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What July Knew

"This breath-takingly moving, intense coming-of-age mystery sees a ten-year-old girl driven to discover the truth about her mother’s death."

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

With a brilliant evocation of its ten-year-old protagonist’s voice and psychology, Emily Koch’s What July Knew tackles domestic abuse, family tragedy, terrible cover-ups and community dynamics with tremendous empathy and storytelling vim. It’s compelling, heart-breaking, honest stuff, written as a page-turning mystery, with brutal truths about domestic violence and a kind-hearted, loving girl at its core.

Its 1995 and ten-year-old July lives with her abusive father, stepmother and stepsister. At this point, she has a list of eighteen things she knows about the mother she believes was killed in a car accident several years ago. When her teacher asks the class to work on a project about a relation they know little about, July sets about researching her mother. But July’s violent father won’t talk about her. Constantly teaching July a “Lesson”, he’s left her feeling “unworthy of his love”.

Nonetheless, July risks her father’s wrath by investigating things for herself in the wake of receiving a note that claims her mother wasn’t killed in a car accident. At the same time, her stepmother starts to “do a deliberately crack-handed job of the make-up over July’s bruises”, hoping someone will notice, hoping someone will do something. After visiting the street her parents used to live on and encountering a former neighbour, July unearths shocking secrets leading to an urgent, powerful showdown that’ll have readers holding their breath, desperate for July — and her stepfamily — to have a true chance at life.

Joanne Owen

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Primary Genre Family Drama
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