Dec 31, 2013

Review: No One Else Can Have You by Kathleen Hale

Title: No One Else Can Have You
Author: Kathleen Hale
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publishing Date: January 7, 2014
Pages/Format: 384, ARC

Small towns are nothing if not friendly. Friendship, Wisconsin (population: 688) is no different. Around here, everyone wears a smile. And no one ever locks their doors. Until, that is, high school sweetheart Ruth Fried is found murdered. Strung up like a scarecrow in the middle of a cornfield.

Unfortunately, Friendship’s police are more adept at looking for lost pets than catching killers. So Ruth’s best friend, Kippy Bushman, armed with only her tenacious Midwestern spirit and Ruth’s secret diary (which Ruth’s mother had asked her to read in order to redact any, you know, sex parts), sets out to find the murderer. But in a quiet town like Friendship—where no one is a suspect—anyone could be the killer.

Initial Reaction of Book in One Word: Weird...

I was kind of hesitant to read No One Else Can Have You, because I wasn't really sure what it was about and if I would like it. I mean, the title is interesting, the cover unique, and while the synopsis has some hints, I just didn't know what to expect. And what I found was...well, I don't really know what I found.

No One Else Can Have You is weird. I mean, it never really felt weird, but it was weird. The story was weird, weird things happened, the characters were weird, the dialogue was weird...everything was just weird. Kippy's best friend Ruth (more on her later) is found murdered (disgustingly so), and in the town of Friendship, Wisconsin, that kind of thing just doesn't happen. So people go into a slight panic--like Kippy's father (who she calls Dom, or Dommy), has them stay in a motel until the killer is found. But when the supposed suspect is taken into custody, not everyone (like Ruth's older, ex-military brother Danny) think it's the right person. And when Kippy starts to think so too, she goes on a little investigation of her own.

I didn't have any big issues with No One Else Can Have You. I kind of liked the writing a lot, to the point where I'd definitely read more from Kathleen Hale. There were a few repeat phrases and words, but that was it. Oh, and the dialogue was odd (maybe that's how people speak in Wisconsin?). But the problem with this book is that I didn't--and don't--feel anything. Yes, I was into the book and read it pretty quick and actually wanted to read it, but I never felt much of anything. Even now, a week after finishing the book, I don't feel anything. I don't know why, but this book is just kind of forgettable.

Despite their quirkiness, I liked the characters. Kippy was an enjoyable MC/POV, and she goes on some interesting adventures as she tries to solve the murder of her deceased best friend Ruth Fried. Besides Kippy's neighbor Ralph, Ruth is (was) Kippy's only friend. And that's unfortunate, because Ruth's a total bitch. Because Ruth's mother doesn't want to read the sex parts, she asks Kippy to clean up Ruth's diary for her. In the process, Kippy learns some truths about her sexually-active, not-so-nice "best" friend. And I'm glad that's all we got from Ruth, because I don't know that I'd have been able to stand her as a living person in this book. I did, however, like her brother Davey, even if he was a little cuckoo. (But I didn't mind it, and he may have PTSD.) I also liked Ralph (for the most part), and even wanted to ship him and Kippy, except I was never really sure what his age was. The people at NVCG were great and I would've loved more from them, and the people at the mental hospital But officer what's-his-face was an idiot, and I don't understand why people were so quick to brush off Ruth's murder and not go into a huge investigation.

When it comes down to it, No One Else Can Have You isn't a bad book. I just don't feel anything toward it. The plot line was interesting with several touches of weird (I don't even know what to say about the mental hospital scenes), and I was pretty shocked (and slightly disappointed) with who the killer was. I did like it, though, and I did feel some things toward it while reading. But in the end, it's just missing something to make it memorable. I couldn't have No One Else Can Have You, but maybe you could? (If that even makes sense, I'm just attempting--and failing--to be witty with the book's title.)

Did I like it? Yes (I didn't dislike it).
Did I love it? No.
Would I reread it? No.
Would I purchase it? I have no desire to get this on my shelves (although the cover could look cool).
Who would I recommend it to? If you like a murder mystery that's more weird than dark and thrilling, then this is for you. Plus, it has good writing. And interesting dialogue.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, and that in no way sways my opinion of the book.


  1. This seems like a weird book, as you so eloquently put it LOL. I still sort of want to read it

  2. I would say I have similar feelings about this book-it wasn't an angry-making read for me but it didn't have that extra pizzazz that a book needs to have for me to fall in love. I look forward to seeing what else Ms. Hale produces.


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