Everything We Didn’t Say By Nicole Baart

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Everything We Didn’t Say: A Novel By Nicole Baart

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Book/Novel Author: Nicole Baart

Book/Novel Title: Everything We Didn’t Say

 

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Summary

From the author of Little Broken Things, a “race-to-the-finish family drama” (People) following a mother who must confront the dark summer that changed her life forever in order to reclaim the daughter she left behind.Juniper Baker had just graduated from high school and was deep in the throes of a summer romance when Cal and Beth Murphy, a childless couple who lived on a neighboring farm, were brutally murdered. When her younger brother became the prime suspect, June’s world collapsed and everything she loved that summer fell away. She left, promising never to return to tiny Jericho, Iowa. Until now. Officially, she’s back in town to help an ill friend manage the local library. But really, she’s returned to repair her relationship with her teenage daughter, who’s been raised by Juniper’s mother and stepfather since birth—and to solve the infamous Murphy murders once and for all. She knows the key to both lies in the darkest secret of that long-ago summer night, one that’s haunted her for nearly fifteen years. As history begins to repeat itself and a dogged local true crime podcaster starts delving into the murders, the race to the truth puts past and present on a dangerous collision course. Juniper lands back in an all-too-familiar place with the answers to everything finally in her sights, but this time it’s her daughter’s life that hangs in the balance. Will revealing what really happened mean a fresh start? Or will the truth destroy everything Juniper loves for a second time? Baart once again brilliantly weaves mystery into family drama in this expertly-crafted novel for fans of Lisa Jewell and Megan Miranda.
A couldn’t-put-it-down read, beautifully written with a most satisfying ending. Baart knocked it out of the park with this one.
This is my first read by the author. The first few pages were slow but then I couldn’t put it down. The anticipation of figuring out The Who and why was great!!
This story leaves me torn about how I liked it. I was interested enough to get to the end, so it wasn’t a bad story. On the other hand, as someone who listens, this story took some attention to keep straight if I was in the past or present and it’s not made real clear by chapter changes. The ending was also not what I would call happy. Everything was completed except it is left open as to whether the father of the girl will stay with his current wife or want to get back with his first love which is the main character and who he’s learned has a child with him. This book kept me reading until the end, but the end was not what I call happy. Maybe it’s more real, but I live real and like to read happy endings.
Everything We Didn’t Say by Nicole Baart is my first book by this author. The story is shown through the point of view of Juniper Baker – when she was 19 and then 15 years later. Juniper was enjoying her last summer of freedom before starting college. Then one night her neighbors are brutally killed and her brother Jonathan is the prime suspect. Her family is torn apart never to be the same again. When she returns 15 years later to help out a sick friend, she is determined to find out what really happened that night. I love the contrast of June at 19 in the summer where everything seems so carefree and easy and then 15 years later in the winter where everything seems dark and hopeless. I can’t wait to read another book by this author!
3 1/2 stars This is a mystery. It’s also about young love. It provides many possible suspects and has an interesting protagonist. It’s also about characters who are different than others in their families—they don’t fit. Especially Juniper; she sticks out. This book mixes a coming of age story with mystery. There’s a lot of character development, especially for Juniper, maybe too much. I took me forever to get through this book because I kept getting bogged down in details and Juniper’s thoughts. It’s an incredibly slow development of the story and a super slow read. I could believe that best friends could fall out like Juniper and Ashley, but I have trouble believing that once things are sorted and settled that the animosity would continue to such a degree, especially when Juniper has been away for so long. The body of the book and the last 50-75 pages felt like two different books. The beginning and middle of the book are more teenage romance against a background of mystery. The ending, however, is full-blown mystery. There’s all the denouement, tension, and surprise that was missing in the first two-thirds of the book. It was worth the slower early parts to get to the ending. It’s a good story, well-written, but with some gaps that leave questions about how things happened. I easily figured out who was behind the murders early on. I’d say that it was an okay read, but nothing special. There are better books out there.
I can certainly see why this was a Book of the Month choice- I absolutely couldn’t put this one down! I stayed up way too late to finish it in practically one sitting! It’s my first experience with this author, but I am definitely eager to read more from Baart in the future! Juniper returns to her small Iowa hometown – ostensibly to use her library degree to help out an old friend who works there who is ill. But she has two other more personal and pressing reasons to return – to reconnect with her daughter and to put a stop to a podcast threatening to examine a cold case from nearly 15 years earlier. Juniper’s neighbors were brutally murdered – and her brother, though never convicted, remains the sole suspect. Baart weaves together the past and present in this compulsively thrilling read. There are some real surprises here along the way, too! The characters all come to life and Baart does a great job especially of capturing Juniper as a teenager and contrasting it with her adult self. I really didn’t want this book to end at all – always a sign of how much I enjoyed it. The ending, though, is satisfying and I appreciated the way the pieces all fit together. I really enjoyed this! The farming community and the small town life feel well-portrayed (although maybe some will feel that the environmental issues touched upon here paint the majority of the town in too unflattering of a light). Iowa isn’t that common of a setting in fiction and I also appreciated the way the podcast plot came together as well. Overall, I think that this would make for a great discussion starter – especially for those groups that mix together people from a wide variety of backgrounds. If this is ever nominated for my book club to read, it has my vote (even though I usually vote for something new over something that I have read before!).

 

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