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Inspired by a true story, this haunting debut novel pieces together a chorus of voices to explore the aftermath of a college student's death. On a cold day in 1997, student Sara Morgan was killed in the woods surrounding her liberal arts college in upstate New York. Her boyfriend, Blake Campbell, confessed, his plea of temporary insanity raising more questions than it answe Inspired by a true story, this haunting debut novel pieces together a chorus of voices to explore the aftermath of a college student's death. On a cold day in 1997, student Sara Morgan was killed in the woods surrounding her liberal arts college in upstate New York. Her boyfriend, Blake Campbell, confessed, his plea of temporary insanity raising more questions than it answered. In the wake of his acquittal, the case comes to haunt a strange and surprising network of community members, from the young woman who discovers Sara's body to the junior reporter who senses its connection to convicted local serial killer John Logan. Others are looking for retribution or explanation: Sara's half sister, stifled by her family's bereft silence about Blake, poses as a babysitter and seeks out her own form of justice, while the teenager Sara used to babysit starts writing to Logan in prison. A propulsive, taut tale of voyeurism and obsession, Nothing Can Hurt You dares to examine gendered violence not as an anomaly, but as the very core of everyday life. Tracing the concentric circles of violence rippling out from Sara's murder, Nicole Maye Goldberg masterfully conducts an unforgettable chorus of disparate voices.


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Inspired by a true story, this haunting debut novel pieces together a chorus of voices to explore the aftermath of a college student's death. On a cold day in 1997, student Sara Morgan was killed in the woods surrounding her liberal arts college in upstate New York. Her boyfriend, Blake Campbell, confessed, his plea of temporary insanity raising more questions than it answe Inspired by a true story, this haunting debut novel pieces together a chorus of voices to explore the aftermath of a college student's death. On a cold day in 1997, student Sara Morgan was killed in the woods surrounding her liberal arts college in upstate New York. Her boyfriend, Blake Campbell, confessed, his plea of temporary insanity raising more questions than it answered. In the wake of his acquittal, the case comes to haunt a strange and surprising network of community members, from the young woman who discovers Sara's body to the junior reporter who senses its connection to convicted local serial killer John Logan. Others are looking for retribution or explanation: Sara's half sister, stifled by her family's bereft silence about Blake, poses as a babysitter and seeks out her own form of justice, while the teenager Sara used to babysit starts writing to Logan in prison. A propulsive, taut tale of voyeurism and obsession, Nothing Can Hurt You dares to examine gendered violence not as an anomaly, but as the very core of everyday life. Tracing the concentric circles of violence rippling out from Sara's murder, Nicole Maye Goldberg masterfully conducts an unforgettable chorus of disparate voices.

30 review for Nothing Can Hurt You

  1. 5 out of 5

    Elyse Walters

    A college student was murdered by her boyfriend, a schizophrenic whose friend said that they had done acid together the day the girlfriend went missing. The boys lawyer pushed for a not guilty by reason of a temporary insanity. The defense said he was having a psychotic episode and didn’t know what he was doing. Sara Rose Morgan, was found dead after two days, in the woods. Her throat cut so deeply she was nearly decapitated. Blake Campbell, came from a nice family. He had an expensive lawyer... A college student was murdered by her boyfriend, a schizophrenic whose friend said that they had done acid together the day the girlfriend went missing. The boys lawyer pushed for a not guilty by reason of a temporary insanity. The defense said he was having a psychotic episode and didn’t know what he was doing. Sara Rose Morgan, was found dead after two days, in the woods. Her throat cut so deeply she was nearly decapitated. Blake Campbell, came from a nice family. He had an expensive lawyer....( hard not to feel prejudice against him). Sara was dead. Blake killed her. The court appointed psychiatrist said that Blake was ‘severely’ schizophrenic.... that he heard voices from gods and gurus. He had no prior history of violence. Blake didn’t go to prison. There’s something very ‘different’ about this book.( novel?, true crime?, with changed names?).... Maybe it’s because I went in blind.... but every single sentence kept me curious. I don’t mean to be crass... but people are murdered every day. But I don’t read about them every day. I got the feeling that ‘everyone’ associated with Sara or Blake.... ( one or the other or both), would always be unsettled. We learn of others killed - others abused - and meet the community who were affected, traumatized, and even infatuated with Blake and Sara. There is something about this book... so incredibly intoxicating and startling...I never wanted a break from reading it....., and.... ITS CREEPY in parts. The dialogue was so close to my face... ...if it was any closer it would’ve bit me in the ass. It’s HAUNTING... ...sent me to google wanting to know more about the true story... but... funny how that won’t work when you type in fiction names. Thank you Netgalley, Bloomsbury, and Nicola Maye Goldberg

