We picked They’ll Never Catch Us for our October Book Club because of its spooky vibes. Plus, we enjoyed Goodman’s debut YA book They Wish They Were Us last year.
What made this discussion so fun was that two members of our book club did cross country in high school and college!
Despite being only a year apart, Stella and Ellie Steckler have almost nothing in common. Well, except for cross country. But Stella has made running her whole life, while Ellie still wants to make friends and have a good time.
When new girl Mila Keene move to Edgewater, Stella and Ellie get a rude awakening. Not only is Mila the fastest on the team, she’s also popular. But not with someone. Edgewater turns upside-down when Mila goes missing on her early morning run. Years ago, a few cross country girls all went missing and were found dead. The town is on high alert for a return of the same serial killer, or at least a copycat.
All eyes are on the “weird” Steckler sisters, since they had the most to lose from having Mila on the team. Can Ellie and Stella trust each other long enough to clear their own names or is it best to leave everything in the past?
1. What was your initial reaction to the book? Did it hook you immediately, or take some time to get into?
We all agreed that the plot hooked us immediately. We’re introduced to two very different sisters with a complex family dynamic. Cross country has become everything to them because it’s their ticket out of a their small town in the Catskills mountains.
We could tell from the beginning that most of the characters were morally gray and that had us excited about the dark plot.
2. Which character did you relate to the most, and what was it about them that you connected with?
We were split 50/50 on who we related to the most. Everyone picked either Stella or Ellie instead of any of the supporting characters. The people who ran cross country chose Stella, because her passion and drive were relatable. Even though they said she was more intense, they admired her desire to be the best.
Everyone else chose Ellie, who found her more relatable because she didn’t make cross country her entire life. She showed her emotions and had to deal with a lot of crap from people. Despite that, she became a stronger person and learned a lot about herself, and others, along the way.
3. How credible/believable did you find the narrator to be? Did you feel like you got the ‘true’ story?
One of the best aspects of They’ll Never Catch Us was the dual POV. The narrators weren’t always reliable, which made this murder mystery more enjoyable. While we finally got the real story, it took until the last 1/3 of the book for the narrators to start being honest with themselves and each other. Goodman did dual POVs extremely well and gave each sister a unique voice.
4. How did you feel about the ending? What did you like, what did you not like, and what do you wish had been different?
When we found out the twisty end of the murder mystery, we thought it was done well. There were multiple people involved in a way and some were more surprising than others.
However, unfortunately Goodman did not tie up a really important loose end. We’re pretty sure this book will remain a standalone, yet she never talked about an important aspect of the mystery near the end. We need answers!
As for the very last chapter, we were so happy at how the girls acted. It showed how far they came together. We do think there needed to be one last short chapter to find out Stella and Ellie’s next steps.