Sketchy Behavior

6 Aug


Sketchy BehaviorErynn Mangum

Publisher: Zondervan

Publication Date: 2011

Paperback: 224 pages, though I read the e-book.

Book Blurb:

Drawing Conclusions or Drafting Disaster? Other than harboring a somewhat obsessive fondness for Crispix and completely swearing-off boys after a bad date (don’t ask), sixteen-year-old Kate Carter is about as ordinary as they come, except for her two notable talents: art and sarcasm. After an introduction to forensic sketching in her elective art class, Kate discovers a third and most unexpected gift: criminal profiling. Her photo-quality sketch helps the police catch a wanted murderer and earns her celebrity status in South Woodhaven Falls. But when that murderer appears to be using his friends to exact revenge, Kate goes from local hero to possible target. Will she manage to survive? Will life ever be normal again? And will local news anchor Ted Deffle ever stop sending her flowers?

Stand alone or series: Well it’s been two years since the book came out and there’s been none to follow (she usually writes in threes), so I’m gonna take a leap and say stand alone.

Why I read this book: I love, love, love the author. I read her previous two trilogies (for adults… ish) and couldn’t stop laughing. Seriously. So I wanted to see what her teen fiction would be like. And really, I’m going to eat up anything she puts out. Look for my review of her first series next month, it will be my own special b-day treat.


Meet Kate. Witty, talented and with quite a tongue. And who wouldn’t be just a bit wacky with a psychiatrist for a mom and a mathematically obsessed dad who believes in only in using logic to make decisions. But her loving and slightly odd parents helped to shape the way she sees the world, which is really quite something. Kate is an artist, but she doesn’t bother with just drawing what’s on the outside, Kate looks at the whole person, what’s inside the person and tries to capture that. It is this skill that helps her to sketch and the police to catch a killer with three murders to his name, and this same skill that puts her life in jeopardy.

Mangum’s usual subjects are twenty-something romantic comedies and I do mean comedies, Sketchy Behavior is Mangum’s first crime thriller and first teen novel. This is the first teen Christian crime novel I’ve read, but I can say it’s unlike any other crime novel I’ve read. Largely because it’s still really funny. Comedy is found in Kate’s sarcastic take on everything, though having your life threatened can put a damper on the giggles. As the threat on Kate’s life grows she turns more and more to God and to the new friends she finds in church, as the old friends fled at the first sign of danger. This book is much more plot driven than Mangum’s previous novels, so it’s hard to talk too much without giving it all away. But if you’re anything like me you’ll love the quippy voice and zany characters.

One more thing that I like about this novel, compared to Mangum’s other novels, is that the heroine’s views on boys and physicality matches her age. In her other two series, the heroines at times have a rather adolescent view on dating and kissing and, well, nothing else is ever mentioned even though both series contain multiple marriages. This kind attitude suits the sixteen year-old Kate, and not so much for twentysomethings counterparts in the Lauren Holbrook and Maya Davis series (though I still love them both).

All in all this is a fun, suspenseful novel that is not too dark for any age. Designed for high schoolers, I’d also say it’s a go for those in middle school, but I always say get them hooked young! Though be warned, after reading a Mangum novel I find my tongue full of snappy comebacks for days, they can be really funny, but don’t find yourself in trouble like the heroines so often do.


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