The Child Across the Street, Kerry Wilkinson: A Review
Great cover and interesting blurb, I was thrilled to be approved for The Child Across the Street.
Abi returns to her childhood hometown to settle affairs when she learns of her father's death. On her way to the house, she witnesses a hit-and-run; someone has hit the 8 year old son of one of her oldest friends and left him for dead. As Abi reunites with her friends and works through her own emotions of being back in a place wrought with painful memories, she finds herself becoming more invested in solving the crime--even if she has to risk her own safety to do it. This is the first Kerry Wilkinson book I read but it certainly won't be the last. While this is set in a small British town, this could easily have been about my own childhood in the 90s. A few close friends, pretending to be Spice Girls, (I even admittedly had the All Saints CD when that came out), I found Wilkinson's portrayal of young friendship to be authentic and nostalgic. Abi's conflicted emotions about returning to her hometown, I found super relatable. I'm from a small town in upstate NY. My entire family lived within a mile of each other. I knew pretty much everyone in my grade. Rumors spread fast and people tended to fall into two categories: stay forever, or leave and never come back. For me, this struck a chord, and if I'm being honest, I was most interested in these introspective moments; they came alive in a way that the overarching mystery of the hit-and-run did not. The story itself is well-paced and full of suspects. There's plenty of motive to go around, and I found the exploration of different possibilities to be fun and intriguing. Abi's a solid MC with flaws and a tragic back story that you can't help but root for. She's self aware and stubborn in her goals and manages to find a middle ground between recovered and self-destructive. I wish there had been a bit more development of Ethan's character, as the hit-and-run used him as more of a point to propel the plot than actually give him a voice. And while I wasn't surprised by the ending, I found it enjoyable. Overall, The Child Across the Street is a fun, fast-paced read with a delightfully-suspicious cast of characters. I'd recommend this title to anyone looking for a throwback friendship, a light suspense without too much gore, or anyone who's a fan of intrigue over crime (Big Little Lies, The Husband's Secret, etc.). Thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for honest review consideration.