Twisty as your fave true crime podcast and full of hard questions about power—this is no ordinary boarding school tale.
Good to know
A successful film professor and podcaster, Bodie Kane is content to forget her past—the family tragedy that marred her adolescence, her four largely miserable years at a New Hampshire boarding school, and the murder of her former roommate, Thalia Keith, in the spring of their senior year. Though the circumstances surrounding Thalia’s death and the conviction of the school’s athletic trainer, Omar Evans, are hotly debated online, Bodie prefers—needs—to let sleeping dogs lie.
But when the Granby School invites her back to teach a course, Bodie is inexorably drawn to the case and its increasingly apparent ﬂaws. In their rush to convict Omar, did the school and the police overlook other suspects? Is the real killer still out there? As she falls down the very rabbit hole she was so determined to avoid, Bodie begins to wonder if she wasn’t as much of an outsider at Granby as she’d thought—if, perhaps, back in 1995, she knew something that might have held the key to solving the case.
I Have Some Questions for You
“You’ve heard of her,” I say—a challenge, an assurance. To the woman on the neighboring hotel barstool who’s made the mistake of striking up a conversation, to the dentist who runs out of questions about my kids and asks what I’ve been up to myself.
Sometimes they know her right away. Sometimes they ask, “Wasn’t that the one where the guy kept her in the basement?”
No! No. It was not.
Wasn’t it the one where she was stabbed in—no. The one where she got in a cab with—different girl. The one where she went to the frat party, the one where he used a stick, the one where he used a hammer, the one where she picked him up from rehab and he—no. The one where he’d been watching her jog every day? The one where she made the mistake of telling him her period was late? The one with the uncle? Wait, the other one with the uncle?
No: It was the one with the swimming pool. The one with the alcohol in the—with her hair around—with the guy who confessed to—right. Yes.
They nod, comforted. By what?
My barstool neighbor pulls the celery from her Bloody Mary, crunches down. My dentist asks me to rinse. They work her name in their mouths, their memories. “I definitely know that one,” they say.
“That one,” because what is she now but a story, a story to know or not know, a story with a limited set of details, a story to master by memorizing maps and timelines.
“The one from the boarding school!” they say. “I remember, the one from the video. You knew her?”
She’s the one whose photo pops up if you search New Hampshire murder, alongside mug shots from the meth-addled tragedies of more recent years. One photo—her laughing with her mouth but not her eyes, suggesting some deep unhappiness—tends to feature in clickbait. It’s just a cropped shot of the tennis team from the yearbook; if you knew Thalia it’s easy to see she wasn’t actually upset, was simply smiling for the camera when she didn’t feel like it.
It was the story that got told and retold.
It was the one where she was young enough and white enough and pretty enough and rich enough that people paid attention.
It was the one where we were all young enough to think someone smarter had the answers.
Maybe it was the one we got wrong.
Maybe it was the one we all, collectively, each bearing only the weight of a feather, got wrong.
Why I love it
BOTM Editorial Team
I love books that don’t fit neatly into any one box. Rebecca Makkai’s latest, I Have Some Questions for You, is the perfect example of this. Part prep school takedown, part mystery, part personal reckoning, this novel has a strong emotional throughline paired with a gripping plot that keeps the pages turning.
Decades after graduating from her elite New England boarding school, Bodie Kane is invited back to campus to teach a class. Now in her 40s and successful in her own right, Bodie still has complicated feelings about her adolescence. The catty comments and thinly veiled racism were hard enough to stomach, but the Granby School had an even darker undercurrent that still haunts its halls: the murder of a young girl. A man was convicted back in 1995, shortly after Thalia’s death, but the more time Bodie spends at the scene of the crime, the more she becomes convinced this story is not as simple as it appears.
I am a sucker for boarding school novels—the idyllic, tree-lined settings, the toxic female friendships, the first loves and losses heightened by surging hormones. Rebecca Makkai has taken this much-adored trope to the next level, into something bigger and darker and more profound. This is a book about time—how it heals wounds, how it offers insights, how it fundamentally changes us. And this book will change you, too.
Member ratings (4,701)
San Francisco, CA
I had a hard time putting this book down. While I found its point of view confusing at times and its verbose prose a bit distracting, I really sunk into the plot, characters and setting. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️1/2
Palm City, FL
I’m not sure I loved the “mystery” aspect of the book but I was entirely enthralled with the way the story weaves in toxic victim blaming culture. ❤️ the writing, imagery & flow of the story telling
A character-driven literary mystery with social issues at its center. I know a slow burn isn’t for everyone, but in my book, Makkai nailed it! Rich characters, fascinating setting, well-written. LOVED
I love books set in a theme of returning to high school & the different people we were then. This is a very well written examination of a murder that changed the lives of the protagonist’s class 4ever
LOVED. The kind of book I couldn't wait to get back to. Memory, MeToo, false incarceration, violence against women, cancel culture- Makkai has some questions for all of us, & there are no easy answers