Girl on Trial
by Kathleen Fine
October 23 - November 17, 2023 Virtual Book Tour
Does doing one bad thing make you a bad person?
Sixteen-year-old Emily Keller, known by the media as Keller the Killer, is accused of causing the deaths of a family of four, including young children. Emily is one of the youngest females to be accused of a crime so heinous, making this the nation’s biggest trial of the year. But what really happened that fateful night—and who’s responsible—is anything but straightforward.
Living in a trailer park in Baltimore with her twin brother and alcoholic mother, Emily’s life hasn’t been easy. She’s had to grow up fast, and like any teen, has made questionable decisions in a desperate attempt to fit in with her peers. Will her mistakes amount to a guilty verdict and a life in prison? It’s up to the jury to decide.
Praise for Girl on Trial:
"Kathleen Fine has written a compassionate, thought-provoking thriller that will have readers asking themselves big questions about redemption while also turning the pages with breathless anticipation. From her opening pages, Fine grabbed my attention and didn't let go until I closed the book, hardly twenty four hours later. Fine's story reminds us that everyone has a backstory and that the root of empathy involves discovering the particulars of someone else's history with an open heart and mind."
~ Christie Tate, Author of Reese’s Book Club and NYT bestseller GROUP
"In her sharp debut Girl on Trial, Kathleen Fine deftly weaves the past with 16 year-old Emily Keller’s present-day manslaughter trial, allowing readers to put together the puzzle pieces of what really happened the day everyone says Emily killed an entire family. With her vivid characters and a well-developed setting, Fine evokes compassion for people trying their best and reminds us that there’s more to every story than meets the eye. Girl on Trial asks readers to wonder: are we more than our biggest mistake, and does everyone deserve redemption?"
~ Jessie Weaver, author of Live Your Best Lie
"Readers will be on edge as Emily’s decisions lead her to become involved in and vulnerable to dangerous situations… The epilogue brings the roller-coaster ride to a satisfying conclusion…. Gripping, tragic, but ultimately hopeful."
“In Kathleen Fine’s Girl on Trial…interpersonal dynamics are revelatory… reality wars with public perception…a suspenseful thriller in which a maligned teenager is forced to fight for justice.”
~ Foreword Reviews
Genre: YA Contemporary Mystery/Thriller
Published by: CamCat Books
Publication Date: October 2023
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 9780744306835 (ISBN10: 0744306833)
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookShop.org | Goodreads | CamCat Books
Read an excerpt:
Girl on Trial by Kathleen Fine is a new contemporary young adult thriller and family drama, and it was a mesmerizing tale from start to finish. With its sympathetic main character, authenticity, and raw tragedy embedded within its plot, I didn’t want to put it down once I began reading.
Emily Keller is a great protagonist: a fraternal twin, the product of a disadvantaged single-parent home, socially overlooked but with a desire to step into the limelight despite the shyness that precludes her from making the friends she so desperately wants. It’s her junior year in high school, and she truly wants is to be seen. Her story unfolds through the use of multiple timelines, chapters alternating between the start of the school year, the time of the trial, and some years later down the road.
The author’s writing is easy to read but compelling, using just the right amount of description to put the reader squarely in each scene with the characters. The teenage characters felt authentic in thought, dialogue, and action, and they seemed just like any of their real-life counterparts you’d encounter now.
As the story progresses, many tough topics and horrible things happen, including death, death of children, cutting, drug use, alcoholism, parental abandonment, rape, and assault. These issues may be triggering for some readers, so this book may not be suitable for everyone. However, what is depicted is realistic and may also be eye-opening for others, creating opportunities to share thoughts, feelings, and experiences that need to be discussed. The book’s plot is tense, and the reading is intense.
I recommend GIRL ON TRIAL for readers of suspenseful contemporary young adult fiction that includes tragic and sensitive material.
Kathleen Fine received her Master’s in Reading Education from Towson University and Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from University of Maryland, College Park. She is a member of the Maryland Writers Association, International Thriller Writers, and Author’s Guild. When she’s not writing and selling real estate, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling to the Outer Banks, and of course, reading anything she can get her hands on. She currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland with her husband, three children, and Sussex Spaniel. Her short stories have been published in Litro Magazine, Pen in Hand, The Maryland Writer’s Association Anthology, and in The Indignor Playhouse Anthology. Girl on Trial is her debut novel.
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