Murder for the Modern Girl Standalone
By: Kendall Kulper
Genres: YA Historical Fiction/Mystery
Publication Date: May 31, 2022
Format: E-ARC via NetGalley

Synopsis from GoodReads:

A ravishing young mind reader stalks the streets at night in kitten heels, prowling for men to murder.

A soft-spoken genius toils away in the city morgue, desperate to unearth the science behind his gift for shapeshifting.

It’s a match made in 1928 Chicago, where gangsters run City Hall, jazz fills the air, and every good girl’s purse conceals a flask.

Until now, eighteen-year-old Ruby’s penchant for poison has been a secret. No one knows that she uses her mind-reading abilities to target men who prey on vulnerable women, men who escape the clutches of Chicago “justice.” When she meets a brilliant boy working at the morgue, his knack for forensic detail threatens to uncover her dark hobby. Even more unfortunately: sharp, independent Ruby has fallen in love with him.

Waltzing between a supernaturally enhanced romance, the battle to take down a gentleman’s club, and loyal friendships worth their weight in diamonds, Ruby brings defiant charm to every spectacular page of Murder for the Modern Girl—not to mention killer fashion. An irresistible caper perfect for fans of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue.


Review

Thank you to Kendall Kulper, Holiday House, and NetGalley for a free e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

Murder for the Modern Girl is a YA Historical Fiction Mystery set in the Roaring Twenties centered around vigilante justice, a interesting romance, and all the gorgeous description of Gatsby-era glamour.

This is a book that was easy for me to set down and come back to later, not so much a thriller as a slow burn mystery/romance. The first few chapters I read through quickly, the middle lagged a bit for me, and then ending did a good job of ramping up the stakes and then coming to a satisfying conclusion.

Ruby is very spirited character. I love the way Kulper describes her mind reading and found those to be some of my favorite scenes. Guy is an interesting character that I felt could have used More. His shifting ability is so damn cool and would have loved to explore that more. Sometimes it felt like they were two characters from different stories that didn’t mesh well together, except for their interest in one another. Like when you get crossover shows of your favorites, but the vibe just shifts too much back and forth instead of blend together. But by the end, I still found myself enjoying it.

As for the secondary characters, the only one that really sticks out is Maggie. Ruby’s best friend. I would LOVE to read a story from her point of view. I kept getting some bi-vibes from Ruby and Maggie, but that could have just been wishful queer thinking on my part. As for the rest of the side characters, I didn’t feel like they were important, and were just there when it was useful to the plot.

The slight issue I had with the book is the ’20s slang that got thrown around so much. I do not think it was necessary and it felt really forced.

But the larger issues, was that it left me wanting more. We get teased with supernatural abilities and then Nothing, no answers as to why either of the main characters have abilities, although one is looking to science and one is just like “yeah, this is how I am” with no real need to ask further questions.

Overall, I did like reading it, would recommend it to those who love books set in the ’20s for the aesethic/glamour of it all, as long as there is no expectation of revealing anything around the mind reading and shapeshifting abilities.