The Student Site of Castilleja School


The Student Site of Castilleja School


The Student Site of Castilleja School


Reece Reads: Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone


New Year’s resolutions: We all make them, we all break them, and we all pretend they don’t exist come February. I thought I could hold out for a bit longer, but as it turns out, I fold as easily as a dog-eared page. My goal for 2024 was “New Year, New Me, New Book Genre,” but I’ve already failed. Miserably. 


On December 29th, 2023, I started a new novel. Although I still had two more days ‘til the new year and a few days left of break, I was aware that I wouldn’t finish the book before school started. I took this rare opportunity as a chance to start anew—“New Year, New Me, New Book Genre.” The book that I chose to be my victim, but would eventually victimize me, was titled “Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone” by Benjamin Stevenson. 


Now, this novel was a first in many ways. Not only was it the first book I attempted to read in 2024 (emphasis on attempt), but it was also the first non-romance book I had read since… probably elementary school. Now don’t get me wrong, I read “Sula”, “The Namesake”, and all of the classic, non-romance, Casti English picks, but “Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone” would have been the first non-romance book to be added to my trophy case, also known as my completed books bookshelf, for a non-academic reason. 


I hate to break it to you, in case you haven’t realized it already, but I did not, in fact, finish this book. I got about halfway through, and then quit. 


The haters may claim that I couldn’t continue with the novel because it lacked the necessary romance to keep me interested. And although that may be partially true (I will neither confirm nor deny), I will not take the slander. Instead, like the pedantic, argumentative, Mock Trial co-lead that I am, I will provide evidence of my reasons for quitting. 


Number One: For years I have been stuck in my comfort zone, conditioning myself to only appreciate the finer things in life—romance novels—when suddenly, I was thrown into the real world. Imagine you’ve spent all your life eating caviar and drinking champagne when one day you are gifted a PB&J. Now this may be a bad analogy, given that I am allergic to peanuts, but the point still stands. The change is abrupt, it’s unexpected, and it’s unfortunate (especially if you’re allergic). The PB&J is just missing the salty nuance. It’s missing the addictive qualities of champagne. It’s not as exciting, and it’s not as enticing. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a good meal; it’s just nothing compared to caviar and champagne.


Number Two: Benjamin Stevenson, the author, is Australian. Among the very short list of international Australian celebrities, there are only four that immediately come to mind: Liam Hemsworth, Margot Robbie, Jacob Elordi, and that girl from Pitch Perfect. Benjamin Stevenson is nowhere on that list. With that being said, I’m not one to needlessly degrade an unknown author, but I will say that I was bombarded with Australian slang and Australian geography with absolutely no warning. As an American, it’s my civic duty to think the world revolves around me, so I will say that I deserved a little heads up. 


Number Three: Benjamin Stevenson is also a white man. As a seventh-year Casti senior I admit that it has been a while since I’ve read a book by a male author, let alone a white man. I think the English department does a great job of incorporating female authors and authors of color into the curriculum, but clearly, we are lacking on one metric: white men. 


The last time I read a book by a man was well over a year ago when I read “The Great Gatsby.” I hesitate to even include that novel because, let’s be real, his wife wrote most of it. But my point still stands. It’s been a while! All the books I read outside of school are romance, and all good romance novels are written by women (I’m extrapolating). 


Just as I claim that I’m not used to the non-romantic context, and not used to Australian slang, I will claim that I am not used to male speech patterns. 


For the three reasons listed above, I decided that I would stop reading “Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone.” Although I was initially excited by the premise, which heavily influenced the title, I could no longer continue. I strongly believe that life’s too short to read bad books, and even though this wasn’t a “bad” book, per se, it wasn’t a “now” book. 


I may return to this novel in the future, or I may not, but for the time being, I leave you with my initial impressions: “Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone” is a hilarious new take on a murder mystery. It’s written in the first person, and the narrator is refreshingly, and reliably, blunt. The story focuses on a family of murderers, the Cunninghams, as they are trapped on a mountain in an Australian snowstorm (I didn’t think those could exist) when a murder occurs. I know it sounds cliché, but I promise it’s everything but. 


Although I only read 152 pages, I think this 371-page novel will be a hit for anyone who likes the genre. And even if you don’t, like me, I think it’s worth a fair shot. If all else fails, just stop reading. 


I don’t know if I can technically rate this story given that I never finished the book, but if I did, “Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone” would earn three out of five C’s: Comedy, Confrontation, and Cunningham, the last name of the narrator. 

Reece Reads is published biweekly on Fridays. To access more reviews, click the “Reece Reads” tag below. 

Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

All Counterpoint Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *