ABROAD by Katie Crouch

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A year in Italy as part of the renowned Enteria program offers Tabitha Deacon her first opportunity for adventure. A smart girl who’s had relatively little experience of the world, she approaches her year abroad with careful attention and focus. But that doesn’t mean she won’t have time for fun. Taz joins up with a group of three other students from the UK and suddenly has an in to every elite party and club in Grifonia. For the young twenty-something it’s a dream come true in every way – until it ends in tragedy.

Katie Crouch freely admits that Abroad is inspired by the Amanda Knox case. Inspired by being the key – Abroad is not a fictionalized version of the case. Taz’s story is very much Crouch’s own creation, but her various essays and articles on the case do provide interesting insight into the shape Abroad would eventually take.

The story unfolds through Taz’s eyes, told after her own death. As her tale hurdles to its dreadful conclusion, Crouch introduces various other murdered girls throughout Grifonia’s history. Their stories and the history of the city provide a unique framework, further setting the story apart from its true inspiration.

I thought Abroad was a bit unnerving – it stuck with me well after turning the final page. And yet I have to say it was brilliantly paced and excellently executed. A definite favorite of mine for the year.

8/14 Becky Lejeune

ABROAD by Katie Crouch. Sarah Crichton Books (June 17, 2014). ISBN 978-0374100360. 304p.

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