Member Reviews

If you're cool with a YA author who very clearly believes teenagers don't have the deductive reasoning powers to outpace a seven year old, I have the book for you.

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New Orleans. Mardi Gras. The Garden District. Two half-brothers, estranged. Families with issues. A private school. A murder. A perfect storm of ingredients that lead to a great read full of mystery, danger, and anxiety for the protagonists.

I received an advance copy of this book from NetGalley and Penguin Random House Children’s Books in exchange for an impartial review.

Marcel and Amir are half-brothers who share a father and not much else. Marcel is the elder of the two and his father cheated on his mother with Amir’s mother. This led to their father leaving Marcel’s mother and his subsequent marriage to Amir’s mother. Family dynamics have been problematic since that time. The boys are now in high school and don’t communicate with each other.

Until the fateful night of Amir’s 16th birthday party when Marcel shows up at the invitation of Amir’s best friend, Chloe.

He and Chloe eventually leave the party and head to her house. A few hours later, Marcel wakes to the horrifying sight of Chloe’s lifeless body. Her room ransacked and her being stabbed panics Marcel and he runs. A Black young man found in the home of a dead white girl is always going to go sideways.

And indeed it does when he’s seen on a security camera leaving the house via the front door.
From this point, the story moves into trying to resolve the question of who really killed Chloe.

Amir is sure his brother is innocent and he’s on a quest to clear his brother’s name.

Along the way, we meet a cast of characters who all have something to hide. The family dynamics of several of the characters enter into the story. There’s also the discovery of a reprehensible game being played online at the private school. That part of the book absolutely turned my stomach and made my blood boil.

Amir and Marcel’s family dynamics are also an integral part of the story and I was rooting for a good resolution to that part of the story as well as the solving of the murder.

I loved this book. Lots of twists and turns and some parts kept me guessing which I love. The growth of the characters is super well done by the author.

Throughout the days as I was reading this, I found myself thinking about getting back to the story of Marcel and Amir when I should’ve been focused on other things. These characters were both well drawn and they seemed very real to me.

The New Orleans setting also appealed. It’s one of my favorite cities and I could picture all the places in the book which added to my enjoyment of this story.

Highly recommended.

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In this new pulse-pounding thriller from the author of The Black Queen, two brothers must come together to solve the murder of the most popular girl in school after one of them is caught fleeing the scene of her death.

A great YA mystery!

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This book is so good! I love the emotional roller coaster of it all. There were times when I rolled my eyes. Others when I tensed up because I was for sure I knew what would happen next. But then was pleasantly surprised when a different scenario happened.

Thank you Netgalley & the publisher for this ARC.

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Captivating thriller/murder mystery. This story addresses many issues including social justice, family relationships, and peer pressure.

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This is a very solid 4. The first chapter was a little boggy but takes off from there. I love that we’ve got two male main characters in a darn good murder mystery, finally! Definitely need more of that. NOLA is the prefect place for this one to be set in, especially with questions of class, social position, food, and family, I totally didn’t see the murderer coming. That’s saying a lot because I usually do! High school students will love this one. And ultimately, it’s a heartwarming story, too. Will be watching this author for more!

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Amir Trudeau is the other son of celebrity chef Martin Trudeau. On the night of his half-brother's, Marcel, birthday party, he receives a text from Chloe Danvers and decides to go to the party. Little does Amir know that this night is going to change his entire life. When he offers to take Chloe home, he finds himself drawn to her. They share a bit about their lives and Chloe asks Amir to hang out so that she isn't alone in her house. When Amir abruptly wakes up, he wakes up to find Chloe dead upstairs. Almost without thinking, Amir leaves and goes home. A few hours later, the police arrive at this house and arrest him. Marcel, torn between his worry for his brother and the pain of losing his best friend Chloe, he becomes determined to discover who actually murdered Chloe. What he discovers changes both his strained relationship with his brother and his life. He discovers secrets many people in New Orleans would like to keep hidden and he finds himself in just as much danger as Amir. A well crafted thriller and a second amazing YA novel by Jumata Emill.

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While the cover didn't quite resonate with me, the story itself left a positive impression. I did find that the teenagers' language felt somewhat excessive, with an abundance of phrases like 'bruh,' which didn't entirely align with my preferences. However, what truly stood out for me were the dynamics between Amir and Marcel and how they rediscovered their connection. It's a remarkable story that highlights the enduring power of friendship.

