Cover Image: Everyone Who Can Forgive Me Is Dead

Everyone Who Can Forgive Me Is Dead

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Member Reviews

Thank you, Netgalley and publisher, for the digital ARC.

I wanted to like this one, but it was not for me. The MC was hard to connect to, and I found the way that she kept bringing up accents odd and annoying after a couple of times.

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A slow burn physiological thriller. Everyone who can forgive me is dead had the potential to be a really great book but fell a little short for me. The plot was engaging but had that already been done feel. I was engaged and did enjoy the story but something was just missing for me to love it.

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I have already purchased this title. It made me want to read it quickly, so that I discovered the end of the book. The author did a good job hiding the truth of the story, though I did feel bad for the main character at the end, as she had lived for years with the conviction that she had done something that she hadn't. It was a very tidy ending, which was interesting. I would have liked to see her keep some of the elements from her new life, like the fiancé, and integrate them into the elements of her old life. I would think that that would indicate growth, though I suppose that that is the point, that she didn't really grow and instead was stuck at the moment of the trauma.

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When Memories Are a Glitch, The Present is Adrift

“Everyone Who Can Forgive Me Is Dead,” is a novel of reflection on psychological trauma, by Jenny Hollander, that delves into the unresolved grief and suppressed memories of a young woman in the aftermath of a horrific college tragedy where multiple victims died and others were injured.

British exchange student, Charlie Colbert, is a grad school Journalism major in NYC who witnessed her boyfriend and best friend brutally stabbed by another student before passing out. Her memories of the event are blurred and confused. Charlie’s visions are of insurmountable red blood splattered everywhere. She hazily recalls squeaking window hinges and her name pleadingly being shouted.

However, Charlie’s imperfect memories of the events of “Scarlet Christmas,” as the media dubbed it, haunt her every waking and dreaming hour. Through years of psychotherapy, Charlie tries to relive and remember what truly happened because she believes that deep down she does know the truth, but may have lied to authorities to protect herself or someone else.

Nearing the 10-year anniversary of the horrific college “bloodbath,” news reports say that a movie about “Scarlet Christmas” is in production. Charlie’s anxiety about the past is tantamount to Vesuvius erupting. She can’t eat, sleep or concentrate on anything besides the possibility that her buried fears and lies will be exposed.

JoyReaderGirl1 graciously thanks NetGalley, Author Jenny Hollander, and Publisher Minotaur Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Publishing Group, for this advanced reader’s copy (ARC) for review.

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This was a decent enough book, with plausble red herrings, but some aspects felt a bit leaden to me. A slower paced story than was necessary I guess. I honestly didn't believe how long a process the therapy aspect took. I feel she would have remembered what happened sooner than she did.

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Nine years after the Scarlet Christmas happened at Charlie's grad school, in which she was a witness, one of the victim's sister's is going to make a movie about what happened. After Charlie has made a new, successful life for herself, she is afraid that it will be destroyed if this movie comes out. As she is working against time to remember what actually happened, her world starts to fall apart.

This is a fast paced thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Well written with great characters. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Hollander.

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Everyone Who Can Forgive Me is Dead started off very promising. Told using a dual timeline with an unreliable narrator and unlikeable characters, this campus murder mystery was gripping at first, and then toward the end, it fell apart for me. The ending felt rushed, confusing and left me feeling unsatisfied. Read this if you enjoy a twisty campus murder mystery.

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I will not be sharing my thoughts on this book
It saddens me that St Martins Press still has not spoken out against the homophobia and islamophobia that was shared to social media by one of it's employees.

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Such a great debut! I loved the documentary angle and the unreliable narrator. It's a slow burn but kept me guessing and the reveal totally surprised me. If you love thrillers, give this one a read!

Thanks to St. Martin's for the copy to review.

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Nine years ago on Christmas Eve, Carroll University was rocked with a gruesome event dubbed the “Scarlet Christmas” by the media. Charlotte Colbert was a witness to the tragic event and now one of her former classmates is hellbent on making a film that will bring to light what actually happened that night. Charlie is worried the truth will upend her meticulously planned life, so she goes to great lengths to stop production, even submersing herself in intense therapy to unveil her repressed memories.

