I spent the weekend cleaning house, and getting my to-read pile prioritized, looking for YA mysteries. I managed to read Echo by Kate Morgenroth, which was pretty good, and just the right size at 137 pages.
Meet Justin, who’s starting to lose his marbles a little. His brother Mark died last year, leaving Justin to pick up the pieces. Justin loses his best friend, girlfriend, jock status, and general stature in high school. We’re along for this dark ride into the abyss of his life, trying to figure out along the way how brother Mark wound up getting shot, and whether this was really Justin’s fault, or if Justin’s just going crazy.
Echo gets to be quite the mind trip, which I really loved. And there was no fluff here either—something I really appreciate. There’s been plenty of opinionated bloggery about the right length of a manuscript, and I’ve had my own work rejected because it was too short. Echo proves that economy in words is a craft, not a liability.
But not a mystery, unfortunately, since our lead is not solving a crime—it’s happening to him, more than anything else. This is YA crime fiction, I would say. A worthy read, but alas, not a mystery.
Still, I’ll be looking for more of Ms. Morgenroth’s work. If you have a free afternoon or evening, read this one. It has all the quality of short fiction, with the emotional challenge of a YA. And does it get much better than that?
I think not.