Review: ‘Thicker Than Water’ by Kelly Fiore Stultz

Am I the only one who automatically assumes that when a book starts out by telling me that one character has killed another that it’s a lie? Maybe I’ve watched too many crime dramas on TV because I always think that the first suspect is the least likely to have actually committed the crime.

Synopsis: CeCe has been locked up and forced into psychiatric treatment after admitting responsibility for her brother’s death. Her lawyer believes she is innocent, but CeCe refuses to talk about what happened. With only days to go before her trial, unlocking the truth means also remembering everything that lead up to that fateful day.

I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about Thicker Than Water because the things I liked about this book were equally balanced by the things that I really didn’t like about it. I think that the build-up to finally learning how Cyrus dies worked really well. It kept the story going and made me want to continue reading even when the plot slowed down. His death was a complete unknown, so I imagined a number of different ways that CeCe could have actually killed her brother that weren’t even close to the truth.

I also thought that that Fiore’s depiction of a dysfunctional family was very realistic. For once the parents were called out for being negligent, which never seems to happen in YA. Cece genuinely tries to get her dad to see how messed up things are, but he just can’t see beyond his own problems. I liked that he wasn’t presented as a bad guy or anything… he was just a guy that was overwhelmed by all the crazy stuff that has happened to him.

And now for the things I didn’t like, which means we’re back to my issues with insta-love. CeCe meets a guy named Tucker on the ward and basically their relationship goes from zero to ten in no time at all. They have barely spoken to each other and suddenly they are making out. In fact, CeCe has pretty much treated Tucker like crap the whole time, and suddenly he’s like “yeah sure, it’s totally okay to kiss this girl”. I would have punched him. And where are all the staff during these encounters? You would think that there would be WAY more supervision on a juvie block that is also a mental hospital.

I also have a problem with CeCe being in a mental hospital/detention centre in the first place. It felt like things just progressed way too fast between her admitting guilt and them throwing her behind bars. Did the detectives do any actual investigating before locking her up? Her lawyer seems to think she’s totally innocent, and the very fact that they thought she might need medical care instead of regular juvie would indicate that there were some more questions that needed to be asked.

LC rating: 3-stars(slow building plot
that had issues but was ultimately satisfying)


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