Cover Image: I Killed Zoe Spanos

I Killed Zoe Spanos

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Member Reviews

Anna tries to put her history of drinking and partying behind when she takes a nanny position in the Hamptons. She starts feeling uneasy when the townspeople start pointing out the resemblance between her and Zoe Spanos, a girl who went missing earlier that year. Flash forward to the present time when Anna has confessed to killing Zoe. Why does Anna look so similar to Zoe? Why does Anna inexplicably have memories of places she's never been? And what led Anna to kill Zoe?

This story was well-written and engaging. There are a lot of strange puzzle pieces that make the reader eager to solve the mystery. I also enjoyed the podcast aspect of the story. I was excited to see how things would start coming together. But as the pieces started falling into place at the end and confessions are made, I was finding it harder to suspend my belief. The characters' motives are really not strong enough to warrant the actions they take and things wrapped up a little too neatly for my taste. The ending really didn't do it for me but I did have an overall positive experience reading this book.  

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I tried and tried to get into this book, but I just couldn’t. I couldn’t connect with the characters and the writing fell flat for me.
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Was this really the YA Rebecca? No, not really. But was it really good? Yes. Plenty of tension and suspense, tightly written, with damaged characters who wanted to redeem themselves, this book had all the mystery! There were so many different directions it could have gone that it really was unpredictable. I really enjoyed it!
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I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick

4.75 stars

Where to start in reviewing I Killed Zoe Spanos without giving anything away? The plot follows Anna as she confesses to killing Zoe Spanos in a police interrogation and then flashes back to how she got to the interrogation and the confession and the events leading up to it. We also get a podcast and the perspective of Martina, who is best friend with Zoe’s sister, and she wants to find out where Zoe went and what happened to her. This is an intense YA thriller that has wonderful build up and is set in a bougie coastal tourist town with a bunch of upscale white people, except for Zoe’s boyfriend who happens to be one of the few Black people in the town. It leads to Martina being suspicious of him since he was her boyfriend and there was some friction (it also leads to a great conversation on being Black and under suspicion for something you didn’t do). I don’t want to give really anything about this story away because believe me you will want to know who killed Zoe Spanos and how she died. I didn’t guess correctly in who did it or how she died.

There are some things you should know going in: Kit Frick heavily relies on Gothic suspense in regards to houses and secrets passageways (so if that’s your thing, this is it), the audiobook has a full-cast and the podcast episodes are wonderfully done, the pacing gets a little slow in the early middle as Anna adjusts to being an au pair, but once we hit the built up to her looking like the missing Zoe it gets juicy, this is a character driven plot and thriller- the mystery is all wrapped up into the characters and what Anna can uncover, Anna is an unreliable narrator, nothing is as it seems and you should be suspicious of everyone, and the ending is satisfying and frustratingly good all at the same time. This is a YA mystery that hits the mark. It’s smart, daring, and sophisticated. I can’t recommend this enough!

Whimsical Writing Scale: 5

I’ll briefly talk about the characters, but I won’t go into depth. Anna is our main character and she is your typical unreliable narrator- spotty memory, past with heavy drinking and alcohol abuse, and she looks exactly like the missing Zoe Spanos.

Paisley is the girl that Anna is caring for over the summer and she sees a lot of supish things in Herron Mills. I loved her energy and the innocence she brought to the story. I usually love kid characters and Paisley was one who worked and developed the story.

Caden is Zoe’s boyfriend and he lives next door to Paisley in a giant fancy manor with a lot of secrets. One of the biggest secrets isn’t so much as did Caden do it (because it’s obvious he didn’t), but what happened between him and Zoe that lead to Zoe changing?

Martina is the best friend of Zoe’s sister, Aster, and hosts a podcast dedicated to locating Zoe. She offers the journalistic side to the novel and it blends well with Anna being able to learn more about Herron Mills and Zoe, but also in uncovering what happened to Zoe after Anna confesses.

There’s Max who went to Brown with Zoe and was in the biology department wit her who seems to have a weird obsession with Anna and keeps popping up.

Also, keep note of Anna’s best friend because she plays a big role in the unfolding of the story as well.

Kick-Butt Heroine Scale: 4.25

Character Scale: 5

Villain Scale: 5 (what a shocker!)

Overall, I think more people need to read (or listen to) I Killed Zoe Spanos because it is a fantastic addition to the YA mystery/thriller genre. It’s a strong book steeped in secrets, atmosphere, unreliable characters, and a privileged town that doesn’t take anything seriously because money is power (their cops are a JOKE). The commentary is great and I think teens will eat this up! I know I did and I want to get a copy for my classroom because this is a book many people will be able to enjoy.