  2. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    This is a unique book which was inspired by a true story that shows the aftermath of a college students murder. The book shows how the murder affected those who knew her, knew her boyfriend who killed her, and those in the community ranging from the woman who found her body to the journalist who senses a connection between her murder and a local convicted serial killer. Sara Morgan was killed on a cold winter’s day in 1997. Her body was found two days later. Her boyfriend, Blake Campbell, confess This is a unique book which was inspired by a true story that shows the aftermath of a college students murder. The book shows how the murder affected those who knew her, knew her boyfriend who killed her, and those in the community ranging from the woman who found her body to the journalist who senses a connection between her murder and a local convicted serial killer. Sara Morgan was killed on a cold winter’s day in 1997. Her body was found two days later. Her boyfriend, Blake Campbell, confessed and plead temporary insanity. This book is told through multiple character's perspectives. This book jumps around and goes from one person to the next which may work for some and may be frustrating for others. I am solidly in the middle on this one. At times, this book frustrated me, at times it was confusing, at times I really enjoyed it. I did like how the Author showed how one person's murder can affect not only direct family members and friends but how it also affects individuals in the community. What is also interesting is that this book shows how people are affected by coming into contact with Blake as well. One thing that is confusing is how this book is classified. Having said that, I am not even sure what genre this book should be in. It is listed as Mystery &Thrillers/True crime (on NetGalley) but it really is not any of them IMO. Although inspired by a True Story - this book is not about the story it is inspired by. So, in my mind, it is not True Crime. Plus, we know who the killer is, there is no mystery, no suspense, no huge reveals, or twists and turns, etc. So, for me it is not really a mystery or suspenseful book either. It is a head scratcher. But it is unique. Either way, it kept my attention and did a good job showing the ripple effect of one woman's murder and how many were affected. But, I'm sorry Vogue.com, Gone Girl it is not! Why does every other book on the planet have to be the next Gone Girl?UGH! Let's let Gone Girl by Gone Girl and other books stand on their own merit for a change. Uniquely told, interesting premise which could have done with slightly less POV's and less jumping around. Plus, the title of this book had me singing Barbara Streisand's "Not While I'm around" (Nothing's gonna harm you, Not while I'm around, Nothing's gonna harm you,No sir, not while I'm around). Word association and all that. I received a copy of this book from Bloomsbury USA and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ceecee

    This novel centres around the murder of Sara Morgan in 1997 by her boyfriend Blake Campbell during a schizophrenic episode. Although Blake is charged with her murder he is found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity. This book takes a different path from most books that surround a murder as it looks at a number of different characters affected to a greater or lesser degree. Thus it’s hard to categorise as it’s atypical and is more of a social commentary on the ripple effects of a terrible event rathe This novel centres around the murder of Sara Morgan in 1997 by her boyfriend Blake Campbell during a schizophrenic episode. Although Blake is charged with her murder he is found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity. This book takes a different path from most books that surround a murder as it looks at a number of different characters affected to a greater or lesser degree. Thus it’s hard to categorise as it’s atypical and is more of a social commentary on the ripple effects of a terrible event rather than a thriller or crime novel which makes it very interesting. However, there are multiple points of view and it jumps from character to character so jotting down who is who is very helpful! I hasten to add that is not a negative comment as I think this is a clever book. It’s character driven and peers into the heart and soul of a crime. I really like how Sara is portrayed as a person rather than a victim and we really get to ‘see’ her. We can understand how a murder impacts on family members and friends who continue to ‘see’ her everywhere and she remains an constant in their lives. Taking this direction and slant allows us to see how lives are blighted and change irrevocably. This is a well written book and has a good pace. Overall, this is a fascinating theme and a good read and it’s worth sticking with the multiple perspectives as it’s very illuminating. With thanks to NetGalley and Bloomsbury Press for the ARC

  4. 4 out of 5

    Marialyce

    2.5 stars Quirky, jumpy, and not always sure where I was or who I was reading about, was how I initially felt about this story. However, I didn't give up and felt it had quite a different look into the death of a young college girl. It took me a bit to get into the story for all the aforementioned reasons, but when I did it felt like the ripples ones sees in the water after you throw a pebble into it. The death of one, like the butterfly's beat of its wings affects many, leaves some forever chang 2.5 stars Quirky, jumpy, and not always sure where I was or who I was reading about, was how I initially felt about this story. However, I didn't give up and felt it had quite a different look into the death of a young college girl. It took me a bit to get into the story for all the aforementioned reasons, but when I did it felt like the ripples ones sees in the water after you throw a pebble into it. The death of one, like the butterfly's beat of its wings affects many, leaves some forever changed, and allows others to continue with life that is altered and adjusted. Sara Morgan killed by her boyfriend, Blake, in a psychotic episode, leaves a hole in many people's lives. From the person who discovered her body to Sara's half sister, we learn about what enters and seems to find residence in their thoughts and minds. The boyfriend, Blake, after a stint in a mental institution, is freed and goes onto live a life that was denied to Sara. He does become a focus in the life of two of the characters and there is also a tie in to a serial killer named John Logan. Confusing at times, frustrating as well, but somehow there was a thread of an allure to this new author's story. Thank you to Nicola Maye Goldberg, Bloomsbury Publishing, and NetGalley for a copy of this story due out June 23, 2020

