No One Else Can Have You
HarperTeen. 2014. 0062211196
Friendship, Wisconsin is a typical small town, where everyone knows each other and people go out of their way to be friendly. The town does not see much violence, except when involving violence against deer or by deer. But the delicate sensibilities of the town’s 688 people are turned upside down when eighteen-year-old Ruth Fried is found hanged from a tree in a cornfield, her mouth stuffed with straw. Her boyfriend is hastily apprehended by the police and blamed for her murder, and although was never a sympathetic character, Ruth’s best friend Kippy Bushman is not so convinced that he is the killer. When the naïve Kippy goes around asking too many questions, she rouses the ire of many of the city’s inhabitants, including the Sheriff’s. But just like her hero Diane Sawyer, Kippy is determined to put all her investigative talents to use to uncover her friend’s murderer.
No One Else Can Have You might seem like a disturbing mystery thriller at first, with its initial gory murder scene and its devastated narrator, Kippy. However, the novel’s dark humor surfaces quickly, and makes the reader think of the dark, twisted humor of the Coen Brothers’ mystery satire Fargo. There is some seriously good satire in the book that those who like dark humor will appreciate. However, there is also a great deal of seriously emotional dialog dealing with real issues like dealing with the loss of a loved one. However, it seems like dark satire and the realistic fiction elements do not blend well together, and the novel falls short of being either one. Those looking for a realistic fiction novel will find this novel ridiculous and unbelievable, while those looking for a funny take on a murder mystery might get tired of the emotional parts after a while. The ending is a standard mystery novel ending, making the reader question whether the author really was trying to write a serious mystery novel. However, this is not a badly written novel at all, and is a good debut from a young writer.
After a girl is found murdered in a small Wisconsin town, her friend tries to find the killer.
About the Author
Kathleen Hale grew up in Wisconsin and graduated from Harvard in 2010. No One Else Can Have You is her first novel. – from the author’s website.
Curriculum Ties N/A
- Talk about Friendship, Wisconsin, the novel’s setting.
- Show pictures from the author’s website that go with the book.
Challenge Issues: sexuality, violence
Challenge Defense Ideas:
- Have a copy of the American Library Association Library Bill of Rightsto show/give to patron.
- In addition to, or in place of the above, explain library policy of inclusion of information that might be controversial. For example, Pasadena Public Library, Philosophy of Selection. Have a printed copy ready, with appropriate sections highlighted.
- Explain the parental rights and responsibilities with their children’s library use. Explain the different card designations and the parents’ right to monitor or restrict borrowing of materials.
- Depending on the library’s policy, either have paperwork to fill out for formal challenges, or the contact information of those who handle challenges.
- Give examples of book reviews from School Library Journal, Library Journal, or BookList. Note any awards that the book received.
Reasons for Inclusion