ARC Review || The Row by J.R. Johansson

the-row

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Title: The Row
Author: J.R. Johansson
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Mystery
Edition: eARC Kindle (352 pages)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Oct. 11, 2016)
Date Read: 12/15/2016

Goodreads || Amazon || Book Depository


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Seventeen-year-old Riley Beckett is no stranger to prison. Her father is a convicted serial killer on death row who has always maintained that he was falsely accused. Riley has never missed a single visit with her father. She wholeheartedly believes that he is innocent.

Then, a month before the execution date, Riley’s world is rocked when, in an attempt to help her move on, her father secretly confesses to her that he actually did carry out the murders. He takes it back almost immediately, but she can’t forget what he’s told her. Determined to uncover the truth for her own sake, she discovers something that will forever change everything she’s believed about the family she loves.


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As some of you know, I enjoy a good mystery thriller… which is why I requested this bad boy from NetGalley as soon as I saw it was available. And boy, am I glad I did! This standalone novel delivered on so many levels, and I was blown away by just how good it really was.

Imagine if someone you loved was on death row for a crime they did not commit. What would you do? How would you feel? This story had me asking myself these exact questions. I really couldn’t contemplate what that would be like, and it was so interesting to see how Riley handled this situation. Especially when her father ends up confessing to the crimes. What then? Her whole world is shattered, that’s what. The emotion in this novel just bled straight through the pages.

Although the book is categorized as Young Adult, I felt that it was less YA’ish than the usual YA novels I read. Yes, our main character is 17 years old, but she seemed much older to me. More mature, I guess you could say. And since lately I’ve felt as if I’m getting burnt out on YA, that’s one of the things I loved about the book.

“How many times can you lie to someone you love before everything you share becomes the lie?”

One thing that bothered me was the relationship between Riley and Jordan. It seemed a bit cliche to me. Death row inmate’s daughter falls for the son of the detective who put her Daddy away? I don’t know. It just didn’t seem to work for me, even though I really did like Jordan’s character. He was such a sweetheart and never judged Riley for the things her father had been accused of. But… I feel like I’d have enjoyed it more had they remained good friends, if that.

On to the ending… Holy moly, what a turn of events! With the flip of each page I was caught up in trying to figure this whole thing out, and guess what? I didn’t. I never could figure it out. And that right there makes for a great mystery.

*I was provided an eARC of this book by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Rating: untitled-design-13

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34 thoughts on “ARC Review || The Row by J.R. Johansson

  1. Your review has left me wanting to read this as always. It was on my radar (did you maybe mention it in an earlier post I believe). Although I am concerned that you never figured it out. Sometimes this works for me and sometimes it frustrates the heck out of me haha ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent review Megan! I’ve haven’t seen this one before. I can’t imagine having a family member on death row for a crime they didn’t commit. Unfortunately, before things like DNA testing and forensics, it probably happened more than we would think.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really really like the sound of this book. You did your last Standalone Sunday on it, didn’t you? I remember adding it to my TBR. I’ll have to try to get around to it when I get the chance because I’ve definitely not read enough great mystery novels. Great review as always, Megan! 😊💕

    Liked by 1 person

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