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The Weight of Guilt by Jon Ripslinger
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The Weight of Guilt

by Jon Ripslinger

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Recently added byKimSalyers, gpangel

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The Weight of Guilt by Jon Ripslinger is a 2015 Red Adept Publishing release. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is a solid YA mystery thriller centered around John Hawk, an eighteen year old high school senior who has moved in with his sister to finish out the last semester of school, after a horrific car crash takes the life of his girlfriend, Riley.

John tries to keep to himself, keep his head down, and stay out of trouble. He is all tied up in knots over Riley's death, although he was not at fault. However, a young and popular girl named Megan decides to take John under her wing and coerces him into being her date for the prom. John knew deep down it was a bad idea, but Megan wouldn't take no for an answer. But, when an ugly confrontation at the prom with Megan's ex- boyfriend transpires, the couple leave together, but only one of them makes it home.
The next day John finds himself the number one person of interest in Megan's disappearance. When her body if found four days later, John knows he needs to find out what happened to his friend because it's obvious he is being framed for her murder.

Once more I picked up a YA novel without realizing it was firmly set in that category. So, let me explain that YA are a hit or miss with me because at my age I just can't always relate to teen characters, or the story is just not complex enough for my taste, but at other times YA is just as riveting as any other type of novel. For me this one was not challenging enough for me, but putting on the old critical thinking cap, I believe the story is perfect for the age range it is primarily written for. This is a mature YA novel, with some language, sexual situations and violence. The themes are mature and definitely meant for older teens or the early twenties crowd.

John and Megan bond over their crappy lives, both having been dealt a sorry hand of cards when it came to parents and bad luck. Both of them acted out because of the issues in their home lives, and both of them were hurting. But, before anything could come of the relationship, Megan is murdered.
When John begins searching for clues he approaches Charley, Megan's best friend, hoping she might have some answers. The two get off on the wrong foot initially, but Charley slowly begins to realize she and John are on the same side and they begin trying to figure out who killed Megan together.

The story is told with the alternate perspectives of John and Charley...

I liked Charley a lot and for me she made the story enjoyable. She was the most centered and balanced character, the one who thought fast, was smart , funny, and genuine, and provided the most interesting dialogue. John's character was so weighted down with huge issues and with such a heavy burden on his shoulders he rarely had a positive thought, made a joke, laughed, or found much to feel happy about. He was quiet and serious, and as such, despite knowing his history, and background, he was a little too unemotional, seemed to speak in a monotone, and was often stilted. He was likable enough and of course I felt bad for his situation, but do wish he had had a little more fire in his personality.

The mystery is truly twisted as morally bankrupt adults play fast and loose with the law and a young girl pays the price for their sins. John and Charley make a pretty good team and it would be fun to see them come back some day to solve more crimes.

I recommend this book for those who like an uncomplicated, character driven mystery without a lot of graphic violence or for those who enjoy a mature YA mystery with an edge to it. 3.5 rounded to 4 ( )
  gpangel | May 9, 2015 |
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