Monday, April 1, 2024

You Know What You Did

You Know What You Did by K. T. Nguyen
4/16/24; 384 pages

You Know What You Did by K. T. Nguyen follows Annie “Anh Le” Shaw, a first-generation Vietnamese American artist as she falls into a downward spiral of OCD and compulsive behavior after her mother dies and other deaths follow. It is a recommended mystery/thriller for the right readers.

Annie’s mother, a Vietnam War refugee, made Annie's childhood one of control and emotional abuse that left Annie with lifelong trauma. Annie escaped to college where she met and married Duncan, a wealthy journalist. The two now have a fifteen-year-old daughter, Tabitha (Tabby) and are living a comfortable life. When Annie's mother, now a hoarder who was living in their carriage house, dies suddenly, Annie’s life begins to fall apart and she reverts to some of her previous behavior, including OCD, memory problems, and self-doubt. She begins to distance herself from people, including Duncan and Tabby. When her beloved dog dies quickly after her mother and another death happens. Annie can't tell what is going on around her.

Annie is an incredibly unreliable narrator and the sharing of her thoughts during her downward spiral is a slow-paced nightmarish jumble of confusion, memory loss, paranoia, and compulsion. Annie can't tell what is going on around her. The slow pace continues for a greater portion of the novel and, since it is being seen through the eyes of an untrustworthy and perhaps unstable narrator, staying with the plot does require some conscious effort.

To be honest there was not one character in the novel that I liked, trusted, or connected with. There were also several things that occurred that will be difficult for some readers. Twists happen toward the end but careful readers may predict the direction this one is going. 

The quality of the writing is actually very good. Nguyen did an excellent job depicting a fifteen-year-old teen girl, which gives her major writing points. 3.5 rounded down for me but could easily go up for the right reader. Thanks to Dutton for providing me with an advance reader's copy via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and expresses my honest opinion.

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