The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

Reviewed by Cassidy Hammel (Library Staff)

This is the story of an inseparable group of kids who invent a way to communicate with one another by leaving chalk signals only they understand on driveways, trees and fence posts. Someone hijacks their idea and uses the symbols to lead the kids to locations in a wooded forest where they discover pieces of a body. The narrative jumps from the past, where the children reveal how they discovered the body, to the present, where the remaining friends have all gone their separate ways and are being toyed with by someone leaving chalk signals, someone unwilling to let them forget.
I heard a lot of hype about this book and while the core idea is intriguing, the novel reads far more melancholy than mysterious. It elaborates on the reasons the group of friends slowly dwindles and dissolves- family drama and death. The few remaining friends become acquaintances, rooted to their hometown by parents suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The friends lose one other and then watch their parents lose them too. I’ll admit, I did finish the book to find out who was responsible for the murder that rippled through everyone’s lives but it is not a book I would recommend taking with you on vacation. This is Tudor’s first novel and I do not plan to pursue more from her unless I want to be horrified, not by a spellbinding mystery, but by the way life can break people apart.
Available through the Bridges Library System

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