Title: We Were Kings
Author: Court Stevens
Genre: YA Contemporary / Mystery / Thriller
Publication Date: February 1st, 2022
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
“Twenty years ago, eighteen-year-old Francis Quick was convicted of murdering her best friend Cora King and sentenced to death. Now the highly debated Accelerated Death Penalty Act passes and gives Frankie thirty final days to live. From the Kings’ own family rises up the one who will challenge the woefully inadequate evidence and potential innocence of Francis Quick.
The at-first reluctant and soon-fiery Nyla and her sidekick (and handsome country island boy), Sam Stack, bring Frankie’s case to the international stage through her YouTube channel Death Daze. They step into fame and a hometown battle that someone’s still willing to kill over. The senator? The philanthropist? The pawn shop owner? Nyla’s own mother?
Best advice: Don’t go to family dinner with the Kings. More people will leave the dining room in body bags than on their own two feet. And as for Francis Quick, she’s a gem . . . even if she’s guilty.” (Goodreads)
It’s been a minute since I’ve been invested in a YA Mystery / Thriller as much as I was when it came to this book right here! Seriously, it was so good and when I wasn’t reading about it I was thinking about it. I mean, I did finish this in one day and probably two sittings within that day. If I could wipe my brain and read this book again, I would.
The book is told from one perspective and it comes from Nyla Wagner. She is aware of the murder of Cora King as her mom visits Frankie Quick, the one found guilty of it, in prison for the past twenty years but doesn’t realize how close it actually hits. I liked Nyla and that no matter the danger she was ready to defend Frankie more than anyone has ever tried to in the past. You could say this is stupid on her part since she gets death threats and so on but she was determined to find evidence and prove her innocent especially because Frankie didn’t have time with the accelerated death penalty act. She did play with fire a lot when it came to the Kings because that family is something else!
I was intrigued by a lot of the other characters as well since it felt like they were all hiding something. This made it easy to question anyone and everyone. There were certain lies that were told by a couple to keep Nyla safe but it goes to show that even good intentions have their consequences. If I had to pick a favorite character besides Nyla, I would go with Cassandra King. She was sassy and didn’t care about starting drama in the family and got a kick out of it, ha.
My only complaint in this entire book would be relationship development between Nyla and Sam. It moved rather quickly from flirting to having feelings for each other in a short amount of time. I do get it though since they are teens. Since it is a smaller part of the book it was easy to overlook and it’s not like I didn’t like them together. It just felt sudden.
When it comes to the plot, I honestly can’t say much! It would give a lot away and this is one of those books where you should go in blind like I did. I was smiling, shocked, and even crying throughout this book. It was a wild roller coaster ride and I wouldn’t have it any other way when it comes to books like this. I will say that it does talk about suicide so just be aware of that if it triggers you in any way. The plot also covers other topics like the death penalty, drug abuse/addiction, and another important one but it would veer into spoiler zone! I liked how these topics were discussed especially the death penalty because it has been a topic in the political world for many years.
The setting was cool for me since a lot of it was in Kentucky and surrounding states that I have been to as well as live near. It’s always fun to pick up a book that mentions actual towns or cities that you know!
Overall, this was a really great read and one that I absolutely enjoyed. It had my heart pumping in anticipation as to what would happen next and if Nyla would have enough time to stop the execution. If you are a fan of YA Mystery/Thrillers I would give this one a try! I don’t think you will be disappointed.