Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Book Review: Thicker Than Water

By: Brigid Kemmerer
Genre: YA Paranormal
Copyright: December 29th 2015
Publisher: Kensington Books
POV: First Person - Alternating

Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect.
Not that there’s any evidence. But before Thomas got to Garretts Mill there had just been one other murder in twenty years.
The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, little sister to three cops and, with her soft hands and sweet curves, straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Her best friend was the other murder vic. And she’d like a couple answers.
Answers that could get them both killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden…

Main Character: Thomas Bellweather - He's kind of broken guy at the beginning. Here's the DL on Thomas on page one. He's the son of an only mother who ran from his (potentially abusive) father when Thomas was very young. They ran from place to place for awhile, but things settled. Then Thomas's mother met Stan, a police detective, and married him. She moved Thomas to a brand new town right after he graduated high school. Then she was brutally murdered 10 days after her wedding and Thomas found her body. Heavy stuff. So, now he's kind of a wreck. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Brigid Kemmerer writes angsty boys well. I love them in her books, and I love Thomas.

Love Connection: Charlotte Rooker - She's an interesting character. She's the youngest child and only daughter of a family of cops. So she's very sheltered. She also has a very old-fashioned live-in grandmother and mother. And she has diabetes. I like that she kind of rebels in her own way and still has a very strong opinion and personality. It would be easy for someone like Charlotte to get buried under all the other strong personalities in her family. (I wish that her relationship with her brothers, specifically Ben, was examined more, but I am fine that it wasn't). She's a sweet, kind girl. So she's a good person to help Thomas through his issues.

Allies and Enemies: Stan - Thomas's new step-dad and kind of the only guy who is taking Thomas's side. Every other cop thinks that Thomas is the one who killed his mother. Eek!

Charlotte's brothers - there are three of them. Two are okay, one sucks. They're all cops, and they all love Charlotte. They all hate Thomas/think he's a murderer. That's the most important stuff.

Nicole - Charlotte's best friend. She's funny, and spunky, and I like her a lot. She befriends Thomas in a way and I like that he has another person on his side (that makes his count: 3).

Setting: Small east-coast community.

Diversity: None (that I saw). I was kind of sad about this, the characters are fairly well drawn in the book and there's really no reason for them all to be white and straight. Sigh.

Random Thoughts: I really like Brigid Kemmerer's writing. I think she writes boys really well (See: My author post I wrote about her for Books Are Bread). I also think she writes romance pretty well. So those are two great elements of the book.

There's also a really frustrating part of the book, that everyone thinks Thomas is a murderer and they treat him like crap. There's one part where Thomas wonders why they hate him so immediately when they don't know anything about him. I'd like to know that too. Also, what about innocent until proven guilty? (okay, okay, I know that this is just the logical side of me talking. We all make snap judgments). However, it is still really frustrating that no one gives the poor guy a break. We can actually see him starting to crack as the book goes on, and it's so futilely frustrating! (So, I guess that means that Brigid Kemmerer did a really good job, because she evoked such strong feelings in me)

It is a paranormal book, and I think that's kind of Kemmerer's jam (see: the Elemental series). I saw that people were kind of thrown off by the paranormal aspect. On one side, the book is categorized in the paranormal genre. So...I don't think anyone should be surprised about that element. However, I can see what people mean. For the first 70% of the book, it reads like a very well-developed, well-paced contemporary thriller/mystery. The characters are all fairly normal. The main issue is Thomas's angst and his need to prove his innocence. Then, boom! Paranormal stuff!

Though the Paranormal elements did seem late-in-the game, they didn't necessarily seem tacked on. The book sets up the whole story for that to be the reveal. However, the tone of the book did read a bit contemporary thriller in the beginning.

Either way, I thought the book was fun and well-written. I liked the characters, I liked the romance, and I think that the end reveal was a decent twist. I do think things got tied up a bit too conveniently (though there were some open ended things. So, sequel?) All-in-all, I'd still recommend this book. Especially to fans of Kemmerer and to fans of well-written angsty boyz.

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