Customer Reviews for

Mister Death's Blue-Eyed Girls

Average Rating 4.5
( 49 )
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(33)

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(5)

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(6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

16 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

Its been a really long time since I read a book by Mary Downing

Its been a really long time since I read a book by Mary Downing Hahn but when I was younger I used to devour all her middle grade ghost stories. I was always fascinated by how easily she could scare the crap out of me and still keep me glued to the page. I think the sam...
Its been a really long time since I read a book by Mary Downing Hahn but when I was younger I used to devour all her middle grade ghost stories. I was always fascinated by how easily she could scare the crap out of me and still keep me glued to the page. I think the same thing can be said about her new YA novel but instead of using a scare tactic to pull the reader in, it's the story's raw emotion that will grab you.

Although the novel is told through the eyes of several different characters, including Buddy and Mister Death (the killer), you spend most of your time with Nora. Nora is an empathetic character who is easy to care about. Her internal struggle to deal with her friend's death is really what drives the novel forward and if you don't feel a connection with Nora it's likely this novel just isn't going to work for you.

The novel has a slow pace which I think works well in showing how the characters and town deal with the crime's aftermath. This is NOT a crime novel but rather a coming-of age story built around a tragedy with some mystery elements thrown in. I think the 1950's small town setting adds a lot of intensity and atmosphere to Nora's own belief that bad things only happen to other people who live somewhere else.

When I first picked up Mister Death's Blue-Eyed Girls I was only vaguely aware that it was based on an actual crime, as well as the author's own personal experience of that event. I think this fact adds greatly to the emotional depth of the story. You can feel the author's emotions leaking through the page and the weight of the story seems to have a greater importance.

I was really surprised by just how much I enjoyed this book. Though it is heartbreaking, I do think the novel has something important to say about how people deal with tragedy. The novel is likely to only attract people who like coming-of age stories or historical fiction, but I do hope it finds a larger audience.

posted by StalkinTheBooks on April 4, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Confession: I've had a longtime obsession with crime stories. I

Confession: I've had a longtime obsession with crime stories. I blame my
family (and too much old A&E TV shows as a child, and maybe a few
too many years of CSI more recently) for this. I'm fascinated by it. I'm
horrified and disturbed at times. But there's nothing ...
Confession: I've had a longtime obsession with crime stories. I blame my
family (and too much old A&E TV shows as a child, and maybe a few
too many years of CSI more recently) for this. I'm fascinated by it. I'm
horrified and disturbed at times. But there's nothing scarier than some
of these real life stories. Needless to say, Mister Death's Blue-Eyed
Girls caught my eye for exactly this reason. And I think it was also
because of this that led to my unfortunate disappointment with the book
as a whole. It really wasn't the crime story I was hoping for, not at
all. Reasons to Read: 1.A coming of age story: I might have liked
this book more if I had had a better idea that I was supposed to expect
a coming of age story rather than a crime story. And it's a fascinating
look at one turn of events that tragically impacted a large number of
people. But our narrator, Nora, finds this stage of her life to be
almost completely defined by this murder - it really does end up
triggering a number of life changing decisions and realizations for her.
2.The setting: 1950s small town: I absolutely loved the vintage feel of
the book - from the pop culture, the little bits of fashion talked
about, the ideas, the struggles, the societal changes, etc. It was
fascinating for me to read about and a time period that YA doesn't
typically feature. The real problem with this book for me though was
that it didn't feel like fiction. Instead, it felt more like a memoir
which makes sense if you read the Acknowledgements of the book, where
Mary talks about how this book was inspired by an event which actually
happened to her as a teenager. And she lays out the truth of what
happened - which is actually VERY, extremely close to what happens in
the book. So rather than feeling like fiction, Mister Death read to me
like (a biased) account of Mary's experiences with the murder of two
teen girls she knew. And normally this wouldn't be an issue. Except
for when it comes to who the killer is - Nora has doubts that the
ex-boyfriend, Buddy, killed the girls even though the entire town
believes it was him. Mary explains how she has the same doubts, so this
read to me (without seeing any real evidence of who committed the
murders) as if this book was supposed to portray (what she believes to
be) what ACTUALLY happened, even if no one believes it. Then the book
was labelled as "fiction" in case anyone was upset by the
message. I'm not a fan of this. But regardless, I still felt like much
of the book revolved around external experiences rather than the murder
itself, which is why I wanted to warn you that it really isn't a crime
story. After the murders occur, the story breaks off to Nora's life.
About her relationship with boys, about her doubts regarding her faith,
and growing up and losing friends. But I had a difficult time piecing it
all together, and along with the numerous other points of view (there
were 8 in total, I believe, including Nora's) made the story feel far
too convoluted for me. Review copy received from Thomas Allen &
Son Ltd for my honest review; no other compensation was received.

posted by EverAfterEsther on August 26, 2012

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  • Posted April 4, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Its been a really long time since I read a book by Mary Downing

    Its been a really long time since I read a book by Mary Downing Hahn but when I was younger I used to devour all her middle grade ghost stories. I was always fascinated by how easily she could scare the crap out of me and still keep me glued to the page. I think the same thing can be said about her new YA novel but instead of using a scare tactic to pull the reader in, it's the story's raw emotion that will grab you.

    Although the novel is told through the eyes of several different characters, including Buddy and Mister Death (the killer), you spend most of your time with Nora. Nora is an empathetic character who is easy to care about. Her internal struggle to deal with her friend's death is really what drives the novel forward and if you don't feel a connection with Nora it's likely this novel just isn't going to work for you.

    The novel has a slow pace which I think works well in showing how the characters and town deal with the crime's aftermath. This is NOT a crime novel but rather a coming-of age story built around a tragedy with some mystery elements thrown in. I think the 1950's small town setting adds a lot of intensity and atmosphere to Nora's own belief that bad things only happen to other people who live somewhere else.

    When I first picked up Mister Death's Blue-Eyed Girls I was only vaguely aware that it was based on an actual crime, as well as the author's own personal experience of that event. I think this fact adds greatly to the emotional depth of the story. You can feel the author's emotions leaking through the page and the weight of the story seems to have a greater importance.

    I was really surprised by just how much I enjoyed this book. Though it is heartbreaking, I do think the novel has something important to say about how people deal with tragedy. The novel is likely to only attract people who like coming-of age stories or historical fiction, but I do hope it finds a larger audience.

    16 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2012

    Overall I think this was a very good book, the ending was not wh

    Overall I think this was a very good book, the ending was not what I was expecting, but I loved the element of surprise.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2013

    Good book, iffy ending

    I read this over the summer. I loved the book in general but the ending was very anticlimactic. I wish i couldve gotten at least a name!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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