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*Actual rating: 3.5 stars*

I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Overall, this was a fairly quick and enjoyable YA thriller! I think I preferred the author’s previous book, The Black Queen, to this one, but I still managed to be surprised by some of the reveals sprinkled throughout the story.

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This was so good and I can’t wait to see what else this author comes out with!

Amir and Marcel are brothers, but estranged due to an incident with Marcel’s mother’s dog, among other family issues. They haven’t spoken in years until the night that Amir shows up at Marcel’s birthday party. He’s only there for Chloe, Marcel’s best friend who invited his brother behind his back. Chloe and Amir hit it off and hang out back at her place. When Amir wakes up, Chloe is dead. As the last person to see her alive, Amir is now being charged with her murder. But how do you prove you didn’t kill someone when you were asleep in the other room and didn’t see a thing?

Marcel believes Amir and is determined to get to the bottom of what happened, so he starts his own investigation. He can’t let his brother go down for something he didn’t do, again. When the boys uncover a secret game at their school targeting Black students, will things get too dangerous before they can figure out the truth?

I’m glad this talked about the very real issue of not only profiling Black men and women, but also wrongfully convicted people in general. This happens far too often and something needs to be changed. There are so many injustices happening not only in our government, but
amongst our peers under our noses. It’s disgusting. I’m not here to change the world, however, only to review this book.

The dialogue turned me off a little at first as I felt like it was forced. However, I quickly got used to it and it fit the area for which the story takes place. This book really put me through the emotional wringer and made me feel Amir’s pain, which is exactly what a well written book should do.

One thing I couldn’t stand is how Marcel confronted everyone, putting all the secrets and stuff he found out there right away instead of marinating on it or bringing it to the police. That’s a theme in most YA mystery books, but usually they don’t straight out lay all their cards on the table.

I absolutely loved the dynamic between Marcel and Amir and how they worked out their differences. Everyone loves a happy ending!

Although I figured out the killer a bit early, this was fast paced, easy to follow and a really good YA murder mystery. A tear jerker at times for sure. Definitely recommended!

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This was a great book. I enjoyed seeing Marcel and Amir’s relationship with each other grow and it was nice to see a book in this genre being told from a teenage boys point of view. I would recommend it to young adults that enjoy reading mysteries.

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This book was good for a young adult mystery. And like many YA mysteries, it too many times has me (no where near a young adult anymore) shouting “let the adults handle it!” If you can get past the idea that teenagers can solve murder mysteries better than the police/ lawyers/investigators, this book was actually pretty enticing. (And to be fair, the police were dead set on blaming the poor black kid to look any further into the case, which the book did do a good job on highlighting racial injustices.) It was pretty easy to guess who did it, but it was still a fun read. But man, it definitely made me feel like I might be getting past the age of reading YA when I was trying to understand some of the slang 😂.
Overall, the book was still good, and if you like that genre, I would recommend it. It’s also great for understanding some of the racial issues that still go on to this day.

📖 Read if 📖 :
✔️ You liked the HBO show “The Night Of”
✔️ You liked “One of Us is Lying”, or young adult murder mysteries
✔️ You are a young adult or you’re in the know

Thanks NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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I LOVED THIS BOOK. I read it in a day and missed my subway stop (and ended up in the Bronx lol) because I was so engrossed. There are parts of this story that are so painful, but they are necessary to read and process. Amir and Marcel are brothers, well half brothers if you let Amir tell it. Their relationship has been strained by their parents and a major event that cause problems between them, but when a girl from their school is found dead they have to work together to solve her murder. The book isn’t just a murder mystery though, it highlights the struggles of blended families, the justice system and its shortcomings, the inner workings of the black community and the privilege that makes so many people feel entitled to act l horribly. This book is a page turner that left me thinking for ours afterwards.

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3.5 stars

This was a fun book, you can definitely tell it is for a Y/A audience though.
I really enjoyed the setting and the relationship growth between the brothers. The mystery was also done well.
I’d definitely recommend to any teen I know that enjoyed this genre.

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Not the biggest fan of the cover. Great story, the teens language felt a little over-wrought to me. Too much 'bruh' but I liked the dynamics between Amir and Marcel and how they find each other again. A great story.

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