In the Hall with the Knife by Diana Peterfreund
Release date: October 8, 2019
An e-galley was provided by Amulet Books via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Summary: When a storm strikes at Blackbrook Academy, an elite prep school nestled in the woods of Maine, a motley crew of students—including Beth “Peacock” Picach, Orchid McKee, Vaughn Green, Sam “Mustard” Maestor, Finn Plum, and Scarlet Mistry—are left stranded on campus with their headmaster. Hours later, his body is found in the conservatory and it’s very clear his death was no accident. With this group of students who are all hiding something, nothing is as it seems, and everyone has a motive for murder. Fans of the CLUE board game and cult classic film will delight in Diana Peterfreund’s modern reimagining of the brand, its characters, and the dark, magnificent old mansion with secrets hidden within its walls.
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: I love a good mystery, but this YA Clue never quite pulled me in like a good board game session does. The book is told in third-person multiple POV, jumping between all six of the characters named in the synopsis (and yes, Mrs. White is in the book, too). The problem is, with a book as opposed to a movie or board game, you want to get invested in characters, and I never did. Also there were some weird plot choices that were just kind of left hanging or never fully explained when they happened. For example (this isn't a big spoiler or anything), we find out at one point that Beth and Finn dated, and it seems out of the blue and doesn't seem to fit their characters. But we barely know the characters, so honestly, what do I know?
Also, obviously it's hard to pull off twists when readers know a murder is coming, but in that case, you've got to have the readers worried for the characters' safety and get us truly invested in a whodunit. And I don't think Diana Peterfreund succeeded here.
Content warnings: murder, violence, foul language
The Verdict: There are better YA mysteries out there. It might be interesting to see how this series continues, though.
Will I be adding this book to my library?: Nah.