Cartwheel by Jennifer Dubois: I received this book as an advanced readers copy and I feel bad that I have had to put it down so many times. It’s clearly based on the sensational Amanda Knox trial; the author openly acknowledges this in the preamble of her novel.
This is classified as a thriller with blurbs on the back cover stating it was so exciting you won’t be able to put it down. That wasn’t the case for me. I had to start over at one point because I didn’t make time to read it the first time I started it. The reason – it just didn’t hold my interest.
In a nutshell – Lily Hayes departs the U.S. to study in Buenos Aires and meets another American student, Katy Keller.
The novel fluctuates between Lily’s incarceration and the events (in flashbacks) leading to Katy’s murder. Sadly there isn’t a likeable character in the book. They are portrayed as self-centered which makes it difficult to have empathy for any of them. There is a point where you think the plot is building up to reveal something exciting – such as when Katy is exploring Buenos Aires and loving the foreign culture vs. her quiet roomie Katy. Five weeks later Katy is murdered. Who did it? It’s just like the Amanda Knox trial. Disappointing ending.
I would have liked to read more detail about their lives in Buenos Aires. It would have been good to make Katy an amazing sweet person so you could feel bad for her. Overall, this just wasn’t my cup of tea. The writing isn’t bad, it just didn’t hold my interest.
Seems reviews are quite mixed on this novel. I have seen ratings running from 1 star to 5 stars. Obviously it depends on your reading taste. For what it’s worth I will give it a 2.