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3.23  ·  Rating details ·  7,969 ratings  ·  1,161 reviews
Written with the riveting storytelling and moral seriousness of authors like Emma Donoghue, Adam Johnson, Ann Patchett, and Curtis Sittenfeld, Cartwheel is a suspenseful and haunting novel of an American foreign exchange student arrested for murder, and a father trying to hold his family together.

When Lily Hayes arrives in Buenos Aires for her semester abroad, she is ench
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published September 24th 2013 by Random House
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Benjamin Chambers Yes, it does.

Most books don't really grab me until around a third of the way in.
Half-way in they get good.
At 3/4s they're amazing.

This one was no diff…more
Yes, it does.

Most books don't really grab me until around a third of the way in.
Half-way in they get good.
At 3/4s they're amazing.

This one was no different. The best part are the last 100 pages.(less)

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Average rating 3.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,969 ratings  ·  1,161 reviews

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Jan 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
it's so rare that i review a book that is actually out, what with all my netgalleying and ARC-hoarding. but this one has been out for ages and i am only just now getting around to the ARC i hoarded last year. but this means i can say to you - go and get this now!! you don't have to wait 4 months for me to float my review and remind you that you wanted to read it.

because i loved it, and i feel like it has been so long since i truly loved a book that i want to crow and dance and maybe… do a cartw
Oct 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2013
This book is not a compelling read. I feel like the author is too busy showing me she is smart(perhaps like Lily) instead of attempting to involve me in the story. I don't like that. At. All.
Proving to readers that you have an extensive and yet overblown vocabulary with which you are insistent on impressing them isn't good writing, in my opinion.
It is also difficult to keep the thread of dialogue going as every single character would have these pages long musings involving the past, or their fe
switterbug (Betsey)
Aug 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Although there's been discussion that this novel is based on the Amanda Knox story, it is more accurate to say that it is inspired by it, and I think that if you go into it with that approach, you won't be comparing for authenticity. DuBois has taken many liberties with the familiar Knox chronicle, so that it is a decidedly different story. It reads like a mosaic of a family and a haunting labyrinth of mirrors.

American exchange student Lily Hayes, on the verge of 21, travels to Buenos Aires to s
Sep 30, 2013 rated it did not like it
This book was supposed to be "loosely based" on the Amanda Knox story. "Loosely"? Change the names, change the city, and it was regurgitated from the news practically word for word except, of course for the author's pretentious word choices throughout the book -- phloem, ingots, scherzo, atavistic, ungulate, syllogism, sybaritic, dictum, mirabile, pentimento, quotidian, caesura, decretory, etc., etc. The writing is pretentious and ostentatious "faint crepitation of a leaf against the window". Oh ...more
“That's an applicable life lesson, my boy,' he'd said. 'Nobody is really paying attention to you. Most people don't really get this. They think they must count more to other people than other people count to them. They can't believe the disregard could truly be mutual.”
― Jennifer duBois, Cartwheel

I had a difficult time with this one. Maybe it is because I have read similiar books and not all that long ago. For whatever reason I was not able to really get into this book in the way I had thought
Oct 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, arc, own, reviewed
My road to finding and becoming interested in CARTWHEEL was long...

In 2008, I read a book called The Monster of Florence ( about Il Mostro- a serial killer linked to 16 murders which took place in Florence Italy between 1968 and 1985)...and also watched numerous documentaries about the killings. Douglas Preston was one of the authors of The Monster of Florence, and was also in the forefront of my favorite documentaries on the case. I found him very credible and also knew he wrote The Relic- whic
Julie Ehlers
Mar 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
Cartwheel is very loosely based on the framework of facts from the Amanda Knox case, but that doesn't mean it's a crime thriller or murder mystery. It starts off as a deep dive into the psyches of a few important characters: Lily Hayes (the Knox alter ego), Lily's father Andrew, the prosecutor Eduardo, and Lily's sometime boyfriend Sebastien. I assumed Cartwheel would provide no definite answers (I was wrong about that, I think) and that any conclusions the reader could draw would be based on kn ...more
Patrice Hoffman
Sep 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: publisher-invite
Sure Cartwheel will be compared to the true events in the life and trial of Amanda Knox. Jennifer DuBois stated that Cartwheel is inspired by that true crime. After finishing Cartwheel I decided to familiaize myself with that news story since I'd never really followed it or watched the movies based on Amanda Knox. I wasn't constantly comparing the book to the real events which is definitely a plus. Because I was seeing this with fresh eyes so to speak, I could appreciate that Jennifer DuBois' de ...more
LeAnne: GeezerMom
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Yep! 5 stars for me, although I've been putting this book off for months. It's gotten some bum reviews, and when I saw it was supposedly a sort of a Lifetime Movie version of the Amanda Knox case - the gal who was accused, convicted, then released on charges of murdering her roommate in Italy - meh. I didn't wanna. While I felt bad for the real girl that was murdered and was mildly curious about Amanda Knox, it was not something I followed or paid attention to. Call me oblivious, but until readi ...more
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

‘Although the themes of this book were loosely inspired by the story of Amanda Knox, this is entirely a work of fiction. None of the characters are real. None of the events ever happened. Nothing in the book should be read as a factual statement about real-life events or people.’