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

    My interest was piqued in this title because it was true crime, a genre which I enjoy reading. This, however, is fiction. It states right in the beginning. "Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental." Regardless, this kept my attention from start to finish. The murder of a college student by her boyfriend made headlines when he was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Like ripples in the water after a stone hits the surface, the loss is far reac My interest was piqued in this title because it was true crime, a genre which I enjoy reading. This, however, is fiction. It states right in the beginning. "Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental." Regardless, this kept my attention from start to finish. The murder of a college student by her boyfriend made headlines when he was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Like ripples in the water after a stone hits the surface, the loss is far reaching. The author weaves the stories of all those impacted and the relation to Sarah, the deceased. The cast of characters is many and I found myself going back several times to remind myself of the connection some characters had. But overall, this was a good, fast paced read. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, Bloomsbury.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Valerity (Val)

    This started out sounding like it was going to be a good story. Maybe I should stick to strictly non-fiction, because I got lost in all of the characters and never quite got back to knowing what was what from that point on. I understood the basic story about the college student who was killed by her boyfriend. Then there’s the newspaper reporter who felt it might have something to do with the serial killer of several women. But the melange of characters rotate so much that I couldn’t keep up, un This started out sounding like it was going to be a good story. Maybe I should stick to strictly non-fiction, because I got lost in all of the characters and never quite got back to knowing what was what from that point on. I understood the basic story about the college student who was killed by her boyfriend. Then there’s the newspaper reporter who felt it might have something to do with the serial killer of several women. But the melange of characters rotate so much that I couldn’t keep up, until I'd wasted a lot of time, and then it was time to switch to another character again. I read this mostly in one day, so it's not like I dragged it out over weeks and lost the thread of the story or the characters. It just felt like too many balls juggling in the air at one time to me. I’m staying away from fiction with my crime. Just the facts, Ma’am, from now on. Advanced electronic review copy was provided by NetGalley, author Nicola Maye Goldberg, and Bloomsbury Publishing.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Linda Strong

    Inspired by a true story, this is the tale of a young college student, Sara Morgan, who was murdered by her boyfriend, Blake Campbell. Ultimately he is found not guilty as he was high on drugs and alcohol, his plea of temporary insanity leaving more questions than not. This murder affected many others .. not only her friends and family, but also the person who found her body .... Sara's half sister, a local reporter who believes there were more deaths in Blake's wake .... a teenager Sara babysat Inspired by a true story, this is the tale of a young college student, Sara Morgan, who was murdered by her boyfriend, Blake Campbell. Ultimately he is found not guilty as he was high on drugs and alcohol, his plea of temporary insanity leaving more questions than not. This murder affected many others .. not only her friends and family, but also the person who found her body .... Sara's half sister, a local reporter who believes there were more deaths in Blake's wake .... a teenager Sara babysat at one time... and many, many more. And therein lies the problem I had with this book. The concept is a good one... it's a story of love and loss, murder, violence. But there are SO many characters speaking out, the story is lost among their voices. It was difficult to follow, and frankly, I just lost interest. Many thanks to the author / Bloomsbury Publishing / Netgalley for the digital copy of this crime fiction/psychological thriller. Read and reviewed voluntarily, opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This novel is based on a real crime, and is a truly haunting exploration of what the death of a young college student, Sara Morgan, has on everyone connected to the event. Sara is killed by her boyfriend, Blake. Blake later claims he can remember nothing of the events surrounding Sara’s death and, having been on drugs at the time, is found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity. Although this is really a series of inter-connected characters, and events, it reads very much as a whole and compl This novel is based on a real crime, and is a truly haunting exploration of what the death of a young college student, Sara Morgan, has on everyone connected to the event. Sara is killed by her boyfriend, Blake. Blake later claims he can remember nothing of the events surrounding Sara’s death and, having been on drugs at the time, is found not guilty by reason of temporary insanity. Although this is really a series of inter-connected characters, and events, it reads very much as a whole and complete novel, which is quite difficult to pull off. We read of the repercussions of the murder from those who were very close to either Sara or Blake – Sara’s mother, Blake’s sister. There are also those who recall very little, but feel the presence of both Sara, and what happened, as a huge presence in their life – such as Sara’s half-sister, just a toddler at the time, or the young girl that Sara babysit for. Other characters are really on the periphery of events – a town sheriff who knows Sara’s mother, the woman who finds Sara’s body – but whose lives intersect with the aftermath of the murder. Alongside Sara’s storyline, is that of a serial killer, arrested at almost the same time of Blake. Logan is found guilty of the murder of six women, one whose name is dropped neatly into the first chapter, for us to shockingly discover as a victim later in the book. Indeed, one of the creepiest sections of this novel are a series of letters between a young girl, connected with Sara, who begins to correspond with Logan in prison. It is difficult to say that you enjoyed a book, written about such a troubling subject, but I thought this was thought provoking and well written. Goldberg shows how easily those who purport to love, can hurt. How being touched by tragedy leads people to question themselves, or the behaviour of those around them. How it is a constant presence, or a troubling empty space – unresolved and tragic. I think this would be an excellent choice for book groups, with much to discuss. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    A very different kind of read. There are murders, one a serial killer who has had many victims, the other a young woman killed by her boyfriend. One is jailed and one set free after a short stint in a mental institution. So these murders are at the center of the story, but outside the center life carries on in one way or another. Many tell their stories, people who are affected by the violence, family members, friends, etc. The murders are ever present but the focus is on what happens after. A la A very different kind of read. There are murders, one a serial killer who has had many victims, the other a young woman killed by her boyfriend. One is jailed and one set free after a short stint in a mental institution. So these murders are at the center of the story, but outside the center life carries on in one way or another. Many tell their stories, people who are affected by the violence, family members, friends, etc. The murders are ever present but the focus is on what happens after. A large challenge for a debut novel, and the crime novel presented in an original manner. How the victims names are hardly remembered, but the killers seldom forgotten. So very true, in most cases. Makes for very interesting reading, and I was drawn into this. Sometimes I couldn't quite figure where it was going, but by books end I thought, how amazingly clever. After one finishes reading and puts it all together, it becomes apparent that not only hs the author succeeded in her endeavor but that she has written something that is totally new and original. ARC by Netgalley.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kirsty

