‘No One Else Can Have You’ by Kathleen Hale: Creepy YA murder mystery

no one else

Rating: 4 1/2 stars

“No One Else Can Have You” by Kathleen Hale is a very different kind of young adult murder mystery. There are many aspects of this novel that set it apart from other books of that genre.

The protagonist, Kippy Bushman, is a rather strange but very determined girl. Her best friend was brutally murdered, and the local incompetent sheriff has arrested the wrong person. Kippy wants to find out who really killed her friend Ruth. Hale makes almost everything in this novel a tad off kilter — from the crazy characters (literally and not) to the setting and the Wisconsinite way of talking.

Kippy must take strange and extremely dangerous risks to find the killer. She also must struggle with her own mental issues — and is no stranger to psychologists (her father is one) and rehabilitation facilities. True to character, she makes some crazy moves in the story and does some really outrageous things — but she gets the killer in the end.

Before that, though, readers will learn that in Wisconsin (at least in the part where the story takes place), people call each other by both first and last names. So Kippy is Kippy Bushman throughout the novel. They also like to say “you betcha” a lot.

Hale’s characterization of the ultra-religious fanatics is hysterical. “Oh my Gah,” says one of the characters who can’t bring herself to say “God.” She admonishes others to also use “Gah” instead. She is one of the meanest characters in the story, of course.

Hale brings plenty of red herrings and twists to the story. The reader will certainly want to keep reading not only to find out “who done it” but also to keep meeting all the crazies and find out what they will do next. The action is humorous and disgusting (at times), so those with soft stomachs had better beware. There are also many sexual references; the murdered girl, and many of those in the high school, have no problem openly sharing relationships with multiple partners.

Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the publisher, Harper Teen, for review purposes.