I have mixed feelings for The Foxglove Killings. I love it and I hate it, all at the same time.
For most of her life, Nova has lived at Emerald Cove – she works at her grandfather's diner and has been friends with Alex Pace for years. Every summer, wealthy kids take a vacation at Emerald Cove and make life difficult for the lowly residents who live there year-round.
The first half of the book I really hated. Nova only finds a mutilated deer with a foxglove in its mouth one summer morning and life continues on for the residents of Emerald Cove. The majority of that half is essentially outcasts vs. rich folk – both sides go at each other and make their lives difficult. There's a lot of petty revenge varying from past to recent with immature responses consisting of vandalism, useless threats, nasty gossip and rumors.
The wealthy kids who visit every summer are known as the cakes. WHY are they called cakes? HOW did Nova, Alex, and the kids who live year-round come up with this nickname? I'm very perplexed, but I had an absolute field day giggling every time "the cakes" appeared. I imagined vanilla cupcakes with evil little horns sticking out from the velvety red frosting and fangs sticking out from evil grins.
Okay, okay. I'm not making fun of the Tara's word choice. I just want to know WHY the cakes are called "the cakes" so I don't actually giggle like a little girl that just witnessed someone embarrassing themselves (like overly-exaggerated impersonations). I'm seventeen. I'm mature most of the time, but you can't expect me to be THAT mature. (Mom says I should be more mature at this rate. This might be why she's mopey all the time.) Also, that is probably just one of the few hand-drawn artworks you'll ever witness.
The second half continues the whole revenge of the outcasts theme, but it's not the main focus anymore. There's a bit of tension in Emerald Cove after one teenager is found murdered and a lot of people just want to get the murderer found and over with so everything can be normal again. There's more drama after another teenager is found murdered and Alex goes missing – finally it's not all about petty high school drama brought into summer vacation.
Nova and Jenika put aside their differences and start tolerating each other as they try to prove that Alex isn't actually the murderer – it's someone else entirely. When they actually find out who it is, the whole petty high school drama theme actually goes along with the entire plot of the book. Tara Kelly gives us a guessing game in The Foxglove Killings – it was a thrill to take guesses and find out I was completely and absolutely wrong.