    Tender, brutal, beautiful. This book haunts me.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Rach

    Nothing Can Hurt You is based on a true story. Sara Morgan is killed and her boyfriend Blake Campbell confessions to the murder. He acquitted of the murder following a plea of temporary insanity. This book asks all kind of questions regarding Sara and Blake. Where they the happy couple they appeared to be, was Blake insanity plea right or was Blake acting all long. The book is told through multiply POV, all the POV had some part to play either in Sara or Blake’s life or investigating the crime. I Nothing Can Hurt You is based on a true story. Sara Morgan is killed and her boyfriend Blake Campbell confessions to the murder. He acquitted of the murder following a plea of temporary insanity. This book asks all kind of questions regarding Sara and Blake. Where they the happy couple they appeared to be, was Blake insanity plea right or was Blake acting all long. The book is told through multiply POV, all the POV had some part to play either in Sara or Blake’s life or investigating the crime. I was very confused who was who in this book as it kept skipping to another POV without being clear whose POV is was. Overall it was quick read showing how Sara and Blake affected people’s lives around them before and after the murder. I received a ARC from Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) for an objection review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sheena

    Happy release day! I thought that this being based off a true story would keep me hooked. What I got instead was a muddle of voices - there were way too many POVS and I ended up losing track of people. I wouldn’t really call this a mystery or thriller because we already knew who the killer was the entire time and even meet him in the beginning. It’s more about the effect murder can have on people but it was too hard to distinguish who was who. The different voices just kinda flowed into another Happy release day! I thought that this being based off a true story would keep me hooked. What I got instead was a muddle of voices - there were way too many POVS and I ended up losing track of people. I wouldn’t really call this a mystery or thriller because we already knew who the killer was the entire time and even meet him in the beginning. It’s more about the effect murder can have on people but it was too hard to distinguish who was who. The different voices just kinda flowed into another without any breaks. Once you get the hang of that, some people's perspectives were very interesting and heart breaking as well. This was a solid 2.5 stars - I realize my review seems negative but this wasn't a bad book at all. It's a pretty quick read as well. Thank you NetGalley and to the publisher for the advanced copy!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jay Dwight

    Not sure what I think of this one. Maybe I'm not smart enough to get the gist of its message. We have a murder at the centre of the story. Each chapter, all focusing on different females, covers the perspective of those impacted and haunted by the case. I thought it was all leading somewhere and wondering whether all the different narratives and time lines would link. After finishing it, I'm now wondering whether I missed something.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Donna Hines