‘Loosely inspired’ would imply that a subject was taken and adapted and molded to fit into a new version of the story. Cartwheel is an echo, a reflection and lacks in any true substantive differe
Aug 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
There are two types of crime fiction: the books that explore who did it and the books that explore why the who did it. Of the interrogative pronouns, why is forever and always the most compelling. Tell me what, tell me who, tell me when, tell me how, but I will not be satisfied until I know why. And so, I’m condemned to eternal dissatisfaction because that pesky why is often unanswerable. Think of all the minute actions you take in the course of a day: can you say why you acted in that precise w ...more
Diane S ☔
Sep 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
Had quite a while to consider my rating on this book and why so much of it just did not gel with me. I never paid much in depth attention to the Amanda Knox story, so my knowledge of said story is just bare bones. So while this is being compared to that case or said to be the trigger for this novel, I have no way of knowing. What I know is that there were two women, college exchange students and one somewhat hunky neighbor, having relationships with both and than of course there is the murder of ...more
Mar 17, 2015 rated it liked it
A decent book that could have been a great book. I was not familiar with Amanda Knox case, which should be the perfect starting point. However, the pretentious writing, strangely driven plot and characters I could not connect to ruined it for me. At the end I didn't even care to find out whether Lily did it or not. ...more
Review originally published at Learn This Phrase.

First up, and as you may already know, Cartwheel is a novel based on the Meredith Kercher/Amanda Knox case. The initial set-up is exactly the same as the real-life case, except the setting is Argentina, not Italy, and the Kercher character, Katy Kellers, is American, not British. The details of the murder (what is known about it, at least) and crime scene are identical. The behaviour of the characters after the murder is, if not exactly the same a
Aug 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
It ...was...a...split!

The story of Amanda Knox reminds me vividly of Joe McGinniss' true crime bestseller Fatal Vision, the 1970 case of Jeff MacDonald- ex -Green Beret surgeon accused of killing his family in "Manson-style" at his Fort Bragg military based home (it was suggested that MacDonald murdered in a drug-induced fit of rage; he is still serving concurrent life sentences).
Similarly, it recalls to mind, Truman Capote's true crime classic In Cold Blood - the gruesome Kansas kill
Aug 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Last year when I read A Partial History of Lost Causes, I was convinced that Jennifer DuBois was a writer to watch. After turning the last page of Cartwheel, I am sure of it. This is an exceptional novel: poised, confident, filled with strong prose and fully fleshed-out characters.

There’s no getting around the fact that the book is inspired by the highly publicized Amanda Knox case. Instead of Italy, the setting is Buenos Aires. But Lily Hayes, like Amanda, is studying abroad when her roommate,
Jun 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
About halfway through the first chapter of CARTWHEEL, I said, "Oh my God," out loud. It's just so good, so exciting, so literary, so incredibly fun to read. It tells a fictionalized version of the Amanda Knox story from the point of view of several key players, including the boyfriend, the Amanda character, and the Amanda's-dad character. The writing is sickeningly good, and somehow, even though you know exactly how the story will unfold if you pay passing attention to the news, it's riveting. ...more
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ok so this was a surprise in every way.

First of all, I threw this in the pile totally at random. I have well over 500 books on my TBR shelves, and that's just counting the books I really want to read. There are the books I still want to read but will undoubtedly never get around to, the books I REALLY really want to read that are high on my list (about 200+) and then that leaves around 300 or so that I also want to read, just slightly less so than the ones at the top of my list, which makes it
Jul 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Whether you had passing interest in the Amanda Knox case, completely avoided any mention of it in the press, or devoured every detail, it won't matter, because Cartwheel is fantastic from any perspective. It may appear that DuBois was trying to do something gimmicky and catchy by basing her story on such a controversial real-life case, but instead the background fades away and the book stands completely on its own - its inspiration merely makes it even more intriguing.

At its heart, it shows us h
Aug 06, 2013 rated it it was ok
I was REALLY not impressed with this novel. It was one of those books that I had to force myself to finish. I think perhaps it was a book that I needed to read in 5 years instead of now. The Amanda Knox situation may just be too close for me to appreciate a fictionalized account of a very similar situation. I found the novel to be actively annoying and frustrating. And repetitive since it basically is the Amanda Knox story with small tweaks to the details. Although it was well written, I just do ...more
I finished this book several days ago and have been trying to figure out what to say about it. I try to live in a little bit of a bubble, I don't watch much TV, very rarely do I watch the news, so I actually hadn't heard about the Amanda Knox story. When I chose this book I knew it was based on Amanda's experience. Reading along I didn't have any idea how much of Jennifer Dubois's supposedly fictionalized story was in alignment with what actually happened to Amanda Knox.