Plotastic Scale: 4.75

Cover Thoughts: I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this cover! The colors, the glasses, the illustration. It’s all perfect.

Thank you, Netgalley and Margaret K. McElderry Books, for providing me with a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
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"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..."

 I love reading YA books to tell my students who like thrillers and suspense what books they might be intrested in and are a great read.  I enjoyed this book and look forward to telling my students to pick up a copy.

 Thank you NetGalley and Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing for the eARC!
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The ending really made this book. The entire time we think Anna had something to do with Zoe's death but she was really her half sister! She had nothing to do with her death. But she was there for the death of Starr and them keeping it a secret is left and not resolved. I suppose the guilt made her black out so much and lose time. It had it's slow moments where we just needed things to get moved along, but it picked up about 75 percent in and to the end. I was curious about why she was blacking out and having such bad memories and I thought maybe, when I read how George almost dropped her, that he had and she had hit her head and it messed her up but he didn't drop her so that wasn't it. She was just really drunk that night and super guily and it just ate her up to the point where she concocted these thoughts. But for me the shocker was finding out who her father was and that she had sisters. And did Aster know? She was ready to for Anna to take the fall but I wasn't clear on if she knew they were half sisters or not. I kind of wish they had done a chapter on that, at the end. Overall, nice little mystery.

3.5 stars
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i really wanted to love this because the plot was so intriguing, i was very interested in the format of the story, and i've been hearing such great things about it. unfortunately, while i was initially hooked, things quickly started to go downhill. it definitely wasn't a bad book by any means. but for something that had such a strong start, this did not live up to its potential in the slightest.

so this book follows a girl named anna who gets a job as a nanny for a wealthy family in the hamptons during the summer before she starts college. when she arrives in the town, people start telling her that she looks very similar to a local girl who went missing the previous year, zoe spanos. strange things start happening, like she starts getting flashes of memory of zoe and people start acting really weird around her. before the summer is over, zoe's body has been found and anna has confessed to killing her. 

the book is told in two timelines, the start of the summer when anna gets to the hamptons and the fall after zoe's body has been discovered. the summer timeline is told from anna's perspective and it's all about her coming to the area, meeting people, and starting to get these weird memories of zoe even though she's pretty sure they've never met. the fall timeline is told from another local girl, martina jenkins, as she tries to figure out exactly what happened to zoe. she hosts a podcast each week following the case and she gets very involved in the investigation.

i really liked the podcast element, especially listening to the audiobook because it had a full cast and really felt like you were listening to a podcast (similar to sadie by courtney summers). however, i don't think the podcast element was utilized to its full potential and i wish that it played a bigger part in the story. my biggest complaint with the book was that i didn't love the way the timeline jumped back and forth. i don't mind reading from two timelines. but the way the author spliced these two timelines together didn't always make the most sense. we'd get information in the present timeline before learning about it in the past and then it would jump back to the summer and you'd read it all over again. it made it less enjoyable because the shock factor was gone. 

also, i think the book was trying to do too many things. between the mystery of zoe's disappearance (and eventual body discovery), the podcast, a secondary mystery that doesn't really come into play too much but is definitely there, and all the characters having so much going on in their lives, the book really wasn't long enough to fully delve into each thing. it all felt kind of surface level. and the mystery itself was predictable and completely unoriginal. i feel like i've read this story a lot before and so it was much less exciting to get to the end and think "yeah, okay i figured that out a long time ago."

it definitely wasn't a bad book by any stretch, but it also wasn't amazing. i wanted to love it more than i did and my expectations were pretty high. if you're new to mysteries and you're looking for a good place to start, this is probably a perfect book to get into. if you like books with mixed media, go for it. but if you're looking for a solid ya thriller, this is not it unfortunately.
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I enjoyed this so much! A truly twisty mystery that will keep readers guessing until the very last line. I've already ordered a copy for my library, and I'm sure the teens here will love it as much as I did.
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The mysterious disappearance of Zoe Spanos isn’t the only mystery revealed in this book, which is full of plot twists and emotional confusion and revelations.

This was definitely a page-turner. Anna, the new nanny, is mistaken on her first full day of work for a girl who has been missing for months. She quickly decides to wear her hair up instead of down, so hopefully she can have less awkward encounters with the locals. Matters only get more complicated as Anna can’t resist the thought that so much of Herron Mills feels familiar to her, although her mother and her best friend insist she’s never been there before.

Anna as an unreliable narrator was an excellent character. She takes the job in Herron Mills to remove herself from what she knows was an unhealthy lifestyle. Before nannying, she had finished up high school by just partying. Lots of drinking, a handful of drugs, a few blackouts. Life had been chaotic enough that she now questions her own memories of events in her life. She’s trying to be a good person, but she’s not entirely sure what kind of person she was before.

