BOOK TOUR REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Cartwheel by Jennifer DuBois
by Jennifer DuBois
When Lily Hayes arrives in Buenos Aires for her semester abroad, she is enchanted by everything she encounters: the colorful buildings, the street food, the handsome, elusive man next door. Her studious roommate Katy is a bit of a bore, but Lily didn’t come to Argentina to hang out with other Americans.
Five weeks later, Katy is found brutally murdered in their shared home, and Lily is the prime suspect. But who is Lily Hayes? It depends on who’s asking. As the case takes shape—revealing deceptions, secrets, and suspicious DNA—Lily appears alternately sinister and guileless through the eyes of those around her: the media, her family, the man who loves her and the man who seeks her conviction. With mordant wit and keen emotional insight, Cartwheel offers a prismatic investigation of the ways we decide what to see—and to believe—in one another and ourselves.
MY THOUGHTS: 3.5 OUT OF 5 FLEURS DE LIS
Although this is being billed as definitely NOT a story about or based on the Amanda Knox murder case, one can’t help but notice the parallels…and I am not even that big a follower of the news.
Lily Hayes is a college student that has been charged with the murder of her roommate while studying in Argentina. Her family immediately comes from America to be with her, and as her case is being investigated, we go back and forth between several different characters’ accounts of what happened leading up to the murder.
There are so many characters to consider in Cartwheel, but I’d have to say the one I liked most was Sebastien, Lily’s lover/would-be boyfriend. He is a next door neighbor to Lily’s host family, which means he gets to spend a lot of time with her. In spite of this, they don’t know much about each other. Neither one is particularly open to sharing much of their feelings, and Sebastien is constantly talking in double-speak. Yes, he’s clever, but you can see it is a defense mechanism.
I couldn’t really associate with Lily, but it turned my stomach to see how during the investigation, every tiny thing that was found was being used to portray her in a very negative light. Of course, this is a simple truth of how the worldwide media works today, isn’t it? We are so quick to condemn a person when everything we have seen about them on the news is basically already painting them as guilty of some crime.
Definitely, to me, the best part of the book was the dialogue. The author tended to have a lot of rambling, descriptive paragraphs that I skimmed over without missing anything important to the story. Also, there were a few storylines that just seemed to go nowhere. Why didn’t we find out why the Carrizos were being sued? I guess we didn’t need to, because the fact was just used as a plot device to let the reader know that Beatriz Carrizo was not exactly trustworthy. The scenes of Eduardo with Maria served the same purpose.
The book was split into two parts, for a reason I couldn’t really say. It just seemed unnecessary. While I was happy with the ending, I thought it was way, way too fast. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes crime novels with that “ripped from the headlines” feel.
About the Author
Jennifer duBois’s A Partial History of Lost Causes was one of the most acclaimed debuts of recent years. It was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction, winner of the California Book Award for First Fiction and the Northern California Book Award for Fiction, and O: The Oprah Magazine chose it as one of the ten best books of the year. DuBois was also named one of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 authors. A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, duBois recently completed a Stegner Fellowship at Stanford University. Originally from Massachusetts, she now lives in Texas.
For more information on Jennifer and her work, visit her website, jenniferdubois.com.
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Tell me which case you’ve found most interesting to follow in the media.