I thought the writing in
Nicole D.
Aug 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One might think that this story could write itself. After all, the story of Amanda Knox is laid out on the internet in extensive detail. But this isn't the story of Amanda Knox, it's the story of Lily Hayes, and it's exquisitely and carefully written.

I didn't really know anything about this book when I selected to review it, and I didn't know anything about Amanda Knox. I had some vague Jodi Arias recollection of hearing her name before. But after reading this story, I know a lot more about her
Sep 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-book, netgalley
Cartwheel is a 2013 Random House publication, written by Jennifer duBois.

Andrew and Maureen lost their first child, Janie to anemia. Now divorced, the couple face another horror involving one of their children. Lily had traveled to Buenos Aires as a college exchange student. After only a month and a half, she is sitting in a jail accused of murdering her roommate, Katy.

As Andrew travels to Buenos Aires with his youngest daughter, Anna, he faces his feelings about Anna, his marriage, his current
Dec 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
As I lay here idly in the hospital, having just read Ms. Dubois' latest novel Cartwheel, the word viscous keeps coming to mind (for a few reasons): the immediacy of my situation that put me here (the viscous blood clots in my leg, and pulmonary embolism), the blood flowing out of "Katy Kellers" (Ms. Dubois' victim in Cartwheel), and Ms. Dubois' skilled storytelling (at times beautiful, but sticky; run-on sentences and thoughtful, sometimes overly-wrought ideas abound, adhere to the reader's atte ...more
Something about this seemed off to me and it never really clicked. I'm not sure if it's the characters and the fact that I never really engaged with them, or if it was the writing style, which seemed strangely passive. The only characters I really felt I gained any understanding about were Lily and Sebastien, while the motives and characteristics of the others felt a lot more vague, which is strange considering the novel was told through multiple points of views. Lily and Sebastien are both very ...more
Roger Brunyate
Aug 24, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: mysteries-kinda
Well-written, but fatally compromised

I must be one of the few people in America not to know about the Amanda Knox case, except that she was tried for the murder of her roommate, a fellow exchange student at the University of Perugia. Which ought to have been helpful, since Jennifer Dubois writes: "Although the themes of this book were loosely inspired by the story of Amanda Knox, this is entirely a work of fiction." So I was prepared to enjoy, unfettered, a story about another American exchange
Oct 08, 2013 rated it liked it

Right up front I have to say that I did not like this as much as her first novel, A Partial History of Lost Causes. I had signed up to discuss Cartwheel as part of an on-line book discussion so possibly I pushed myself to read it at a time not ideal for me. I felt annoyed while reading it.

I think that generally fictionalized accounts of real life events are not my favorite novels. Some are better than others but I can usually feel a certain constraint affecting authors I otherwise enjoy. Cartwhe
Regina Lindsey
Even though I know absolutely nothing about the Amanda Knox case, the author readily admits that the book is drawn from events surrounding it. Lily goes to Argenitina to study abroad and is eventually accused of murdering her roommate.

It normally takes me a bit to settle into a book, but I was gripped from the very first page. The author has a superb command of writing and the English language and developed an engaging narrative. The story is told in alternating timelines. At times you are readi
Aug 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
I received an advanced copy of Cartwheel by Jennifer Dubois from in exchange for my honest review.

Before Cartwheel even began, there was a disclaimer inserted that stated, "Although the themes of this book were loosely inspired by the story of Amanda Knox, this is entirely a work of fiction...." The word "loosely inspired by" would suggest to this reader that there were mild similarities, underlying feelings, lessons learned or themes of this story that remotely resembled, those
Cartwheel by Jennifer duBois opens with a disclaimer:

Although the themes of this book were loosely inspired by the story of Amanda Knox, this is entirely a work of fiction. None of the characters are real. None of the events ever happened. Nothing in the book should be read as a factual statement about real life events or people.

Lily Hayes, a 20-year-old college student at Middlebury College in Vermont, is spending a semester abroad in Buenos Aires. She is immediately taken by her new surroundi
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Play Book Tag: Cartwheel by Jennifer duBois - 5 Stars 2 10 Aug 26, 2019 02:11PM  
Similar Works??? 1 35 Feb 19, 2014 11:18AM  

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Jennifer duBois is the recipient of a 2013 Whiting Writer’s Award and a 2012 National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 award. Her debut novel, A Partial History of Lost Causes, was the winner of the California Book Award for First Fiction and the Northern California Book Award for Fiction, and was a finalist for the PEN/Hemingway Prize for Debut Fiction. Jennifer earned a B.A. in political science and p ...more

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