Could Anna and Zoe have been connected before? Why is Herron Mills so familiar to Anna? And most importantly, what actually happened to Zoe? Different characters want the answer to these questions either discovered, or hidden, for all different reasons. Who is telling the truth, and who is doing their best to hide the truth?

Overall, this book was a compelling read, and getting to the end to find the answers was an irresistible race. I’d give this book 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it to young adults and adults who enjoy a great, unpredictable mystery.
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I think this was the first book I really *latched* on to in the past few months. Who knew I needed a thriller to help me climb out of my reading funk!

Kit Frick enraptured me from the first few pages. I quickly fell in love with her writing style, and I found myself not wanting to put the book down.

In regards to the police presence in this book, I'll admit, I got a little wary. I'm in agreement that our current law enforcement system is past the line of faulty and more into the danger and deadly zones. This book didn't shy away from that fact either. When Anna is taken into police custody for a murder investigation, the police interrogate her--without her mother present--for over six hours straight. She ends up confessing to the crime, even though she isn't entirely sure she committed it.

With the help of an acquaintance-turned-podcast host, the truths and the lies are uncovered and told for all to hear.

I'm not overhyping this when I'm saying this is a thriller/mystery that will have you guessing until the very end of the book. I was, in no way, able to fully predict everything that Kit Frick had planned and provided, and I completely loved the story for that. As someone who overanalyzes everything until the details and experiences are spoiled, I really appreciated Frick giving that intense sense of mysteriousness and never letting up on the short-falling hints. It helped me stay into the story, and it quickly became one I couldn't get over.

The character development in this book was also phenomenal. I felt like both the main and side characters were each given the right amount of development as needed, if not more so than that too. My personal favorite was definitely our main character Anna, but a close-contender for second place had to be Martina. I really connected with Martina in her need for fact-filled truths and correct answers. Even when the tables seemed to turn against her, she didn't let up and continued forward, and I feel like that was a great quality for her character to have.

One thing I was a little iffy on was the ending. While I was shocked by the outcome, I wasn't all that happy about how it was written out. The rest of the novel was this beautiful and intricately woven story, and then once you got to the last few chapters, it became kind of summarized. 

Other than that, I really did love this book. For that, I rate it 4.5 stars. I look forward to reading from Kit Frick again and can't wait to see what she has next for us.
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This book had so much potential, but the execution fell very flat. The ending felt thrown together and the book itself felt disjointed and confused. The unreliable narrator trope was turned on it's head a bit which I found really intriguing but I felt like more could be done. More could be explained and expanded. The ending was abrupt and did not lend itself to the narrative well at all.
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This book captures your attention with it's plot twists, forcing you to focus on it until you finish it in a frenzied attempt to figure out just who killed Zoe Spanos. Very good read.
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This was really enjoyable. The podcasts were extremely fun and engaging, and it kept me hooked until the end. And I absolutely loved the Anne x Gilbert mention.
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Thanks NetGalley for the arc of this title. YA and thriller are my favorite genres, so I was really excited when this book had both. My students are always asking for murder mysteries and there are so many great ones that I can’t give them. This is an awesome thriller but still appropriate to have in a classroom library.
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Anything that is compared to Sadie, one of my all time favourite books, is something that I instantly need in my life. When you combine that with a razor-sharp mystery and the fact that it’s inspired by Rebecca, you have me utterly sold. 

Frick takes the essence of Rebecca in all its shine-chilling, Gothic beauty and infuses it into a thrilling mystery. It reignites the spirit of the classic and gives it a fresh and new feel to it. Information is drip-fed to you through multiple timelines, allowing for a slow build of atmosphere and this constant unsettling sense of not being able to trust anyone. Everyone is a suspect and for a lot of the book you’ll go back and forth on whether Anna indeed committed the crime. That sense of déjà vu that haunts Rebecca is so prevalent here, with Anna’s uncanny resemblance to Zoe and the secrets that are slowly unravelled. Every character is carefully sketched out so a cloud of secrets looms above them, with salacious hints of affairs, obsession and scandals. 

The mystery is so well-constructed and imagined. You become utterly wrapped up, spawning theories left and right as new clues are uncovered. Frick has crafted an incredible riveting mystery that makes it so hard to stop reading. As I read, my mind kept whirring as it thought up new potential theories. When a book consumes your every waking thought, you know it’s a good one and it’s what a mystery should achieve. Frick delivers all that and more. It’s definitely worth re-reading, as it’s so interesting to see the breadcrumb trail of tiny hints that lead up to the big reveals. Like any good mystery writer, Frick tosses us a multitude of plot hints, threads and potential red herrings to keep you constantly on your toes. You really can’t trust anyone you meet. Throughout reading, you have to be constantly suspicious and looking for clues. This type of engagement in a book is so rare and it is an impressive feat. 