This slow-burn of a psychological thriller had a great premise, and I liked Charlie as an unreliable narrator. The author relies heavily on therapy sessions to reveal the events of the past, as well as Charlie’s deteriorating mental state. While they helped keep the story moving, I wish that there was more in how the events affected Charlie. This book would be a great weekend read if you’re looking for a quick page-turner.

Thank you to Jenny Hollander, St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for an advance e-copy of the book for an honest review.

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This one was a let down for me. The pace was so slow, the “twists” felt underdeveloped and lacklustre, and none of the characters were particularly enjoyable. The switch back and forth from past to present was clunky, and made it hard to actually connect with the MC.

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Thank you Minotaur Books, #partner, for the advanced copy of Everyone Who Can Forgive Me Is Dead in exchange for my honest review.

I was immediately drawn to this one because of the title…how can you not be? And then to find out it is a debut? I was sold and I’m so glad I took a chance on it because it totally delivers! It’s an impressive debut and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

This book kept me engaged and wanting more the entire time! I found myself not wanting to put it down once I started it – always a good sign. I was so invested in what was going on, despite the fact that it is a bit of a slow-burn. I loved the unreliable narrator angle and found it really kept me guessing as to whether I could fully trust Charlie. The press have called her a survivor from the events of “that” night, but while she can’t remember all that happened, she does know she lied to the police.

Having the story alternate between the past and the present really help to build the suspense and fill in pieces of the puzzle, while also adding to the tension of what was to come next. I also loved the inclusion of Charlie’s therapy sessions as she desperately tried to get those memories back from that night. Memory is such a fascinating concept and I love when authors play around with it…and Hollander does such a good job using it here.

This book was such an addictive, entertaining read. The reveals were well placed and I was satisfied with the ending. I very much enjoyed this debut and am looking forward to seeing what this author writes next!

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Thank you to NetGalley, the publishing house, and the author for the opportunity to read a complimentary copy of this book in return for review, based upon my honest opinion.

This is the first book by this author, it was a pretty good read. There were lots of twists, but I did guess the ending, I still enjoyed reading it.

Charlie is a survivor of a traumatic event from university. Charlie has built a new life for herself and is at the top of her game, engaged to a rich and powerful man and ready to get everything she always wanted. Suddenly she discovers that there is a movie being made about the events and that day at university, something which the press called Scarlet Christmas. This sends Charlie into a tailspin, desperate to remember what actually happened on that night. Charlie is sure that she has lied, she’s just not sure how much she lied.

It was a pretty good first book. I would definitely read another book by this author. The plot was well done, but I found the epilogue wrapped it up a little too neatly.

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This thriller was firmly just.... okay, and very obviously a debut work (imho). While not objectively or wholly terrible by any means, I think it can be said that there is a lot of room for growth and improvement. While the title, cover, and premise of this book are all certainly intriguing, - certainly a seemingly fool-proof recipe for success - where EWCFMID unfortunately suffers is in its execution (or lack thereof). The characters are all unlikeable, uninteresting (even when/if you feel bad for them), or just plain insufferable; many of the "twists" were predictable and/or contrived; and the last quarter or so/ending felt waaaaay too clean-cut (and a bit out-of-place tbh, especially in light of how messy and convoluted the rest of the plot was). Overall, this book felt way longer than it was despite being under 300 pages, and yet it just.... wasn't engaging enough for me to really care or find investment in, though some may feel differently!

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Everyone Who Can Forgive Me Is Dead by Jenny Hollander 🧠🧠🧠🧠/5

Charlie Colbert witnessed her friends dying on Christmas Eve. But what exactly did she witness?
You find yourself asking this all throughout the book. The story has lots of misdirection, and you are second-guessing characters and their motives. I found the pacing settled in around the 40% mark, and then it just takes off, and you find yourself questioning everything and everyone, even yourself!

