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You'll Be the Death of Me by Karen M McManus - Review and Blog Tour

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Hello and welcome to my blog for my stop on the tour for You'll Be the Death of Me! If you haven't been to my blog before, please do have a click around as I've reviewed all of Karen's previous books and plenty of other YA novels. It is a pleasure to welcome you! 

Where did I get it? I was given an electronic copy of the book in exchange for this review. I was not otherwise compensated and all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you very much to Penguin for having me! 

What's it about? Cal, Ivy, and Mateo are all seventeen and are high school seniors in a suburb of Boston, MA. They used to be friends in 8th grade, after a school trip where they snuck out together and had The Greatest Day Ever, but things happened and they haven't spoken since. But each of them has things going on in their lives. One day, they all meet in the school parking lot and decide to skip school and head into Boston. 

This is what's going on for each of them:

Cal has split up with his girlfriend Noemi and has started 'seeing' someone else. It turns out this person has been grooming him and he is rightly unsettled about it. Noemi says he's like a shell of a person, and Cal certainly feels it. He's been pulling away from all his friends and even from his dads. I don't want to spoil the storyline but I loved how it all unravelled for Carl. 

Ivy lives with her parents, who are high achievers (her mum is due to receive an award on the night of the day that Ivy decides to skip school) and so is her brother Daniel. In fact Daniel skipped a grade so he's a senior like she is. Ever since this happened Ivy has felt 'less than', there's no love lost between her and Daniel and she is constantly striving to keep up with him. Ivy had been in the running for class president, but she lost to Brian 'Boney' Mahoney, who was running as a joke, and she's annoyed about it. She feels a bit lost and lonely. 

Then there's Mateo. He lives with his single mum and his cousin, Autumn, who lost her parents in a car crash when she was eleven and has lived with Mateo and his mum ever since. Ma used to own a bowling alley, but after an accident there and with her own health declining, money is tight in the house. Mateo is working three jobs and Autumn is too, including doing something that becomes pertinent to the plot. Ivy and Mateo also kind of had a thing when they were thirteen, but something happened and they haven't spoken since. 

So yes, the three of them decide to skip school and head into the city. Each chapter is told from one of their points of view, taking it in turns, which I really liked because I got to know each character well. I liked them equally, and for different reasons. They are heading towards a cafe when they see Boney Mahoney heading towards a squat that is used as an art studio. Boney, as winner of the election, is supposed to be giving a speech at school at right that minute. Ivy is furious - thinking that he has skived off and that this shows how little he cares about being class president - so she follows him into the building. However, when she gets there, she finds Boney dead, with a syringe at his side. The boys realise that she makes a pretty good suspect for killing him actually, so when they hear sirens they leave very quickly. 

The day disintegrates as Ivy does find herself public enemy, as Cal discovers truths about the person who has been grooming him, and as Mateo finds himself under suspicion and increasingly worried for Autumn. All the action is contained to one day which adds to the tension of the book. I really enjoyed it, I liked how good and bad things happened and how many things got sorted out 

What age range is it for? Fifteen plus 

Are any main characters LGBTQ+? No I don't think so 

Are any main characters people of colour? Yes, Mateo's mum is Hispanic 

Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? Mateo's mum, I'm going to say she counts. And I loved the way that her ill health and the cost of her medication had such an effect on Mateo and Autumn - this is reality for so many children and teenagers and I thought it was very well put across. 

Is there any sex stuff? No, but trigger warning for the grooming obviously 

Are drugs mentioned or used? Yes. I won't give away the plot but it's illegal drugs. There's not much talk about effects of the drug, but be careful 

Is there any talk of death? Yes, obviously as Boney gets murdered. It isn't too graphic but be careful. 

Are there swear words? A few, they're well used within the plot though. 


What criticisms do I have? Almost none, I loved the book as I've loved everything else by the author! 

Would I recommend the book? Yes completely. 


What do I think of the cover? I like how it fits with Karen's other books. They would look gorgeous in a whole collection on your bookshelf! 

How many stars? Four out of five!


Karen M. McManus is the #1 New York Times and international bestselling author of young adult thriller/mystery novels, including One of Us Is Lying, One of Us Is Next, Two Can Keep a Secret, and The Cousins. You'll Be the Death of Me will be her next novel, publishing December 2021. Her work has been translated into more than 40 languages worldwide. Karen lives in Massachusetts and holds a master's degree in Journalism from Northeastern University, which she mostly uses to draft fake news stories for her novels. For more information, visit or @writerkmc on Twitter and Instagram.

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