By The Time You Read This


I wish this was better.

I was so looking forward to this title as a lifelong Murder She Wrote fan, but the connection here is a bit too tenuous to be considered interesting.

Beatrice is a high school student, the great niece of the famed amateur detective Jessica Fletcher, from the hit TV show/book series Murder, She Wrote. Beatrice takes after her great-aunt in a few ways, most notably in her interest in solving mysteries. This comes to a head when her best friend, Jackson, fails to attend a meeting they had planned and subsequently is considered missing. Thus, Beatrice goes on a journey to try and figure out where Jackson has gone and what the rest of the town is hiding.

This had the makings of everything I love in a good teen mystery, but sadly it failed on pretty much every level. I hate to compare it to other books I’ve read, but I also recently read The Lost Causes of Bleak Creek, which had a similar plot regarding missing teens in the 80s related to longtime cold cases. That book had two best friends as central characters, and I think the perspectives helped make the story flow much more than this.

Beatrice is a strange character in that everything is a contradiction when it comes to her. As mentioned earlier, she claims only to have one friend, Jackson, but plenty of kids at her school interact with her and seem to consider her cool. She pretends she’s not upset about Jackson missing but also claims he’s her only friend, so her brushing off the fact that he’s gone makes no sense. She would be incandescent with rage and barely functional if he were her true best friend. There are no ties to the Cabot Cove I grew up watching, aside from Jessica Fletcher showing up once or twice, but nothing ties this book to the locale. As the book continues, there are more and more plot points introduced, which makes the book feel pretty bogged down as there are about four simultaneous plots that should really converge but only somewhat feel as though they work.

This is an odd title in that I didn’t hate it, but as short as it was, it didn’t make good use of the page-to-plot ratio.

Title: By the Time You Read This I’ll Be Gone
Author: Stephanie Kuehn
Format: Paperback
Pages: 304
ISBN: 9781338764550

Three Descriptors: Overdone, Confusing, Fresh

Read Alikes:
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
Nothing More to Tell by Karen M. McManus
Pretty Dead Queens by Alexa Donne
The Eyes of the Forest by April Henry
The Center of the Universe by Ria Voros

<a href=””>Blog</a&gt; / <a href=””>Twitter</a&gt; / <a href=””>Instagram</a&gt;

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s