    Unique Perspective! Inspired by a True Story that goes off the deep end.. This book had me loving and hating in both realms because it begins with the 1997 death of a college student but breaks off into those who found her, the journalists, the families involved, and the ultimate circle of violence. It's confusing with multiple character perspectives that results in a mixed bag of character jumping scenes. Obviously murders have a trickle down effect when it comes to who is unfortunately affected b Unique Perspective! Inspired by a True Story that goes off the deep end.. This book had me loving and hating in both realms because it begins with the 1997 death of a college student but breaks off into those who found her, the journalists, the families involved, and the ultimate circle of violence. It's confusing with multiple character perspectives that results in a mixed bag of character jumping scenes. Obviously murders have a trickle down effect when it comes to who is unfortunately affected by such sad outcomes. The author's categorization and genre also had me perplexed because it's based on a true story but operates based on an inspired story yet doesn't incorporate the story it's inspired by at all. So, the ending was even more bizarre with the person who was murdered Sara Morgan in a pool.... I suppose voyeurism, obsession, and the like isn't going to be everyone's cup of tea so be careful with this one if you're squeamish. The confession of Blake -her boyfriend- also is a mixed bag for me. All in all it was simply a good read that held my attention but didn't really give me much beyond what we already new. Thank you to Nicola, the pub, NetGalley, and Amazon Kindle for this ARC in exchange for this honest review.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    3.5 rounded up Nothing Can Hurt You is a wholly original novel centred on the murder of a young college student, Sara, who dies at the hands of her boyfriend when he's on LSD. But it's not a mystery/thriller like you might expect: we know who did it and (more or less) why; the book takes us on a journey of the fallout of the murder of a young woman with everything to give. Goldberg changes the focus of the story, chapter by chapter, following a different person (each with a link to the person of 3.5 rounded up Nothing Can Hurt You is a wholly original novel centred on the murder of a young college student, Sara, who dies at the hands of her boyfriend when he's on LSD. But it's not a mystery/thriller like you might expect: we know who did it and (more or less) why; the book takes us on a journey of the fallout of the murder of a young woman with everything to give. Goldberg changes the focus of the story, chapter by chapter, following a different person (each with a link to the person of the previous chapter) impacted by Sara's death, 12 characters in all. I didn't quite get that this was the scathing social commentary on the murder of/gendered violence against young women - sure, it had some small elements of that - but nevertheless it made for an engaging and pacy read. Thank you Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) for the advance copy, which was provided in exchange for an honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Abbie | ab_reads

    (#gifted @bloomsburypublishing) Nothing Can Hurt You, releasing in the UK in June, is marketed as a thriller on Goodreads, but I think those who go in looking for a breakneck thriller will be disappointed. There is a murder, and the book does move along at a swift pace, but it’s more of a character-driven novel that forces the reader to consider questions they might not want to think too closely about. . There’s a huge cast of characters, each chapter narrated by someone different. Goldberg has la (#gifted @bloomsburypublishing) Nothing Can Hurt You, releasing in the UK in June, is marketed as a thriller on Goodreads, but I think those who go in looking for a breakneck thriller will be disappointed. There is a murder, and the book does move along at a swift pace, but it’s more of a character-driven novel that forces the reader to consider questions they might not want to think too closely about. . There’s a huge cast of characters, each chapter narrated by someone different. Goldberg has laid out a lifetime’s worth of characters, but a lifetime cut short, all offering snapshots of lives before and after the murder of Sara Morgan. Some of them are tied to her by only the thinnest of threads, and some knew her intimately, but all of them come together to form a messy picture of one woman’s life and its tragic end. . I love the idea of exploring how one person can enter, however briefly, into the lives of so many others. If you think about yourself, even if you’ve got a small family, we all went to school with people, we all pick up coffee in our local café, we all buy food, and all those things link us, no matter how tenuously, to other human beings, all of whom have their own lives doing exactly the same thing. Every one of those people has a different recollection or memory or opinion of you. You’re not the same person to your mother, your best friend, your old babysitter and your ex-boyfriend’s sister. It’s mind-boggling when you think about it for a second. . There’s also some interesting commentary here on how murder victims, especially young women, are perceived. There’s always a tendency to promote them to sainthood in death, as if they’re only worthy of remembrance if they led perfect lives, which is obviously never the case. . Each chapter and each voice feels unique, which is very impressive as I often find multiple viewpoints can run the risk of blending together into one narrative voice. Not the case here. I definitely recommend for a dark and thoughtful ‘mystery’ with a difference.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Octavia (ReadsWithDogs)

    " [Doing a bad thing doesn't make you a bad person.] There must be a certain threshold of bad things that did in fact reflect on your character. It's just that no one was really qualified to make that call" Ugh, another book that suffers from being described and compared to Gone Girl. Nothing Can Hurt You is not a suspenseful fast paced Thriller. It is an intriguing literary look at what makes us interested in "bad people" and how a crime can ripple through an area and touch all sorts of lives. Th " [Doing a bad thing doesn't make you a bad person.] There must be a certain threshold of bad things that did in fact reflect on your character. It's just that no one was really qualified to make that call" Ugh, another book that suffers from being described and compared to Gone Girl. Nothing Can Hurt You is not a suspenseful fast paced Thriller. It is an intriguing literary look at what makes us interested in "bad people" and how a crime can ripple through an area and touch all sorts of lives. The writing is lyrical at parts, but the chapters jump around to different points of view without any lead up and that was confusing. I enjoyed this story, but it took me awhile to get used to the slow pacing when I was expecting a Thriller. 3

