Cover Image: Everyone Who Can Forgive Me Is Dead

Everyone Who Can Forgive Me Is Dead

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This is a solid debut. The pacing is slow and it did lag some but overall I enjoyed it for what it is. I would read other books by Jenny Hollander because I think she has lots of potential. If the premise interests you, I would recommend giving it a shot. Special Thank You to Jenny Hollander, St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

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3.5 stars

You can read all of my reviews at Nerd Girl Loves Books.

This is a solid debut thriller than held my attention and was a quick and easy read. The book is told in present day and nine years prior while the MC, Charlie, was in an elite journalism graduate school. She was a witness to a terrible incident at her school dubbed "Scarlet Christmas", and has spent the intervening years rebuilding her life and reputation. Now one of her former schoolmates plans to release a buzzy film about the events and she's determined to stop it so it doesn't derail her life again.

This was a fun book, especially if you don't read a lot of thrillers. I had a hard time warming up to Charlie, but I don't think you're supposed to like her much. She's the epitome of an unreliable narrator and lies to herself to protect her sanity. I know that it's a common tactic to draw the suspense out, but I would have liked to have known what "Scarlet Christmas" was way before it was finally revealed. I mean, if I don't know what happened, how can I fall for all of the red herrings the author throws in to throw us off?

I did have fun trying to figure out who did what. The storyline itself was fun and kept me interested. The twists aren't bad and I even fell for a couple of them. The ending was a bit rushed and a bit underwhelming, but there were a few pleasant surprises I enjoyed. If you want to have fun with a bit of intrigue for the afternoon, definitely pick this one up.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and St. Martin's Press and Minotaur Books. All opinions are my own.

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Thanks to Minotaur Books, MacMillan Audio, Jenny Hollander, and NetGalley for my advanced copies of this book. All opinions are my own!

I'm not really sure how to rate this. I was having a really great time throughout the beginning but I started getting noticeably lost during the last quarter of the book. We follow Charlie (Charlotte) Colbert as she is living her high life after experiencing the traumatic and awful night referred to as "Scarlet Christmas" while in the United States for college.

I think the mystery in this book was really captivating, and I think it had a really great start. Things started getting muddled a little when Charlie was forcing (?) her therapist to see her through the events leading up to and on Scarlet Christmas, which I'm still not sure I really understand the dynamics of, but I'm not a psychologist so maybe it's something that could be done in real life.

As far as the audio goes, while it was well produced, I just don't think this book works very well for an audio. There are so many interviews, emails, time jumps, etc that it's hard to follow without seeing, but I did still ultimately enjoy the story.

The romance between Charlie and Tripp was hard to digest or believe because Charlie was never present with him and they did not know a single significant thing about each other other than their names, titles, and social statuses. I wasn't really sure how it fit in to the story other than the connection with the friend, and I'm glad it resolved the way it did with them. I loved that Charlie ended up getting a dog, and I enjoyed how everything wrapped.

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This book is not bad but for me, it read more along the lines of a YA book. The way the story unfolds is slightly predictable with not much suspense. I know that's a tricky line to play with (given school violence) but something about this book just did not pull me in as much as I'd hope. Maybe because I have read other books with similar plot lines. This book was good! However, it was not my favorite in this genre/theme.

Thank you to NetGalley for the free copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Thank you to NetGalley for a digital ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

First off, the chapters in this book were very long and drawn out. It felt like it was taking forever to get to the real story here. Second, I hated the main character for most of the story. It's not until the end of the book where you can finally get a good look at who she really is.

All in all, this was not a very thrilling read for me.

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Based on the synopsis, this sounded like the type of thriller I always gravitate too. The premise sounded strong and interesting, and I had hoped it would be very fast-paced. Unfortunately, the story fell flat for me. I didn't feel like the characters were strong, I found the main character of Charlotte to be very whiny, self-centered (which is strange since she's constantly talking about her fiance's family who is very egotistical), and honestly, annoying.

The chapters felt too long and didn't hold my attention either. There was one twist towards the 60% mark that was good, but the main twist of the story felt rushed and a bit out of the blue. I kept going with the book because I wanted to know what actually happened the night of Scarlet Christmas, and while the ending was good, I was definitely underwhelmed.

