0 In Review

Review: I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick

I Killed Zoe Spanos by Kit Frick
on June 30, 2020
Format: ARC

For fans of Sadie and Serial, this gripping thriller follows two teens whose lives become inextricably linked when one confesses to murder and the other becomes determined to uncover the real truth no matter the cost.
What happened to Zoe won’t stay buried…
When Anna Cicconi arrives to the small Hamptons village of Herron Mills for a summer nanny gig, she has high hopes for a fresh start. What she finds instead is a community on edge after the disappearance of Zoe Spanos, a local girl who has been missing since New Year’s Eve. Anna bears an eerie resemblance to Zoe, and her mere presence in town stirs up still-raw feelings about the unsolved case. As Anna delves deeper into the mystery, stepping further and further into Zoe’s life, she becomes increasingly convinced that she and Zoe are connected—and that she knows what happened to her.
Two months later, Zoe’s body is found in a nearby lake, and Anna is charged with manslaughter. But Anna’s confession is riddled with holes, and Martina Green, teen host of the Missing Zoe podcast, isn’t satisfied. Did Anna really kill Zoe? And if not, can Martina’s podcast uncover the truth?
Inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, Kit Frick weaves a thrilling story of psychological suspense that twists and turns until the final page.

I will confess that I do not have super high hopes for most YA thrillers. Usually YA thrillers try hard, but there is just something missing – I can’t even quite explain what, but I guess once you get used to the sleezy underbelly of adult murder and scheming, it’s hard to go back to teenagers. But I trust Kit Frick, and when I heard the premise of her next book I just had to give it a shot. I am so excited to say that I was not let down – this was such a ride.


How I’d Describe This Book to a Friend

On New Years Eve, Hamptons-area college student Zoe Spanos goes missing. And several months later, her body is found in a nearby body of water. Until now, authorities had assumed Zoe was not missing, but rather had run off – stolen away like a thief in the night, which is not illegal. But now? Now things have become interesting. Everyone is surprised when a young woman named Anna Cicconi steps forward – Anna, who spent the summer prior nannying a young girl named Paisley in the Hamptons, but has no other ties to the area outside of her stint as nanny the summer prior. Anna, however, is positive that she is the one who killed Zoe. It is all coming back to her now – flashes of memory, of Zoe’s tumble off a third story balcony, how she bundled her body into a boat and sunk her off the coast.

The only problem? Forensic evidence suggests that Zoe didn’t fall off that balcony. And Anna? She didn’t do it.

But then why on earth does she remember Zoe’s death!?

We flash back and forth, between Anna’s summer in the Hamptons and current day, as we follow Zoe’s sister’s best friend Martina’s podcast: Finding Zoe. Anna, who spent much of her senior year drinking and doing drugs, is excited to go to the Hamptons for the summer and be clean, prepare for college. But her past followers her like hounds nipping at her heels, and she has some strange recollections: despite having never been to the Hamptons before, she could swear she’s walked these streets before, eaten at the ice cream parlor. Stranger still is her uncanny resemblance to a young woman named Zoe Spanos who has been missing for quite some time now: a girl she’s never met, but is clearly tied to in some way.

The home where she looks after Paisley is next door to an old historic home, dripping with Hamptons history, called Windemere. There live Caden and his mother – Caden, who it turns out was Zoe Spanos’s boyfriend, is home for the summer from college, working on restoring the residence. As Anna gets to know Caden – and is subsequently warned to stay away from him by his mentally ill mother – she realizes that maybe she knows even more than she thinks. Something dark happened to Zoe Spanos at Windemere that New Year’s Eve – and it’s up to us to figure it out. Martina’s podcast shows us what happened to Zoe leading up to her disappearance, and who the main players are in this cast of characters and possible subjects. We really get to know Zoe, despite never actually meeting her.

The Bottom Line

There are two main questions to be answered here:

1. Who killed Zoe Spanos?

2. If it wasn’t Anna, then why does she remember so much?

And she truly does. Little things – the way Zoe carried herself, her favorite snacks, her dog’s name. What she liked to wear. What her family’s unique swimming pool setup was. But everyone in her life swears she’s never been to the Hamptons before her summer babysitting – her mother, her best friend who she spent New Year’s Eve with, everyone seems to think she’s crazy. And we feel crazy too, being in Anna’s head – that’s the beauty of this story, really. Without the unique perspective Anna presents, this could be a run of the mill thriller. But this story kept me guessing until the bitter end – if Anna didn’t kill Zoe, and she clearly did not, then why does she know so much? Who is lying? And why? Does her substance abuse history have anything to do with it? Was she there? Why do I want to visit the Hamptons so much now?!

There is a satisfactory ending here that answers all of your questions, and then some. Everyone is delightfully morally grey, and there is no big red bow ending. This book made me carry my Kindle with me everywhere because I was so dedicated to seeing it through to its conclusion, and if you know me you know I do not like reading ebooks. Did you love Sadie? Read this book. Did you love the classic Rebecca? Read this book. Do you love a damn good time and language so descriptive you feel yourself sweating your ass off poolside along with the characters? Read. This. Book.

Zoe Spanos comes out June 30th, and I predict it will far and away be the YA thriller smash hit of the summer. It is a perfect beach read, and will make perfect poolside reading – especially with the blue sprayed edges on that first edition hardcover. I truly loved my time in the Hamptons with Anna, Zoe, Martina, Caden, Paisley and the rest, and I know you will too.

”There are some secrets—my secrets—that Windermere will hold forever, trapped beneath the ash like spilled blood.”

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