Perfect Little Murder by Yawatta Hosby is a 120-page disturbing story about the disintegration of the mind of a thirteen-year-old girl, Loren Carey. Destined for Julliard, Loren had studied ballet “forever,” or so it seemed. Older brother Franco accompanied her to almost every ballet practice. Loren loved the time they had together; it was their special bonding time. Loren’s younger sister, Kina, asked to accompany her older siblings one day; she wanted to see what happened at ballet practice. While Loren stretched and prepared for practice, Kina asked Franco to get her a soda from a shop across the street. Franco did not make it back because he was hit by a careless teenage driver as he was crossing the street to return with Kina’s soda. Franco was dead. Loren blamed Kina directly for their older brother’s death. It was up to Loren to avenge Franco’s senseless death. Kina would have to die.
What follows is an examination of a mind dealing with intense grief. Loren concludes early, just after Franco’s death, that she would have to kill Kina. Loren intended to torture her first through bullying at home. She wanted Kina to know what was eventually going to happen. Kina couldn’t believe a sister would act in such a way and went out of her way to placate Loren by agreeing to accept blame for things Loren had done, such as the burning of ballet costumes. Loren was single-minded in her determination to kill Kina but noticed that perhaps it was not only Kina who was guilty. Loren’s mom always took Kina’s side. Perhaps mom might have to die as well.
Loren’s bullying of Kina did not go unnoticed by one of Loren’s classmates, Maria. Loren and Maria were assigned to work on a group project, and some of the work was done in Loren’s home. Maria witnessed some of Loren’s bullying, demanded Loren stop it, and further informed Loren’s mom of what was happening. Perhaps Maria would have to die as well.
I am not sure about the intended audience for this story. It scares me to think that it might be read in a family with dysfunctional siblings, some of whom might think killing is an acceptable solution. From the death of Franco near the beginning of the novel to the last chapter, there is an acceptance in the mind of Loren that killing is only a logical response to correcting an earlier wrong.
This novel is fast-paced as Loren moves quickly and aggressively in forming plans to accomplish her goal while eliminating anything or anyone standing in her way. Loren is the principal character readers learn a lot about. The character sketches of the parents are almost unbelievable. Loren’s father has blind loyalty to her; Loren’s mother is frustratingly logical. I was looking for the tipping point where the marriage would fall apart as one spouse walked away. There is a minor surprise ending, which I suspected, but there was nothing in the story that allowed me to be sure. This story was interesting to read, and I will read more by this author. I gave this novella four Amazon stars for a short, well-developed story.