncover the real truth no matter the cost.

What happened to Zoe won't stay buried...

When Anna Cicconi arrives to the small Hamptons village of Herron Mills for a summer nanny gig, she has high hopes for a fresh start. What she finds instead is a community on edge after the disappearance of Zoe Spanos, a local girl who has been missing since New Year's Eve. Anna bears an eerie resemblance to Zoe, and her mere presence in town stirs up still-raw feelings about the unsolved case. As Anna delves deeper into the mystery, stepping further and further into Zoe's life, she becomes increasingly convinced that she and Zoe are connected--and that she knows what happened to her.

Two months later, Zoe's body is found in a nearby lake, and Anna is charged with manslaughter. But Anna's confession is riddled with holes, and Martina Green, teen host of the Missing Zoe podcast, isn't satisfied. Did Anna really kill Zoe? And if not, can Martina's podcast uncover the truth?

“First time in the Hamptons?” Tom asks. I turn my head toward him, tearing my eyes from the hedgerows and entrance gates that obscure what promise to be jaw-dropping houses from public view. “Yeah. Yes. I think so, anyway.”
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

I really enjoyed reading Frick's I Killed Zoe Spanos, but the story's ending didn't blow me away. I was initially captivated by the unreliable narrator and her sketchy, half-remembered details, but there was something lacking there at the end. The characters were all the same, but the Big Reveal wasn't all that remarkable. It was unexpected, yes, but also a little underwhelming. After reading the first part of the book, I had higher expectations for its conclusion.

Anna would frequently lose time, forget important details, and had an alarming number of gaps in her memory. At first, I thought she might have a mental health issue that caused her to struggle with facts and retention, but even that aspect of the story lost some of its steam towards the end. Some of her memories were explained, while others were left untouched. I wanted to know more about all of Anna's dreams and hallucinations, not just the ones that were relevant at the end. If you've read this, I'm mostly referring to the one she had about Paisley. It seemed to be the only major one not addressed.

Additionally, I felt like the adults in this book were at the root of everyone's problems, and wish that had also been elaborated on a little more. Unfortunately, we only get a few breadcrumbs regarding their involvement in Anna's life. The secondary characters were interesting, if also somewhat one-dimensional. I understood the need for secrecy, and know the lack of details only made me more suspicious of everyone. I kept wondering what they were hiding, and if this or that reaction had anything to do with Zoe.

What I didn't understand was why anyone would be attracted to Caden. He was unlikable from the start, and clearly only cared about himself. However, I thought the podcast element was very interesting, and reminded me of Courtney Summers' Sadie. We get to learn details about the past without the characters having flashbacks, and I thought it really complemented the Then and Now format.

I can't really say too much more without giving something away, but if you like unreliable narrators, suspenseful thrillers, and small beach towns, then definitely give this book a shot. I Killed Zoe Spanos held my interest and kept me on my toes, but I wanted something more from its conclusion. (★★★★☆)


  1. I enjoyed this one too but completely agree about the ending. I would have liked more from it than what we got.

    1. Yes! I was really disappointed with how the author chose to resolve things. It just sort of happened and then the book was over... it was nothing like the carefully crafted story we get the first 75% of the story.

  2. Ugh, too bad it didn't ultimately live up to its potential. Why is it so difficult to find a good thriller that doesn't disappoint for some reason? I've been wanting to read one for ages, but each time I read the reader's reservations (there are ALWAYS reservations, it seems), I feel like I can't risk my money on it...

    1. If you want a good mystery, check out The Mountains Wild by Sarah Stewart Taylor! I stayed up waaay too late reading that one, AND the ending was WOW.

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you, Chuckles! Do you read a lot of thrillers?

  4. I have this one on hold at my library once they process it. I'm not a huge fan of unreliable narrators but I still want to give it a try. Especially since it's a library book - at least I'm not out anything.

    1. Unreliable narrators aren't my favorite, but it really worked for this story. There's already the mystery surrounded Zoe's disappearance, and Anna's memory isn't doing her any favors. You'll have to let me know what you think!


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“Stuff and nonsense. Nonsense and stuff and much of a muchness and nonsense all over again. We are all mad here, don't you know?”
― Marissa Meyer, Heartless