Jeanette Stingley's Reviews > The Poison Tree

The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly
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Feb 15, 11

Read in February, 2011

The Poison Tree is one of the best debut novels I have read in the past couple of years. Author Erin Kelly has really set the bar high for herself. In this novel we explore the world of laid back, free spirited college kids whose lives get turned upside down.

The book actually begins near the end of the story, then switches back to this carefree and exciting life, time and time again. Normally, I do not like books that switch each chapter back and forth between present and past because it can be confusing if you are not expecting it. But Kelly did a fine job of telling us the back story with this format. What I really enjoyed about this story is the dropping of foreshadowing subtly. This made me want to read on at every hint.

The story begins with Rex and Karen and their daughter driving in England. We soon find out Rex has just been released from prison so there is awkwardness between Karen and Rex straight away. Then we skip ahead to chapter 2 after much foreshadowing to when Karen was a language student in college and she meets the mysteriously glamorous bohemian Biba, a drama student, and her older brother Rex who live in a large house in North London that has seen better days. Over the summer of her final year at university, Karen moves in with Biba and Rex, and into a world of parties, mystery, alcohol, drugs and a variety of eccentric and shady characters, including drug dealing Guy.

It is hard to give a review of this book without revealing spoilers. The end was shocking and I (who is almost always disappointed with the ending of stories, as some of you know!) was extremely satisfied with the way this story unraveled to the end. This is one of those books to start reading on a Friday night and keep eagerly turning the pages until Sunday.
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