Thank you to @netgalley @minotaur_books and the author for a free digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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A perfect 5 star thriller that instantly hooked me from start to finish. A brilliant debut by Jenny Hollander I'm definitely going to be all in for reading her next book. If you're a fan of suspenseful psychological thrillers full of twist that keep you reading well into the late night you're definitely gonna wanna read this one.

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ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.

I really had a hard time connecting with the characters in this book. Much of it felt rushed when it was an important part and drawn out on details that were insignificant. It felt fairly predictable and I wasn’t feeling invested in the story but kept reading in hopes that there would be something bigger that I didn’t see coming. While this wasn’t particularly my cup of tea, others may love it!

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I really enjoyed this book! It was a slow burn featuring an unreliable narrator with a traumatic past and a dangerous secret. I liked how Hollander sprinkled bits and pieces of the event throughout the story, punctuating these flashbacks with major twists that I did not see coming. I did get confused in the end when the truth was revealed—part of it wasn't spelled out clearly, and the hints leading up to it were very subtle—so I had to re-read that part several times before I understood what happened. I also think the story wrapped up a little too neatly, was a bit too "happily ever after" for a story this messy. But other than that, I really liked the book an will read Hollander's next release!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for a free ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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2.5 ⭐️ - Charlie is one of the survivors and sole witness to a horrific incident that happened while she was at graduate school that left classmates injured and dead. Now nine years later, she’s rebuilt her life. When someone green lights a movie based on the events, dubbed Scarlet Christmas, Charlie’s life begins to unravel as she tries to hide what little she remembers about that night.

You ever read a book and think “damn this character needs therapy”? Well our main character Charlie IS in therapy and I’m not sure it helped one bit. I’m no expert, but the methods for “extracting” Charlie’s memories seemed suspect at best. She clearly suffers from PTSD as well as a prison of her own making.

The way the truth unfolded was very confusing at times. This story is told in two timelines, flipping back and forth between the THEN & the NOW with bits or interviews, text messages, and press announcements mixed in. (hard to follow on audio!)

My main issue with this book is that it did not live up to its description. Woman reinvents herself after surviving horrific event and ten years later will go to any length to keep the truth of what happened hidden? Sign me up!

What we got was the ultimate unreliable narrator who’s also an unlikable character where going to any lengths includes: asking her rich fiancé’s lawyers for help, begging an acquaintance not to make the movie, and questionable therapy methods to uncover her forgotten memories.

On top of that, I found the whole thing wildly unconvincing. I mean seriously. No one’s motives were remotely believable. So much so that what I suspected from the very beginning was confirmed for me at only 60% in. I don’t understand why Charlie did what she did immediately after that night. I don’t understand her reasons for keeping the truth buried (especially once she knows the truth). I don’t understand Steph’s reasons for making the movie. The incident itself is underwhelming after all the build up.

I listened to the audiobook and would not recommend it. I found the narration to be underwhelming and obnoxious and the accents were over the top.

The extra half a star is because at least the book had me turning those pages in order to find some answers!

The prose was decent but the plot left much to be desired. Unfortunately, I’ll have to think twice before reading her next book.

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This should not be marketed as a thriller.

I should have DNF’d this book when I was 50% of the way through and still did not know what the Scarlet Christmas was that kept being mentioned. All of the build up that was used led what Scarlet Christmas actually was and the big “twist” to fall flat. (Pun intended). When the events of Scarlet Christmas are finally talked about, I couldn’t help but wonder if that was it?

I didn’t like the epilogue and felt that everything was too neatly tied up with a bow at the end. I am firmly against happy endings for everyone in thriller and mystery books.

The idea of a night on a college campus that ends with multiple graduate students covered in blood and multiple deaths, I never felt shocked or thrilled while reading this book.

Thank you to Net Galley and the publisher for allowing me to read an eARC in exchange for an honest review. This one was a miss for me, but I think it will be a hit for people who don’t enjoy gore and enjoy lower stakes for fiction.

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