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We Were Kings
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We Were Kings
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A twenty-year-old crime, an accelerated death penalty, and an elitist family cover-up: Nyla races against the death row clock to save a woman the world is rooting for . . . and against. Which side will...
A twenty-year-old crime, an accelerated death penalty, and an elitist family cover-up: Nyla races against the death row clock to save a woman the world is rooting for . . . and against. Which side will...
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  • A twenty-year-old crime, an accelerated death penalty, and an elitist family cover-up: Nyla races against the death row clock to save a woman the world is rooting for . . . and against. Which side will you choose?

    Twenty years ago, eighteen-year-old Francis Quick was convicted of murdering her best friend, Cora King, and sentenced to death. Now the highly debated Accelerated Death Penalty Act has passed giving Frankie thirty final days to live. Surprising everyone, one of the King family members sets out to challenge the woefully inadequate evidence and potential innocence of Frankie Quick.

    The at-first reluctant but soon-fiery Nyla and her unexpected ally—handsome country island boy Sam Stack—bring Frankie's case to the international stage through her YouTube channel, Death Daze. They step into fame and a hometown battle that someone's still willing to kill over. But who? The senator? The philanthropist? The pawn shop owner? Nyla's own mother?

    Best advice: Don't go to family dinner at the Kings' estate. More people will leave in body bags than on their own two feet. And as for Frankie Quick, she's a gem . . . even if she's guilty.

    Praise for We Were Kings:

    "We Were Kings is the best kind of mystery novel—intelligent and bursting with heart. As Nyla untangled her family's secrets, the twists left me breathless." —Brittany Cavallaro, New York Times bestselling author

    "Bingeable. Atmospheric. A book that grabs hold and doesn't let go. We Were Kings offers a delicious mystery perfect for fans of We Were Liars and A Good Girl's Guide to Murder. I savored every word from beginning to end." —Caroline George, author of The Summer We Forgot

  • Young Adult suspense with some romance
  • Stand-alone novel
  • Includes discussion questions for book clubs

About the Author-

  • Court Stevens grew up among rivers, cornfields, churches, and gossip in the small-town South. She is a former adjunct professor, youth minister, and Olympic torchbearer. These days she writes coming-of-truth fiction and is the community outreach manager for Warren County Public Library in Kentucky. She has a pet whale named Herman, a bandsaw named Rex, and several novels with her name on the spine: The June Boys, Faking Normal, The Lies About Truth, the e-novella The Blue-Haired Boy, Dress Codes for Small Towns, and Four Three Two One. Find Court online at CourtneyCStevens.com; Instagram: @quartland; Facebook: @CourtneyCStevens; Twitter: @quartland.

Reviews-

  • Kirkus

    January 1, 2022
    When a teen goes in search of a killer, she discovers that nothing is what it seems. For as long as 18-year-old Nyla Wagner can recall, she's had to share her mother's attention with Frankie, a death row felon and her mother's closest friend. She knows the story: Two decades ago, the body of Cora King, the 18-year-old daughter of a Kentucky senator, was found in a badly decomposed state in the lake surrounding Cora's family's island home. Frankie, who was Cora's best friend, was charged with the murder based solely on her previous arrest record. Now Frankie's out of appeals, and her execution date has been set. When a reporter comes looking for Cora's sister, one Elizabeth King, Nyla discovers that is her mom. She starts with trying to understand why her mother fled from her wealthy family--the two of them have lived a hardscrabble, peripatetic life--then, becoming enmeshed in difficult family dynamics, seeks to prove Frankie's innocence and find the real killer. Stevens' sentence-level writing sizzles, effectively conveying both Nyla's heart and the Kentucky setting. The pacing falters, however, and some of the characters feel one-note, to the point that the climactic scene doesn't evoke the emotion that it should. Main characters read as White. Sparkles like a diamond at first but does not fulfill its initial promise. (discussion questions) (Mystery. 14-18)

    COPYRIGHT(2022) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    March 1, 2022

    Gr 9 Up-Nyla Wagner's mother has spent 20 years arguing the innocence of Frankie Quick, who was convicted of murdering Cora King when the girls were teenagers. Now the passage of a new law gives Frankie only 30 days before she will be executed, which prompts reporters to show up at Nyla's door and expose her mother as Cora King's sister. Confused and determined to find answers, Nyla embarks on her own investigation of the murder and her tangled family web. As she's done in previous novels, Stevens explores small-town atmosphere and politics very well. The mystery and suspense build consistently as Nyla searches for answers through her affluent family's secrets and lies. While there are some reveals that seem a bit obvious, others are clever and twisty enough to pick up the slack. Nyla is a likable and relatable protagonist, as is her relationship to Sam Stack, the son of Cora King's former boyfriend. Easily consumable with a fast-paced plot, this is a quick and enticing read for fans of murder mysteries and family dramas. Characters' race and ethnicity weren't stated. VERDICT Stevens delivers a cunning tale that will appeal to existing fans and could attract some new readers. A solid addition to any YA collection.-Kaitlin Malixi

    Copyright 2022 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Thomas Nelson
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