When Eva Pieachowski’s body is discovered in a ditch in the local woods, there’s one clear suspect for her murder. Luke – the outsider and bad boy – was Eva’s boyfriend, and the last person to see her alive. He had the motive, he had the means, and he was angry with Eva that fateful night. Arrested and charged with Eva’s murder, Luke veers between grief and anger, self-pity and resoluteness, as he awaits his trial – knowing that the press, his peers and the police are already convinced of his guilt.
The pieces may fit and all fingers might point to Luke, but not all of the witnesses’ stories add up. More than one person close to Eva is hiding something that could relate to her brutal death, yet nobody seems willing to tell the truth. Told from multiple narrative strands, we get direct glimpses into Eva’s mindset through her diary entries. We see how toxic her relationship with Luke was and how Eva actively fuelled his bad behaviour because she found it thrilling. Eva was beautiful, intelligent, fun and well loved by everyone; a golden girl on the outside but manipulative and self-destructive too.
Other perspectives – Eva’s naive best friend Siobhan, Luke’s loyal friend Rob and their classmate Carolina, an amateur sleuth who’s also the daughter of the DI investigating the case – paint a wider picture, revealing different versions of events both leading up to Eva’s death and on the actual night itself. It’s a brilliantly effective way of making the reader play detective – as we try to figure out whether Luke is guilty and who else could have wanted Eva dead.
“That’s the trouble with my situation – so many lies, all stacking up like a house of cards. I know that one day it will come toppling down on me…”
With its high school murder mystery plot, It Ends With You is like an engrossing mix of One Of Us Is Lying, Pretty Little Liars and The Killing, bolstered by anonymous blog posts that follow the case and give the whole thing a bit of a true crime vibe. Luke might be suspect number one but S. K. Wright puts plenty of characters in the frame, none of them particularly trustworthy, not even the police. In exploring how an outsider like Luke is treated by the system, Wright shines a spotlight on issues of social class, prejudice and peer pressure, as well as the dangers of irresponsible blogging when it comes to high profile crime cases (something we saw recently in the latest series of ITV’s Unforgotten).
Due to the nature of the story, It Ends With You sits at the older end of the YA spectrum, making it a disturbing thriller that adults can enjoy too. However, if you like neatly tied up endings, the abruptness of this one does feel anticlimactic. After an instantly absorbing beginning and so much build up to the court case, it’s disappointing to be left on something of a cliffhanger that leaves the fates of not just Luke, but other characters, uncertain.
Despite its marmite denouement, It Ends With You is intricately plotted and intriguingly drawn out, with a murder mystery that’s made all the more compelling by the different methods of storytelling.
It Ends With You was published by Atom on 6 September 2018