  18. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    **I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.** Book 25 of 2020 - Nothing Can Hurt You I don't really know what to say about this? I tentatively started it at lunchtime yesterday, thinking it was only okay and I'd slowly pick my way through it this week. I ended up reading the whole thing in one sitting. I want to say "basically" what this is about but it defies basic. It's multi-faceted and if you could taste a story, it would be sour and vaguely metallic. **I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.** Book 25 of 2020 - Nothing Can Hurt You I don't really know what to say about this? I tentatively started it at lunchtime yesterday, thinking it was only okay and I'd slowly pick my way through it this week. I ended up reading the whole thing in one sitting. I want to say "basically" what this is about but it defies basic. It's multi-faceted and if you could taste a story, it would be sour and vaguely metallic. This isn't a murder mystery, the author closes the case within the first few pages. Our victim is dead and there's no on-going investigation or disputes, we have the hard facts: Sara Morgan was killed by her boyfriend Blake Campbell, he cut her throat on a bad acid trip and confessed to everything. He was reportedly so out of it that he was granted a rare plea of temporary insanity. He does a mandatory stint in rehab centre, but that is the only form of incarceration he is subject to and when he's not in therapy he has full access to yoga, arts and crafts, and a pool. The narrative oscillates between an unlikely web of people on various rings of the system which Sara's murder centres. Some of them knew Sara personally in different ways: her college roommate Lizzie, Blake's best-friend at the time, or Blake's older sister who didn't quite like Sara, while some knew her tenuously or only posthumously, such as the girl she used to babysit, her half-sister who was a baby when she died, the journalist covering murder court cases or the housewife who discovers Sara's body. Some of the voices know one another, some not at all, but either way they are connected by some facet of the circumstances. Similarly the story focuses on the ripple effect of said circumstances: friends who are still unable to process Sara's brutal death and whether Blake's verdict was an injustice (he is as he says himself, a rich white boy) or a horrible tragedy (Blake and Sara by all accounts were very much in love). Others are more indirect: the girl Sara used to babysit writes to a serial killer who was arrested at the same time, to ask if he was really responsible even though he had an alibi, and the young girl continues to write to him, divulging her teenage insecurities, while a local police officer hires Sara's clairvoyant mother to assist in a missing child case, and although he has never met Sara, the grief radiating from her mother is so strong he cannot help but dwell on her. What I found interesting about this book is how it plays with not only the conventional reflections we expect from the circumstances, but how it dredges up the bizarre: Blake's college friend sees a woman on a flight who reminds him of Sara, and he reflects on how he might have seen signs of what was to come. He is angry at Blake for tainting what should have been golden college memories, but in every memory there is the indelible stain of what Blake did - but this is not the take away of his narrative. It's that the woman on the flight and his own girlfriend, in the same segment, challenge him on his belief that he is a "nice guy" and how self-centered he is, unable to engage with women beyond what he wants. Sara's now adult half-sister applies for a job as a babysitter for Blake's daughter, and when she is found out by Blake, their confrontation is hardly explosive or vengeful. In fact, it challenges the standard pattern of how we categorize and think about victims: "My father has never been angry with you. At least not as far as I know. I think it's..." I struggled for the right word and eventually settled on "perverse. He should want you dead. If it was me who was killed, I would want someone to avenge me. And if not my father, then who?" "No, you wouldn't." "What?" "You wouldn't want someone to avenge you if you were killed. You wouldn't want anything because you'd be dead." I didn't know what to say to that. "That's the awful paradox of it. We're all left trying to figure out what the dead person would want, and you can never really figure it out, because they're dead. And even if you did somehow figure it out, you couldn't give it to them.'" Nothing Can Hurt You plays around with our concepts of what is just and fair, if Blake was acquitted and he has shown remorse, what else can we expect? Is lifelong incarceration really justice (when he has grown-up in to a model citizen and lives with his actions every day) or is it just cold revenge? How can we know what Sara would want? As Lizzie notes, how can we say "Sara could have been" when she had no immediate direction, and all avenues closed to her the moment she died. Sara ceased as a possibility and the most likely truth is what insults our mob sensibilities: Sara would have married Blake. This whole book is a tangled yarn of narratives and ideas, with no overall objective because we cannot revive Sara and Blake's verdict, while discomforting, might have been apt. Directionless books can often frustrate me but I was entranced, there's hardly any decorative language here, no fistful of adjectives or clever metaphors, it's just concentrated narrative and it works so well. The synopsis emphasizes gender based violence, but aside from a liberal college vigil, this isn't really explored. The other emphasis is on obsession and voyeurism and I think Goldberg really excels at this. She skillfully dissects how how we parade murder victims in the cultural spotlight, à la Twin Peak's Laura Palmer, condemning the perpetrator and braying for our own concept of "justice" with the same breath that we consume true crime as a product. I think this is a really interesting perspective in the True Crime obsessed landscape, where TV shows, books and podcasts on the destruction of others are marketed consumer products. What an unexpected trip this book was.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bridgit Morgan

