karen's Reviews > The Poison Tree

The Poison Tree by Erin Kelly
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's review
Sep 07, 2015

really liked it
bookshelves: books-claiming-to-be-like-secret-hi
Read from June 01 to 02, 2011


so i am giving this four stars because

1)there is no option for three-and-a-half
2)it was kind of the perfect book to suit my mood in the day-and-a-half it took me to read it
3)in the spectrum of "books that claim to be just like secret history" this one takes home high marks.

but really - it's just a fast-paced crime thriller and is not likely to stay with me for any real amount of time.

it gets points for having the central character named karen. and having her be a genius of languages. but a lot of it is just a secret history tongue and groove DIY project. brilliant underachievers? crumbling mansion? wealthy layabouts sponsoring a poor friend?? mysterious happenings? moral blurriness? alcohol and drug anesthesia?

yeah, it's all there. and i feel like i have written this review before, for all the books chasing donna tartt's tail. and i was nineteen or thereabouts when i read secret history. i remember being riveted at my temp job, sitting in front of the usually silent phone, occasionally being roused from the text to crisply say "stewart, tabori and chang" into the mouthpiece. but since then, i have met so many people who have been really ho-hum about it. am i wrong? is my memory of it making it out to be something better than it is? was i just impressed at the time because it was something "new" tossed into the previously mild pool of my reading up to that point?

i hope not. i hope secret history is every bit as good as i remember it, and the haters are the same people who hate anything that falls into that "ambitious without being highbrow" category. if it wasn't good, why would there be so many people trying to imitate it?

don't answer that.

but - yeah- this book - a great diversion, definitely captivating, good characters. i don't know that i would encourage anyone to own it, but it would be an excellent library loaner. it is a fairly uncomplicated story about cause and effect, with some odd human behavior thrown in. just a lot of me second-guessing the characters with "why didn't she..." and "but why not simply..."

but that is its own kind of fun.

four stars for my own enjoyment, three if i am recommending it to someone else.
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Comments (showing 1-15 of 15) (15 new)

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message 1: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie Wann Looking forward to see if you like this book. I have it on my "to read" list.

karen nope. but i am about to drop that review now.


message 3: by Moira (new)

Moira Russell Secret History is fucken awesome, and anyone who doesn't think so is invited to fight me.

....what is with the cover? That looks exactly like Book of Lost /Plots/ Things which looks like Memories of Temptation. Did publishers just go 'RED, BLACK, WHITE, TREE!' to save on paperback design costs?

karen i think they just know what i like. bought both the books you mentioned based on the strength of their design. also, this one:

The Dead Boys

message 5: by Jen (new)

Jen I am reading The Secret History now. I like it but my copy has a VC Andrews-type two page cover and it looks cheap (it was cheaply priced, so fair enough) and not very Homerific at all.

karen cover art has come a long way, baby...

message 7: by Ana (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ana How can I read from that site??

karen what site?

message 9: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike I like your sliding scale star rating on this one, Karen. I know there are definitely books I rate higher for my own personal enjoyment.

Enjoyed your take on this one!!

message 10: by John (new)

John Devlin Ready Player One comes to mind in that regard

Susan Laddon Awww- I like you! Ummm. I am only 25 pgs in, but the one character is already annoying the crap out of me! Biba? Eeeecch! Even her name aggravates me. But I like your review, I'm going to try to stick with this, although I get the feeling all these kids in this novel are going to irritate me! (LOL)

karen well, that's how kids do!!

karen and awww i like you, too!! i just noticed that. now i am all fuzzy!

message 14: by Wendy (new) - added it

Wendy Allen I thought this book was good but it took a little bit to really dive into it! The ending was good though! I agree Biba was annoying bu so were Karen and her boyfriend at times.

karen karens are the worst

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