Reviewed by Jasmine Sov, age 17

Three Drops of Blood by Gretchen McNeil

When a behind-the-scenes scandal derails 17-year-old Kate’s acting career, she’s determined to get back on track. But it’s not that easy—she’s implicated in the scandal, her agent only sends her out for stereotypical “fat girl” parts, and her parents insist that she start paying rent to prove that she doesn’t have to go to college and can support herself as a professional actress. To pay her rent, Kate takes a tedious office job at her friend’s family law firm. There, she files papers and distracts herself by watching the people in the next building over. At first, it’s amusing—she sees an executive and her assistant having a passionate affair. But then the affair becomes a double murder, with Kate as the only witness. No one will believe her without bodies or evidence, so she decides to find clues herself. Can Kate bring the truth to light, or will she be the murderer’s next target?

“Three Drops of Blood” advertises itself as a “voyeuristic thriller filled with twists and turns”, but it does not live up to its claims. The first half of the book is more of a coming-of-age novel that focuses on Kate’s acting career and conflicts with her parents, agent and another young actress. Kate’s determination to make it in Hollywood was interesting to read about, especially when it affected her relationships with those around her. However, these plot points wane around the middle, when the story abruptly shifts to a dark, fast-paced thriller. From then on, Kate’s acting pursuits are lost in a convoluted race to find evidence and not get killed. The murder plot ends up having a link to the earlier chapters, but the connection felt weak and contrived. “Three Drops of Blood” shows promise with its realistic fiction half, but fails to deliver with its own genre.

1.5 stars

Find this book in our catalog: Three Drops of Blood

Catalog Number: YA M MCNEIL,G

336 pages