    Nothing Can Hurt You follows a wide cast of characters who are at least somewhat connected to the murder of a young student in the late 90's in upstate New York. I had such high hopes for this novel, but unfortunately I'm left with lackluster feelings. I can't help but feel like the book doesn't know what it wants to be. Is it a thriller? Suspense? Meditation on small town life? I believe the story could have benefited from expanding the novel by at least 50 pages or so, or if the author had foc Nothing Can Hurt You follows a wide cast of characters who are at least somewhat connected to the murder of a young student in the late 90's in upstate New York. I had such high hopes for this novel, but unfortunately I'm left with lackluster feelings. I can't help but feel like the book doesn't know what it wants to be. Is it a thriller? Suspense? Meditation on small town life? I believe the story could have benefited from expanding the novel by at least 50 pages or so, or if the author had focused on just a couple characters as opposed to the 5-10 she ultimately follows. I received an advanced electronic copy from Bloomsbury & NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Shawn

    Nothing Can Hurt you is a propulsive thriller that has “Netflix limited series” written all over it. Based on a true story, this tangled web of murder, revenge, resignation, and intrigue is a winner. Each chapter presents new wrinkles and insights into the aftermath of a small-town murder that has echoed across decades.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kajree Gautom

    I honestly didn't get the point of this story, I'm sorry. The blurb sounded sooo good but the story was just bland. Considering it was based on a true story I was really interested. On top of that he was a true crime thriller. But the story was so disjointed and it just did not make proper sense. I understand that this story was supposed to show show how the death of one person can impact so many other people. However this was not so clear in the book. It started so well, with the writing being I honestly didn't get the point of this story, I'm sorry. The blurb sounded sooo good but the story was just bland. Considering it was based on a true story I was really interested. On top of that he was a true crime thriller. But the story was so disjointed and it just did not make proper sense. I understand that this story was supposed to show show how the death of one person can impact so many other people. However this was not so clear in the book. It started so well, with the writing being extremely beautiful an I was really interested to see where the story would go. But after a point I just got totally confused. There were no chapter breaks and the perspectives just changed without any e warning. And that confused the hell out of me. The story was just jumping from One character to the other coma from one instance to the other. And the characters were just there. Like they did there work and were simply forgotten. I did not like that. Honestly there was a lack of flow and the story kept switching between the past, and present and of course the different characters with their different POVs. It just confused me too much and I honestly couldn't keep up with the characters. All in all I think this book was a hot mess. The story could have been written in a beautiful thrilling mystery but author missed the chance. It just infuriated me and I just want to get over with the book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea Grace

    Nothing Can Hurt You by Nicola Maye Goldberg is about the death of Sara, an arts college student who was murdered by her boyfriend Blake Campbell. Blake confesses to her murder and is found not guilty under temporary insanity. The story follows many different people related or friends with both Sara and/or Blake in short sections showing how Sara’s death has impacted their lives. I read this book in a day, it was creepy and very hard hitting at times, but otherwise a very interesting book. I so Nothing Can Hurt You by Nicola Maye Goldberg is about the death of Sara, an arts college student who was murdered by her boyfriend Blake Campbell. Blake confesses to her murder and is found not guilty under temporary insanity. The story follows many different people related or friends with both Sara and/or Blake in short sections showing how Sara’s death has impacted their lives. I read this book in a day, it was creepy and very hard hitting at times, but otherwise a very interesting book. I sometimes was a little confused over what time period I was in as this seemed to jump around a lot. As there were a lot of characters, I was also often confused who I was reading about and did not really connect with any of the characters as everyone had such short sections. However, even though I did not necessarily connect with any characters it was really fascinating to hear how one death impacted so many in various ways and how it altered the way some people lived their life afterwards. Thank you to the kind people at Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) for providing me with a review copy via NetGalley

