Sunday 16 July 2023

Book Review: What July Knew by Emily Koch

What July Knew by Emily Koch book cover

AD* | Summer, 1995.

July Hooper knows eighteen things about her mother.

Like number thirteen: she loved dancing on the kitchen table. And number eight: she was covered in freckles.

And then there's number two: she died after being hit by a car when July was small.

She keeps this list hidden in a drawer away from her father. Because they're not allowed to talk about her mother. Ever.

But an anonymous note slipped into July's bag on her tenth birthday is about to change everything she thinks she knows about her mum.

Determined to discover what really happened to her, July begins to investigate, cycling around the neighbourhood where her family used to live. There she meets someone who might finally have the answers.

July wants her family to stop lying to her, but will the truth be harder to face?

In What July Knew, Emily Koch weaves a hauntingly nostalgic tale set in the 1980s. The book follows young July Hooper on a quest to unravel the truth about her mother's untimely death. Having previously enjoyed Koch's If I Die Before I Wake, I had high expectations for this novel, and it did not disappoint.

The story revolves around family secrets and the flawed dynamics of its characters. Koch expertly portrays the intricacies of relationships, where simple misunderstandings can evolve into significant burdens over time. Through July's eyes, we witness a world of mystery and suspense that keeps you captivated until the last page.

While exploring the neighbourhood her family once called home, July stumbles upon a chance encounter that could hold the answers she seeks. But as she digs deeper into her mother's past, the dark theme of domestic abuse emerges. This sheds light on a poignant reality for many families.

Despite her tender age, July is a remarkable protagonist, displaying unwavering strength and determination. Her journey tugs at your heartstrings, making you root for her success while empathising with her struggles.

What July Knew is beautifully written, expertly crafted, and leaves a lasting impression. It's a gripping tale of mystery, nostalgia, and emotional depth that will linger in your thoughts long after you turn the final page.

Rating: 4 stars

What July Knew is available to buy now.

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* I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

Will you be reading the book? Let me know in the comments below! 

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