Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Review of: Mister Death's Blue-Eyed Girls by Mary Downing Hahn

Mister Death's Blue-Eyed GirlsMister Death's Blue-Eyed Girls by Mary Downing Hahn

Page Count(Hardcover Edition): 330 pgs
Publisher: Clarion Books
Released: April 17th, 2012
Genre: Young Adult Historical Fiction
My Rating: 4/5 stars 
Read: February 3rd-19th, 2013
Source: Library


Based on an actual crime in 1955, this YA novel is at once a mystery and a coming-of-age story. The brutal murder of two teenage girls on the last day of Nora Cunningham's junior year in high school throws Nora into turmoil. Her certainties, friendships, religion, her prudence, her resolve to find a boyfriend taller than she is - are shaken or cast off altogether. 

Most people in Elmgrove, Maryland, share the comforting conviction that Buddy Novak, who had every reason to want his ex-girlfriend dead, is responsible for the killings. Nora agree's at first, then begins to doubt Buddy's guilt, and finally comes to believe him innocent - the lone dissenting voice of Elmgrove.

Told from several different perspectives, including that of the murderer, Mister Death's Blue-Eyed Girls is a suspenseful page-turner with a powerful human drama at it's core.

I was shocked, scared and provoked after reading this book. I can say that Mister Death's Blue-Eyed Girls is the first book to make me think: HOW AND WHY?!?!? After I discovered that it was based off a true story back in the 50's, it became even creepier than the synopsis had made it.

Throughout the story, you are taken on this ride of who killed those 2 poor girls(not a spoiler), why they did it, and how these killings have taken a toll on Nora. This book was so much more than 2 murders of teenage girls. This book was and inside look of the author's actual experience with these murder's and the murderer's possible point of view. I think the perspectives were spot on with emotion, facts and truth.

Back in the 1950's and into the 1960's, family values and religious practices were stricter and taken more seriously. Nora is struggling with her faith as her world is tumbling down around her. She begins to experiment more, with boys and alcohol. Every time she gets close to breaking even more rules within her religion, she questions herself, but then basically ignores the warnings and jumps in full force. Though this all happened, I still see Nora as one-dimensional, almost incapable of emotions. But hey, who can blame her? I would be too if 2 of my friends were murdered when I was no less than 15 minutes away from them.

The plot progressed at a fairly good pace. Every chapter was from either Nora or Mr. Death's point of view, and sometimes Buddy was thrown in there as well. I liked the way the book was split into 10 parts, with Cheryl's and  Bobbi Jo's diary's added. At the end, the author adds her  personal touch to the story with the afterword, explaining the tragedy in her own words. She tells how this story has been haunting her for many years, and the only way to release it was to write a book about it.

I really, really enjoyed Mister Death's Blue-Eyed Girls. It was haunting, creepy and thought-provoking, but the story will stay with me for a long time.


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