Fun, campy and loaded with easter eggs, In the Hall With the Knife by Diana Peterfreund (Q and A from last week), is everything and exactly what you would expect it to be from a new young adult twist on the Clue movie and board game franchise.
Thank you to Abrams Kids for an ARC in exchange for an honest review
Set perfectly for those craving mysterious boarding schools, In the Hall With the Knife recreates all the familiar rooms from Clue butat Blackbrook Academy. Blackbrook being a very exclusive and even more isolated Maine boarding school for the rich and famous.
Characters are a mix of spin-offs from the movies and newbies that mix it up a bit. Ms. Peacock is a tough as nails tennis player, Prof. Plum is a burgeoning scientist, Ms. Scarlett a wealthy hotel heiress and Mr. Mustard, a recently transferred Military School student. Mr. Green is Vaughn Green, a rare “townie” that was admitted into Blackbrook on scholarship, and also on staff as a janitor. Two adults heldover from the franchise are Mr. Boddy, now headmaster of Blackbrook and Mrs. White, proctor of Tudor Hall.
It was indeed a dark and stormy evening that cranked out a once in a century Nor’Easter that stranded this devious, secret-holding group along with Orchid McKee, a once child actress hiding in plain sight and running from her past… but running out of time?
Each chapter is told from different points of view, which allow readers to start seeing the personality, motives and glimmers into the mysterious backgrounds of different characters. Group dynamics build from each point of view with banter, dead-panned quips and consistent volleying of teenage neurosis.
“… to make sure there is nobody here.”
“But there is a body here. In the conservatory.”
Scarlett rolled her eyes.
Peterfreund is able to to accomplish two very crucial character traits. First, with the now young adult characters. She does make them sound and act young adult appropriate. Second, each character (both adult and teen) have very unique voices and perspectives that are maintained throughout the book.
“All clear up there unless,” Finn said. ” Unless you think they were murdered by a mannequin.”
Mustard did not.
Is this a suspenseful mystery and thriller? Of course not. Let’s be serious… well let’s not. The movie sure wasn’t and that is the whole point, isn’t it? It is a campy cheese fest but I wouldn’t want it any other way. You can see half of it coming before it happens. And that is ok. There are a couple of reveals that I had some idea about but didn’t completely have figured out. But most of them? Yeah, I had an idea. But that was ok because if it wasn’t what I expected? I would have been disappointed.
“Would you stick around here after you stabbed someone? Finn asked.
“Having never stabbed anyone, I couldn’t tell you,” said Mustard.
Bonus points for a male/female friendship that is in no way headed towards romance. It is a complete friendship power couple and I’m here for it!