Murder for the Modern Girl

- Kendall Kulper

Goodreads Book Blurb:

A ravishing young mind reader stalks the streets at night in kitten heels, prowling for men to murder.

A soft-spoken genius toils away in the city morgue, desperate to unearth the science behind his gift for shapeshifting.

It’s a match made in 1928 Chicago, where gangsters run City Hall, jazz fills the air, and every good girl’s purse conceals a flask.

Until now, eighteen-year-old Ruby’s penchant for poison has been a secret. No one knows that she uses her mind-reading abilities to target men who prey on vulnerable women, men who escape the clutches of Chicago “justice.” When she meets a brilliant boy working at the morgue, his knack for forensic detail threatens to uncover her dark hobby. Even more unfortunately: sharp, independent Ruby has fallen in love with him.


My Review:

***Thanks to NetGalley and Holiday House for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided.

enjoyable/easy to read:
Murder for the Modern Girl will drag you back to the 1920s from the first page. I had no idea what to expect here – every new development was another surprise.

I couldn't help dancing down the sidewalk, knowing I looked perfect for tonight's party: fresh and pretty and glowing with a mysterious kind of something that would send the fellas gathering like moths to a candle. I grinned.
Honestly, murder worked better than mascara.

If any character could be said to contain multitudes, it is most certainly Ruby. Overenthusiastic flapper, highly intelligent and driven future lawyer, and… mind-reading murderer? Now, I’m not advocating for murder, but I am all for a woman standing up for herself. I love how Ruby educates herself and learns about poisons and weapons to protect herself. Maybe don’t take the next step into active murder, but self-defence is always reasonable.

Keep your head down. Work ten times harder. Be better than them every chance you get, and don't expect anyone to notice. You'll have to be smart and charming and humble and confident and everything all the time, all at once. Remember that other gals aren't your competition, they're your allies. Stick to them like glue, support them - you're stronger together. And don't pay any attention to the bastards dragging you down. Believe me, there will be plenty. None of them are smarter than you, even the smart ones.

Murder for the Modern Girl does come on pretty strong with the ’20s slang; it can be a little heavy-handed, but it goes along hand in hand with Ruby’s personality. There aren’t many characters that could pull it off without being obnoxious, but Kulper made it work. The fantasy twist was interesting but did take me out of the story at times. Because everything else feels so real, the mindreading and face changing can feel extraneous. Despite this, the narrative is fast-paced, and the intensity stays high throughout most of the story. There are some terrifying villains here – both on the crazy end of the scale and the cool, collected psychopathic end, keeping the danger levels surprisingly high and feeling incredibly genuine.

My favourite part of Murder for the Modern Girl is the care with which these characters hold space for each other. Maggie is the sweetest heiress alive – even her thoughts are nothing but kind (and Ruby would know). Supportive and protective, their friendship is beautiful. When Ruby starts getting to know her mysterious chameleon man, they quickly fall into sync, like two vigilante crime fighters genetically designed to work together. They’re both holding back some pretty big secrets (and fears), and while there may have been ulterior motives at first, a sweet and intense relationship develops between them.

It wouldn't do me any good to fall for this kind-souled boy with honest eyes

For a fun and surprisingly complex narrative, look no further than Murder for the Modern Girl.

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