I liked the story so I’m giving it 4 stars however, I’m not sure the title goes well with the story. Especially after getting to the end of the book. It seems like less focus on the murder of Stas’s mom and all the focus on Stas. The before and the after. With the title I wanted more focus on the murder and solving it. Even with that it was still a really good story.
Seventeen-year-old Stas Nonu has nothing more to worry about than looking like an oversized pumpkin in the bridesmaid dress her mother picked out for her wedding to her long-time partner, Mama K. Her father’s newfound religious beliefs are annoying and starting to cramp her style, but nothing to be really concerned about. Besides, Zane, the new guy she met at that party is way more interesting.
When Stas finds her mother’s dead body in a pool of blood, and evidence points to her father as the murderer, she realizes how uncomplicated things were before.
Especially when two aunts she’s never met fly from her mother’s native Russia and start talking about her coming to live with them. Then her father’s brother shows up with his own reasons for why Stas should live with him.
Unable to face the tug of war between her relatives, or the devastating effect it’s having on her beloved Mama K, Stas turns to Zane for comfort. But their increasing closeness is not enough to allow Stas to escape the reality of her fractured family.
If Stas can’t figure out a way to prove Mama K is as much her mother as the woman who gave birth to her, she might find herself banished to Siberia. Or somewhere even worse.
16+ due to sexuality and adult situations
When I reach it, the studio door is ajar. I frown at it as it swings forward and back in the wintery breeze. Mom wouldn’t leave it open like that. She keeps the door locked unless class is in session, not because there’s anything much of value to steal in there, but because more than once we’ve found homeless people sacked out in the corners of the studios. It’s been a few years since the last one, but you can’t be too careful.
“Mom?” I slide through the door and close it carefully behind me. “It’s almost 9:30, Mom.”
Music drifts from the studio ahead of me. But it’s dark. It makes no sense. I thought I was the only one who danced in the dark. And that’s only because I don’t want Mom knowing I’m in there, don’t want her knowing I still dance.
I take a few steps toward the studio then stop. Something isn’t right. I can’t put my finger on what it is, but the hair rises on the back of my neck. I take a deep breath. There. That’s it. That smell. It’s not the familiar scent of rosin and sweat. That’s there, but over it is another scent. Sharp. Metallic.
I reach my hand out and find the panel of switches on the wall. I don’t stop to fumble for the right one, just press them all down. Light explodes around me, making me blink and throw my hand up before my eyes.
As I do, I catch a glimpse of something red.
When I dare to lower my hand, I realize the red is blood. A puddle of it. A thick, viscous puddle spreading across the blond wood floorboards.
And my mother lies in the middle of it.