In all, this book read more like contemporary drama than a mystery/thriller.

Thank you Minotaur Books and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Everyone Who Can Forgive Me Is Dead is a true mystery! From trying to decipher what exactly happened on Scarlet Christmas to determining which characters died, as referenced in the title, the reader is drawing conclusions to find these answers and more, all from an unreliable narrator!

I especially enjoyed the therapy scenes which not only normalized mental health and adult trauma but also served as an important catalyst in the plot and protagonist’s evolution.

If you are in the mood to get lost in a tangled mystery featuring a haunting secret you likely won’t solve until the very end , then this book is for you!

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This was the first first thriller / mystery book I picked up in several months. Unfortunately, it missed the mark for me by a lot. I felt like the story starts off interesting as you see the main character with her perfect life and psyche slowly crumbling. Slowly we learn she's hiding a huge secret that she's unwilling to even think about.

This goes on for ages where we get flashbacks that don't really connect well to what's happening to the present. It drags on out for a while and then culminates to a big climax that I just didn't feel any urgency in. I expected the characters to leave more of an impression on me since they were all in some way or another involved with the big mystery, but I really couldn't even place who some of the characters were by the climax.

[2.5]

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The writing is fantastic, but I ultimately had to DNF because of the inspirational disabled sister. When the only disabled people present in a book are there to inspire the MC and give their life meaning, it's just a no from me.

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I wanted to love this. However I felt the characters were average and typical. There wasn't much depth to the characters and the entire story was predictable and unoriginal.

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I loved the suspense and slow reveal of what happened during the Scarlet Christmas event. The author teases out the reveal keeping you guessing till the end. Though the characters are not always very likable, I was still pulled into their story. This author's debut has me waiting for more. 4.5 stars.

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Everyone Who Can Forgive Me Is Dead by Jenny Hollander
Genre: thriller
Format: eARC

I DNFed this one at 44%. I really liked the idea of this one, but I couldn’t get invested.

Pros:
- short chapters
- interesting premise
- flashbacks (grad school and present day)
- Hollywood aspect (making a movie out of the story)
- journalism aspect
- therapy representation
- quick read (under 300 pages)

Cons:
- didn’t hold my attention
- couldn’t connect with the main character

I really need to be hooked by 25% and find the main character intriguing enough for me to get invested in a thriller. I gave this one a little longer because it seemed like it had potential, but I sadly couldn’t get into it. I think others may like it - it just wasn’t for me!

Thank you to Minotaur Books for my eARC in exchange for my honest review.

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I really liked Everyone Who Can Forgive Me Is Dead when I started but the more I read the less it captured my attention. When the truth of the incident at the school was finally revealed, I felt tricked. One of the worst endings I think I have ever read in my whole life. Definitely not worth the time I put into it and I skimmed the last 30%.

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Everyone Who Can Forgive Me Is Dead
⭐️⭐️⭐️.5
Author: Jenny Hollander

I requested a digital advanced readers copy from NetGalley, St. Martin’s Press and Macmillan Audio and providing my opinion voluntarily and unbiased.

Synopsis: What if everything you know about the worst night of your life turns out not to be true?

Nine years ago, with the world's eyes on her, Charlie Colbert fled. The press and the police called Charlie a "witness" to the nightmarish events at her elite graduate school on Christmas Eve—events known to the public as "Scarlet Christmas"—though Charlie knows she was much more than that.

Now, Charlie has meticulously rebuilt her life: She's the editor-in-chief of a major magazine, engaged to the golden child of the publishing industry, and hell-bent on never, ever letting her guard down again. But when a buzzy film made by one of Charlie's former classmates threatens to shatter everything she's worked for, Charlie realizes how much she's changed in nine years. Now, she's not going to let anything—not even the people she once loved most—get in her way.

