Thicker Than Water is a captivating and thrilling book, written by Brigid Kemmerer.
Thomas Bellweather hasn’t been in town long. Just long enough for his newlywed mother to be murdered, and for his new stepdad’s cop colleagues to decide Thomas is the primary suspect. There’s no evidence, but before Thomas got to Garretts Mill, there has only been one other murder in twenty years.
The only person who believes him is Charlotte Rooker, who is the little sister to three cops and straight-up dangerous to Thomas. Not to mention, she knew the other murder victim. Now she wants answers. But these answers could get both Charlotte and Thomas killed, and reveal a truth Thomas would die to keep hidden…
This was a book I was looking forward to reading – until I read Paul’s review on The Galaxial Word and found that he didn’t like it! We normally read very similar books and often have similar thoughts, so I was disappointed to hear that he didn’t like it. If you want to check out his review, you can click here! He didn’t really like the insta-love in Thicker Than Water, and when I heard about that, I kind of cringed. I didn’t want to have to read something cheesy and overly romantic without a purpose. So I didn’t have high hopes when I started reading this book. I expected to force myself to finish it, slowly trudging through it like thick mud. But this book wasn’t at all like mud. If anything, it was more like quicksand – it pulled me into Thomas’s and Charlotte’s world, got my heart racing and completely consumed me, leaving me breathless.
Let’s just talk about the thing you’re really worrying about at the moment – the insta-love aspect. I’ll admit, there’s a little bit of that going on in this book. However, I normally hate insta-love, and in this case, it was tolerable. There was no wincing or cringing or stabbing the book with the bookmark and instead, I quite enjoyed reading about the romance in this book. Yes, Thomas and Charlotte do form a relationship quite quickly and they do often talk about the appearance of the other person a lot. Maybe it’s because I haven’t read a book like that in a while, but I didn’t mind it. It was annoying that these characters judged each other based on their looks before getting to know them, but that’s often the sad fact of life, isn’t it? I’m just saying that even if you hate insta-love as much as I do, this book doesn’t have a bad case of it.
So why don’t we talk a little about the romance side of this book while I’m here? The one thing I loved about the romance in this book was that we always knew what was going on. There was never any side-bae or any other distractions between Thomas and Charlotte. It was just them and their attraction towards one another and that was it. No love-triangle and no forbidden romance, which was very refreshing to see. And the attraction between both of them was very cute. I loved seeing their interactions and their flirting, especially that one particular scene in the library! Watching their relationship transform was one of the best parts of this book. Even when they had their doubts about one another, there was always that underlying friendship and trust between the two of them, and that was very enjoyable to read about.
Tom was the kind of character that you want to punch at times, and then cuddle at others. He’s so broken and angry and devastated after his mother’s death and he’s living in a town where he doesn’t know anyone and where no one knows him and doesn’t care enough about him to get to know him. Instead, they’re quick to judge and blame him for the things that go wrong in this town. I really felt sorry for Tom and his situation and I wished he’d stop doing and saying things that could be interpreted the wrong way, but I understood his struggles and how these people were willing to pin the murder on him just because he seemed like the easiest target. The more I got to know Tom, the more I fell in love with him. He was sweet and funny and fiercely brave, but also complex and flawed, like every character should be. I couldn’t have wished for a better protagonist for this novel.
Someone else I had a bit of ups and downs with was Charlotte. I had hoped that she would be more brave and outgoing that she actually was, but I found that she was pretty spineless for almost all of the book. She hated being babied by her family, but as a result of that, she couldn’t really cope by herself. She acted as the ‘damsel in distress’ for quite a number of times in this novel and while she wasn’t doing anything like that on purpose or to win Tom’s sympathy or attention, the things that happened to her always resulted in Tom or someone from her family helping her. Or carrying her in their arms. Twice. Or fussing over her. I could understand that her family was overprotective and all, I just wish I could have seen Charlotte find her strength and bravery a little earlier than she did. However, I did like seeing her character growth and she was an interesting enough person to read about. I especially loved the scenes between her and her best friend who works at the library… and who I’m trying to pretend I haven’t forgotten the name of!
Another thing I loved about this book was that it was set in a small town. I felt as though setting it in that particular place allowed it to feel as though everyone was in everyone else’s business, in a way that was verging on suffocating. Thomas felt trapped in that town and everyone knew his face, and that was part of what made this book so fast-paced and exciting. He couldn’t go anywhere without someone recognising him and creating a scene. If this novel was instead set in a big city, it simply wouldn’t have been as effective.
There was one thing about this book that I did not expect. At all. I honestly can’t say too much because I’m scared I’ll spoil something – but man. If you’ve read this book, you’ll know what I’m referring to. If you haven’t, all you need to know is that this book isn’t what it seems. It’s not just a YA crime/romance. Thicker Than Water is also… wait for it… paranormal. *MIND BLOWN*. Seriously, I probably should have done a bit more research into this book and read the blurb past the first line before reading this book – or maybe just thoroughly read Paul’s review instead of skimming over it and freaking out when I saw the words ‘insta-love’ – but I loved the surprise. I was shocked. Astounded. I could not believe it. It changed the whole story and I definitely didn’t see it coming.
But just as I was really getting into this book, it just stops! I got down to the twenty-page mark and things still hadn’t been resolved and I was just wrapping my head around the twist and then, before I knew it, this book was over?! Please, please tell me there’s going to be a second book? It’s not as though there’s a massive cliffhanger at the end, but it simply doesn’t feel complete and I’d love to spend some more time with Thomas and Charlotte. If any of you know anything at all about a possible second book, I’d love to know!
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Thicker Than Water. My favourite aspects of this novel would have to be the romance and the plot-twist. If you’re looking for a YA crime story with a scoop of romance and a paranormal twist, I highly recommend picking up this book! I’d give Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer a score of 9 out of 10. Let’s discuss! Have you read this book or are you planning on reading it? What are your thoughts on insta-love? Do you agree with Paul or myself on our thoughts with the romance in this book? Do you like it when books take everything you thought you new and throw it all out the window, or would you rather be throwing this book out the window? Let me know! 🙂
Thanks to Allen & Unwin Australia for providing me with this book in exchange for an honest review!