Review: Quicksand by Malin Persson Giolito

30724110.jpg*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Title: Quicksand

Author: Malin Persson Giolito

Publisher: Other Press

Publication Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 9781590518571

Synopsis from Goodreads:
A mass shooting has taken place at a prep school in Stockholm’s wealthiest suburb. Eighteen-year-old Maja Norberg is charged for her involvement in the massacre that left her boyfriend and her best friend dead. She has spent nine months in jail awaiting trial. Now the time has come for her to enter the courtroom. How did Maja—popular, privileged, and a top student—become a cold-blooded killer in the eyes of the public? What did Maja do? Or is it what she failed to do that brought her here?


Mass shooting meets courtroom drama, meets teenage struggle. Giolito’s Quicksand is an intense and immensely moving story about Maja, the lone survivor of a school shooting who is inextricably tangled up in the deaths of her classmates. This novel tells of a troubled youth, Sebastian, who has no one in the world but Maja, and his slow unravelling and deterioration into depression. Touching on themes such as family, love, lust, substance abuse, anger, fear, and abuse, Giolito’s complex story reveals the darkness that can live within a person, and how that darkness can manifest in the world. At the same time, we are shown the sensationalization and glamourization of crime in the media, and the profound impact that journalism can have on the perception of a suspects and the victims. A lawyer herself, Giolito gives us an unhindered account of the tricks and tools lawyers employ to make and win their arguments within the confines of the courtroom.

What I love about Giolito’s writing is that you have no clue how this story is going to play out. We see the whole story from Maja’s perspective. We see her fears, anxieties, struggles. We get to know her very intimately in very many unique settings. However, even though we know her so well, we cannot known whether she is innocent or guilty. The reader may come to sympathize with her, to understand her decisions, and even to like her, but until the very end, Giolito masterfully leaves us to speculate our own outcome. She lets the reader thing for his or herself, which I absolutely adored. Her writing is incredibly skilled in this way. This book is Giolito’s English-language debut and it’s so poignant and moving. It never had me full-out devastated–which considering the topic I totally expected–but I couldn’t put it down. I stayed up much, much later than I normally do to finish it, needing to know what happens and how the story ends.

I think other readers will find this book to be a total page-turner. Giolito serves us tidbits of shocking information a bit at a time, hooking you and reeling you in. I would most definitely recommend this book to any reader. Even if you’re not into crime dramas, like myself, this story is infused with so much more character development and backstory, moving throughout time, that it creates the perfect balance. Overall, a great book!

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