BOOK REVIEW - Girl on Trial by Kathleen Fine
Girl on Trial
by Kathleen Fine
October 23 - November 17, 2023 Virtual Book Tour
Does doing one bad thing make you a bad person?
Sixteen-year-old Emily Keller, known by the media as Keller the Killer, is accused of causing the deaths of a family of four, including young children. Emily is one of the youngest females to be accused of a crime so heinous, making this the nation’s biggest trial of the year. But what really happened that fateful night—and who’s responsible—is anything but straightforward.
Living in a trailer park in Baltimore with her twin brother and alcoholic mother, Emily’s life hasn’t been easy. She’s had to grow up fast, and like any teen, has made questionable decisions in a desperate attempt to fit in with her peers. Will her mistakes amount to a guilty verdict and a life in prison? It’s up to the jury to decide.
Praise for Girl on Trial:
"Kathleen Fine has written a compassionate, thought-provoking thriller that will have readers asking themselves big questions about redemption while also turning the pages with breathless anticipation. From her opening pages, Fine grabbed my attention and didn't let go until I closed the book, hardly twenty four hours later. Fine's story reminds us that everyone has a backstory and that the root of empathy involves discovering the particulars of someone else's history with an open heart and mind."
~ Christie Tate, Author of Reese’s Book Club and NYT bestseller GROUP
"In her sharp debut Girl on Trial, Kathleen Fine deftly weaves the past with 16 year-old Emily Keller’s present-day manslaughter trial, allowing readers to put together the puzzle pieces of what really happened the day everyone says Emily killed an entire family. With her vivid characters and a well-developed setting, Fine evokes compassion for people trying their best and reminds us that there’s more to every story than meets the eye. Girl on Trial asks readers to wonder: are we more than our biggest mistake, and does everyone deserve redemption?"
~ Jessie Weaver, author of Live Your Best Lie
"Readers will be on edge as Emily’s decisions lead her to become involved in and vulnerable to dangerous situations… The epilogue brings the roller-coaster ride to a satisfying conclusion…. Gripping, tragic, but ultimately hopeful."
“In Kathleen Fine’s Girl on Trial…interpersonal dynamics are revelatory… reality wars with public perception…a suspenseful thriller in which a maligned teenager is forced to fight for justice.”
~ Foreword Reviews
YA Mystery Thrillers are probably my second favorite genre behind psychological thrillers. I loved Luckiest Girl Alive, 13 Reasons Why, and One of is Lying so much that I jumped at the chance to be a part of this tour. This book did not disappoint!
Girl on Trial begins with a simple question “Does doing one bad thing make you a bad person?" Sounds straight forward, right? Well, this story is anything but! I invite you to sit down, grab something to drink, and settle in because this book will have you glued to the edge of your seat from start to finish.
In this book we meet sixteen-year-old Emily Keller aka Keller the Killer as coined by the media. She is accused of causing the deaths of four family members (including children) and is one of the youngest females to be accused of a crime so heinous. Her trail is the nation’s largest of the year. What seems straightforward suddenly isn’t as questions about what really happened that fateful night.
Growing up in a trailer park with her twin brother and alcoholic mother, Emily’s life hasn’t been easy. She’s grown up fast and made decisions she’s not proud of to fit in with her peers. Will those bad deeds come back to haunt her?
The author does an excellent job of developing Emily’s character and the atmosphere. The reader is immediately dropped into the aftermath of the incident. Clearly Emily is not perfect, yet she knows she’d never intentionally hurt anyone. However, as her classmates begin to testify, a narrative begins to form that paints gives her motive to harm the family. This realization forces her to honestly examine her behavior while processing the chain of events that led her to this moment and the end of her life as she knew it.
I enjoyed the other characters and feel like they blend well and support one another. The descriptions of events were realistic, and I felt like a fly on the wall as I read it.
I look forward to reading more from this author. It would be great to see this become a series. Peer pressure is real and makes good people do things they regret regardless of the natural consequences. Ultimately this is a story of abuse, grief, and trauma at the hands of your “friends”.
Overall Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟
Genre: YA Contemporary Mystery/Thriller
Published by: CamCat Books
Publication Date: October 2023
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 9780744306835 (ISBN10: 0744306833)
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookShop.org | Goodreads | CamCat Books
Read an excerpt:
Kathleen Fine received her Master’s in Reading Education from Towson University and Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from University of Maryland, College Park. She is a member of the Maryland Writers Association, International Thriller Writers, and Author’s Guild. When she’s not writing and selling real estate, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling to the Outer Banks, and of course, reading anything she can get her hands on. She currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland with her husband, three children, and Sussex Spaniel. Her short stories have been published in Litro Magazine, Pen in Hand, The Maryland Writer’s Association Anthology, and in The Indignor Playhouse Anthology. Girl on Trial is her debut novel.
Catch Up With Our Author, Kathleen Fine:
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Twitter/X - @kathleenfine
Facebook - @fine.kathleen
TikTok - @kathleenfineauthor
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