Title: No One Else Can Have You
Author: Kathleen Hale
Acquired Via: Around the World ARC Tours
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Small towns are nothing if not friendly. Friendship, Wisconsin (population:
Unfortunately, Friendship's police are more adept at looking for lost pets than catching killers. So Ruth's best friend, Kippy Bushman, armed with only her tenacious Midwestern spirit and Ruth's secret diary, sets out to find the murderer. But in a quiet town like Friendship—where no one is a suspect—anyone could be the killer.
If there was ever a literary character to completely steal my heart, it would be Kippy Bushman from Kathleen Hale's debut novel, No One Else Can Have You. It is a very quirky contemporary novel with an odd, utterly flawed characters and the very best sort of dark humor.
I'm usually more interested in world-building, but No One Else Can Have You is very much a character-driven - no, Kippy-driven - novel, and it worked for me. I've spoiled all of my favorite parts of the book featuring her to my friends and family, and I don't want to do that to y'all. (It's tempting, believe me.) I feel like saying much at all is dangerous. Kippy Bushman (you always use the first and last name in Friendship, Wisconsin) is so flawed and realistic and so perfect as a character. Like most teenagers, she couldn't wait to abandon her boring hometown, and she and her friend Ruth Fried dreamed of doing it their whole lives. Kippy had had to carry some pretty heavy burdens previous to the events of the novel, which made that load even heavier. Luckily, she had a great support system at both the beginning and end.
As I said before, the characters in No One Else Can Have You are pretty fucked up. (Yes, that is a very strong word, but it is the most fitting.) Kippy Bushman had a whole mess of issues from her mother's death. I don't want to spoil them for you, but I will say that it's difficult for me to laugh with my jaw on the carpet. Dominick "Dom" Bushman is Kippy's psychologist father who, of course, loves to use his trade on his only child. Davey Bushman has PTSD and the misfortune of becoming Kippy's investigative partner. Ralph, Kippy's neighbor, has been both a quasi-babysitter and confidant to Kippy over the years who plays far too many video games and spends too much money online. Libby is Kippy & Ruth's classmate who won't let you say God - it's "Gah" - and behaves pretty atrociously with her Ruth Fried Foundation Brigade, despite not really being friends with Ruth. Then there's the main suspect, He-Whose-Name-I've-Forgotten (unintentionally), who is jailed because he's the easy target boyfriend and one of the most despicable human beings alive. (Trust me on this.) Then there's Sir Albus, the twelve year old middle-aged British officer, who is both adorable and cringe-worthy. Though Ruth Fried dies first thing in the novel, her personality and character becomes very well-known to the reader through her diary. If nothing else, Kippy Bushman learns the very important lesson, "What other people think of you is none of your business."
One more thing that's important for me to touch on is how non-creepy the age difference was between two of the main characters. (I am NOT talking about Ruth.) Teenagers being involved with someone older usually makes me reach for the number to the police station, but the romance in No One Else Can Have You was so pitiful, awkward, and absolutely necessary to the healing of the two "lovers" that I fully supported it. (If my daughter ever reads this review, she should know this is probably the only exception EVER.)
No One Else Can Have You continues my trend of reading excellent contemporary novels, and this is easily one of my new favorites in the genre. If you ever read a book that I recommend, please do yourself a favor and make it this one. If you embrace the Banzai, I promise you will thank me.
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To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.