When Lily Hayes arrives in Buenos Aires for her semester abroad, she in enchanted by everything she encounters: the colorful surroundings, the street food, the elusive guy next door. Her studious roommate Katy is a bit of a bore, but Lily didn't come to Argentina to hang out with other Americans. Five weeks later, Katy is found brutally murdered in their shared home, and Lily is the prime suspect. But who is Lily Hayes? It depends on who's asking. As the case takes shape - revealing deceptions, secrets, and suspicious DNA - Lily appears alternately sinister and guileless through the eyes of those around her.
There is really no way to separate Cartwheel from the real life story of Amanda Knox. I tried the entire time I was reading it, but the parallels are so apparent, I'm not sure there are a lot of people who will read this book and not think of Amanda Knox. And for me anyway, because I couldn't separate the two, I was never able to fully engage with Lily, her family, or those around her in Buenos Aires.
And that leads me into another winding thought process that may not make sense to anyone but myself. When it comes to themes explored in a work of fiction, I know that part of it is author's intent and part reader interpretation. I'm rarely convinced that authors intentionally incorporate all the concepts that critics, academics, and readers would like to ascribe to their works. I've read a few reviews, both from other bloggers and from critics, that read like a doctoral thesis from a psychology major. And while I'm sure the author did explore some of the themes being highlighted in these reviews, I'm almost positive some of the others are all in the reviewers heads. I'm never sure if this is because these types of reviewers can never just relax and enjoy a good story, or if it's because they are simply belong in a Loony Tunes cartoon.
I know the whole reason someone is sitting down, reading this review, is to find out if I liked the book or not. To tell you the truth, I'm still trying to figure that out for myself, so I put forth my humblest apologies on not being able to answer that most basic of questions. If I was forced to offer up an opinion, it would be more ambivalent than anything else. There was nothing that annoyed or offended me, but there was really nothing that grabbed my attention for longer than a few minutes at a time. I enjoy the author's voice, but I'm not sure that had any real affect on my reading experience. And one really bizarre side effect, I have even less interest in the Amanda Knox case, than I had before I read this book.
I would like to thank Lisa of TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this book. Please visit the tour page to read other reviews.