My Thoughts: This was a really intense, psychological thriller and well written for a debut novel. Almost a decade ago, Charlie Colbert escaped the most terrifying event of her life, known as “Scarlet Christmas.” She has risen above the odds and has become a successful editor-in-chief and engaged to another successful man. When one of Charlie’s classmates was to embody the Scalet Christmas into a film, it starts to bring up memories for Charlie, not all good. The continuum between then and now begins to cross and Charlie is forced to remember to not let anything in front of her happiness. Will this backfire on her? Or will she actually remember what happened that night? Will digging in her memories reveal that she may have had something to do with the tragic event?

The story was narrated in past (Scarlet Christmas tense) and current, with little snippets of press announcements and therapy sessions. The characters were developed and not all of them were likable. The author did a great job with the twist reveals, some were unpredictable, although some you could see coming. The prose was on point. The plot evolved as it should, keeping the classic whodunit with reach, not going too far fetched. However, I felt like we needed more pieces earlier, it was a little slow paced. Towards the end, some of the passages were unclear and it was hard to determine what was Charlie’s fog and what was actually happening in the story. There were times that I had to reread passages to make sure I understood what was happening.

Hollander has established herself as a solid psychological thriller author and I know we can expect amazing things from her in the future. The ending was not what I had expected, but was still satisfying. There were some plot holes towards the midpoint, most of them resolved, however, there were still somethings left unturned. Overall, I liked this story. It kept my interest, it was captivating, gripping, and twisty. I would recommend to other readers.

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I liked the majority of the book but it did feel a little slow in the middle. I didn’t see the last twist coming, which I always appreciate in a book.

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While I really liked the pacing of the story, I found the characters to be unlikable. The mystery was strong enough to keep me reading and I loved how it ended.

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Nine years ago, Charlie and her friends were the victims of the Scarlet Christmas, and not everyone made it out alive. In the time since, Charlie has built a highly successful life for herself. But the gaps in her memory still bother her, and with the upcoming anniversary, she is more uncertain than ever. In a book filled with twists, turns, secrets, and lies, will the truth ever come out?

Told through a dual timeline, the reader is taken through Charlie's experiences. The story is intense, steeped with secrecy and raw emotions. I really enjoyed Charlie's character, both past and present. It was very interesting to see how she handled (or didn't handle) her traumas. The twists were good and kept me on my feet. However, at times the book was a little slow. I also feel like even after the end, we didn't get clarity on what happened to one of the victims (intentionally vague to avoid spoilers). Overall, a good book that could have used a little more fleshing out on the intricate plot details.

Thank you to NetGalley and Minotaur Books for this ARC. I am leaving this review voluntarily and all views expressed are my own.

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The concept of this book is what totally drew me to it. A group of college students and several of them wind up dead. The event is dubbed Scarlet Christmas and the reports don’t quite match up with the events of that day. Charlie believes, for the 10 years that follow, that she is the one that did it because she had blacked out. She pushes everyone from that event away to try and protect herself but they are reunited when she finds out one of the friends is producing a movie to “set the record straight.”

This was definitely a page turner and I had a hard time putting it down. I have to say that I was a little disappointed in the anticlimactic way that the truth was revealed. It was all this build up with very little bang for what really happened that day. But it all ties up nicely in the end. Overall, it was a good book, right along the lines of what I like to read, but just a bit of a disappointment in the way it was revealed.

Thank you St. Martin’s Press Minotaur Books for the gifted copy through NetGalley.

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I love a good slow burn psychological thriller, and this novel delivered. Complicated characters and a banging plot make for a great experience. As someone who has had traumatic amnesia, I felt like the topic was covered honestly and earnestly.

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for providing this novel in exchange for an unbiased review.

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This book was very hard to get into, and seemed, slow, long, and drawn out. I could not connect to any character, which made it even harder to continue with the book. This lack of connection, and slowness lead to me struggling through the book. At first I thought the premise of the book was amazing, but the execution was not there.

The narrator, Marisa Calin, did an ok job of narrating this book. Her vocals for some characters sounded like cartoon characters. This made it hard to listen at times. I am not sure I would listen to another book narrated by Marisa.

I want to thank Netgalley and St. Martin's Press, Minotaur Books for an ARC of this book and Macmillan Audio for an advanced listening copy of the audiobook.

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