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sharon May

    Thanks to NetGalley, Bloomsbury Publishing, and Nicola Maye Goldberg for the opportunity to read and review this book - 4 stars for an intriguing look into how the murder of a college student affects so many lives. Supposedly based on a true story although no information was presented about that case, this is the story of the murder of Sara by her boyfriend, Blake. Blake was a schizophrenic and was ruled temporarily insane when he committed the murder. We hear from many voices, all with ties back Thanks to NetGalley, Bloomsbury Publishing, and Nicola Maye Goldberg for the opportunity to read and review this book - 4 stars for an intriguing look into how the murder of a college student affects so many lives. Supposedly based on a true story although no information was presented about that case, this is the story of the murder of Sara by her boyfriend, Blake. Blake was a schizophrenic and was ruled temporarily insane when he committed the murder. We hear from many voices, all with ties back to either Sara or Blake, and how this death and these two people affected their lives. This book was told in a rather unusual manner. There was no delineation between each of the stories; they all flowed together so it sometimes took awhile to figure out who the next voice was and how they related to the story. Thank goodness for my Kindle search feature because I used it many times to try and remember what role a certain person played. This was a haunting tale. Not a thriller or mystery - you knew right away who killed Sara. Not true crime but each story felt very real. There was also the theme throughout the book of crimes committed against women by men.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Ceylan (CeyGo)

    Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA for a DRC of this novel in exchange for an honest review This book is listed as mystery / thriller and true crime, but really isn’t either . Although the author was inspired by real events, the story isn’t, from what I can tell, tied to a “true crime” and there’s really no mystery. You know who killed Sara and where and why pretty early on in the story .. This book is more a collection of stories of those impacted by Sara’s murder in some ways - either thro Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA for a DRC of this novel in exchange for an honest review This book is listed as mystery / thriller and true crime, but really isn’t either . Although the author was inspired by real events, the story isn’t, from what I can tell, tied to a “true crime” and there’s really no mystery. You know who killed Sara and where and why pretty early on in the story .. This book is more a collection of stories of those impacted by Sara’s murder in some ways - either through a connection to her, her killer boyfriend Blake, or the crime itself. The idea still sounds good but the execution really didn’t work for me . The stories jumped back and forth in time ( kinda felt all over the place on the timeline) and there were way too many POVs to really keep track of. And anytime I was getting somewhat invested in a story, it just jumped to another one with no real closure

  25. 5 out of 5

    niri

    I received this book as a free ARC via NetGalley. I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this book, but whatever it was, it wasn't what I got. Nothing Can Hurt You is less a crime novel than a series of intersecting stories about intersecting lives - which is, in itself, an arresting & fascinating way to tell this story - and those stories are each thoughtful and beautifully written. It manages to be so many things at once, but stood out to me most as a thoughtful exploration of the difficult, d I received this book as a free ARC via NetGalley. I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this book, but whatever it was, it wasn't what I got. Nothing Can Hurt You is less a crime novel than a series of intersecting stories about intersecting lives - which is, in itself, an arresting & fascinating way to tell this story - and those stories are each thoughtful and beautifully written. It manages to be so many things at once, but stood out to me most as a thoughtful exploration of the difficult, difficult themes of justice, mercy, and morality, and a really well-written, empathetic view of complicated lives & characters. The writing reminded me a little of Tana French (which is always a good thing!), but this book is wholly its own, and well worth the read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nyisha Richards

    I read this book it was fun you it was so good thank you so much have a great day

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sherri Thacker

    Sadly, I could not get interested in this story. Just not for me. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this book in exchange for my honest review.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Diane Merritt

    Hard to follow. And you don't have time to get into liking any of the characters. Just wasn't for me. Seemed to jump around a bit. Thanks to Net galley and the publisher for an early release of this book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    NetGalley provided ARC. While this was an interesting read, it felt very disjointed and there were times I had to go back and figure out who was speaking and why. The sections didn't really flow together. It almost felt like a collection of separate stories

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    This book is not entirely what I was expecting; this one has been marketed on Goodreads as a thriller which it's definitely not. Instead this is a wholly original character study based on a real life crime. Sara Morgan was a college student who was murdered by her boyfriend, Blake, but questions arise when Blake is found not guilty due to temporary insanity. This novel follows a number of people who knew Sara or Blake, or were involved with the case, as their lives continue on after the murder. T This book is not entirely what I was expecting; this one has been marketed on Goodreads as a thriller which it's definitely not. Instead this is a wholly original character study based on a real life crime. Sara Morgan was a college student who was murdered by her boyfriend, Blake, but questions arise when Blake is found not guilty due to temporary insanity. This novel follows a number of people who knew Sara or Blake, or were involved with the case, as their lives continue on after the murder. There are multiple POV's and we only get a slight snippet of each persons life. I love the concept of this book, however, there are so many people that I felt there was never as much depth as I would've liked. As the book switches POV's often we never truly get to know any one person which ultimately left me unable to connect emotionally. Overall, an interesting concept but it was unfortunately lacking slightly in execution. *ARC copy provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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