I Killed Zoe Spanos utilises two alternating timelines (earlier in the summer and after the confession) and interludes of the podcast. It is the latter feature that reminds readers of Sadie, as it feels like such a real podcast that would definitely be a smash-hit. Using this allows the reader to feel more involved and part of the story, keeping you glued to the page. However, it is also similar to Sadie in its incisive, deeply feminist writing. Frick offers biting social commentary on the role of women and privilege, including an excellent conversation about white privilege. A lot of the book revolves around both media and public perceptions of people, showing how easily these can be manipulated and influenced by our own implicit biases. Frick plays with these expectations expertly, often exploiting assumptions that you may have made in order to surprise you. 

On the flipside, Frick also offers a quieter study of guilt and grief alongside the dramatic mystery. It’s an emotionally charged story with a lot of introspective character study. This is particularly evident through Anna’s perspective. She may be somewhat unreliable and untrustworthy but you can only reveal the truth by peeking into her mind. The structure really complimented the twisty nature of the story so much and the parallels within it. For example, the book’s opening and closing lines are both ‘I killed Zoe Spanos’, giving it this unsettling feeling of inevitable destruction. 

I Killed Zoe Spanos is a stand-out YA thriller of 2020, with a dark and entrancing tone that will keep you hooked until that explosive final reveal.
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This was a solid YA mystery that had a fun podcast component. The timelines confused me at times because I was unsure of who actually knew who. I didn't get connected to or invested in any of the characters. So ultimately, this was just okay for me.
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Soon-to-be college student Anna Cicconi thinks she's landed a dream summer gig as a nanny in the Hamptons' village of Herron Mills ... until townspeople start telling her how much she resembles missing local Zoe Spanos, who hasn't been seen since New Year's Eve. Dealing with a series of memories that may or may not belong to her, Anna befriends a local podcaster and quickly becomes embroiled in the mystery of Zoe's disappearance. The perfect summer beach read, this young adult thriller will keep you guessing until the very end!
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A dual timeline… “Now” and “Then.” A murder confession. One word that controls the plot: Murky!

It is summer vacation and the small towns on Long Island are opening up to all the tourists of the season. But the year-long residents of Herron Mills are still reeling from the disappearance of local college student, Zoe Spanos. Anna Cicconi has arrived for her summer nanny job and is immediately recognized as a virtual doppelgänger of Spanos, and this brings her into the missing girl’s circle. A friend’s sister who is producing a podcast looking into the possible crime, a biracial ex-boyfriend who is still suspected of wrongdoing, and a family who is grieving. Anna feels compelled to investigate… some out of boredom and some out of true curiosity.

One thread leaps ahead a couple months when Zoe’s body is found and Anna almost immediately confesses to the murder. But people close to the case see too many holes in her story and question why Anna has put herself in this position. This is when the book really takes off. Coupled with the backstory put forth by podcast, the investigation really starts to get off the ground with a series of twists and turns that left me questioning all the characters.

This is a fun one! I found the mystery very satisfying. Sure, the ending is a bit fanciful, but the run up is worth it. I liked the Long Island, small-town setting, and the relationships Frick sets up between the townies and the Brooklyn nanny. So many secrets in this town!

I have one minor criticism: I didn’t think the blurb’s comparison to Serial and Sadie was apt just because I feel like this book is much different than those stories. Sadie was larger in scale and just throwing out Serial as a connection feels contrived, like it is only mentioned because it’s probably the most popular crime podcast. I guess I’d just rather that I Killed Zoe Spanos would stand on its own, which I think it definitely can and should.

4 out of 5 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley, Simon and Schuster Publishing, and the author for an advanced copy for review.
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I Killed Zoe Spanos is full of twists, turns, and "I didn't see it coming"s. The majority of the novel takes place in an idyllically small Hamptons village, which makes the disappearance of beloved Zoe Spanos even more sinister. When Anna Cicconi arrives in Herron Mills to nanny for the summer, she turns quite a few heads, as she bears and uncanny resemblance to the missing Zoe. Then, Anna starts to experience "flashbacks" where she remembers places around town that she could have no way of remembering and there are convenient gaps in her memory that correspond with when Zoe went missing. How does Anna know these things and where was she the night that Zoe disappeared? Read to find out!
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Wow. This book. There’s a lot going on and so many twists and turns in the plot, it is hard to decide where to start. And so I start by just saying – WOW. I didn’t know what to expect from this book when I picked it up. The description was intriguing but it felt like there was a lot that could go wrong. Thankfully, it all went very right!

Read my full review here:
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