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Review by | September 17, 2015 at 11:00 AM
9

“I admit to being a moron at lots of things. Being a moron in one or two areas serves to highlight my extraordinary brilliance in everything else.”

Basically: Rachel Watts gets more than she bargained for when she and her eccentric (but sexy) neighbor, James Mycroft, stumble across a murder scene. If BBC’s Sherlock was a young adult novel, it would be Ellie Marney’s Every Breath.  

Mix a classic case of the boy-next-door with a strong female character, chemistry that flies off the page, and a murder mystery and you get Ellie Marney’s contemporary young adult take on Sherlock Holmes.

Country girl Rachel Watts has only been living in Melbourne for a few months, but she’s already good friends with her “academic genius, social moron” neighbor, James Mycroft. The two, who refer to each other by last name only, are taking a nighttime stroll to the zoo when they stumble upon the dead body of a homeless man. Soon, Mycroft and Watts find themselves in the middle of a murder investigation that eventually leads them into the lion’s den–literally.

What really makes this book shine is the relationship between Watts and Mycroft aka “Wattscroft”. While Mycroft may be Watts’ intellectual superior, he still treats her like an equal and their personalities balance each other out: Watts is surprisingly tough, having grown up on a farm, and often acts as the voice of reason for the analytical Mycroft whose tragic past sometimes turns him reckless or brooding by turns.

The mystery itself is compelling and well plotted, but we dare you to pay close attention to the murder investigation without getting distracted by Mycroft’s “anarchy curls” or the unresolved sexual tension between him and Watts. We impatiently waited for them to figure out they were Made For Each Other, and the payoff made us swoon.

Marney doesn’t just limit realistic qualities to her protagonists. The book has a diverse–in more ways than one–cast of secondary characters, especially Mycroft and Watts’ friends, Mai and Gus, a Vietnamese girl and a Sudanese guy who are hiding their relationship from disapproving family. Even Watts’ parents are fleshed out, not the typical distracted/absent guardians so often found in YA novels, which is refreshing.

In the end: Read it! Following Watts and Mycroft as they get closer to the murderer–and each other–will have you holding your breath until the last sentence. The sequel, Every Word, is even more explosive.