Get ready to embark on a literary journey to the small town of Clarendon, as you dive into the gripping world of “40 Days in Hicksville” by Christina Kilbourne. In this intriguing book review, you’ll discover a thin mystery with forgettable characters, where secrets unravel and a web of intrigue unfolds. Through the alternating perspectives of Kate Cooper and her neighbor Zach, you’ll witness the exploration of trauma’s impact on families’ well-being. However, be prepared for a lack of character development and repetitive events that lead to an underwhelming climax. As you delve into this captivating yet flawed narrative, keep in mind that most of the characters that inhabit this tale are white. Are you ready to journey into the heart of Hicksville?


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Plot Summary

Kate Cooper’s move to Clarendon

In “40 Days in Hicksville” by Christina Kilbourne, the story revolves around Kate Cooper, a young woman who decides to make a fresh start in the small town of Clarendon. Seeking a change of pace and hoping to leave her troubled past behind, Kate embarks on a journey to rebuild her life in this quaint community.

Discovering a web of secrets

As the narrative unfolds, Kate finds herself uncovering a web of secrets in Clarendon. What initially seemed like an idyllic town quickly reveals itself to be a hotbed of hidden truths and mysteries. With each revelation, Kate becomes more entangled in the intricate web, finding herself compelled to get to the bottom of the secrets that lie beneath the surface. The book takes readers on a suspenseful journey as Kate unravels the truth behind the town’s enigmatic facade.


Kate Cooper’s perspective

The book primarily focuses on Kate’s perspective, allowing readers to delve into her thoughts, emotions, and experiences. Kate is portrayed as a resilient and determined protagonist, which helps readers empathize with her as she faces the challenges and complexities of Clarendon. Through Kate’s perspective, we gain insight into her motivations, fears, and desires, creating a deeper connection with her character.

Zach’s perspective

In addition to Kate, the story provides alternating perspectives, including that of her neighbor, Zach. Through his point of view, readers gain further insights into the town’s secrets and the events unfolding in Clarendon. Zach’s perspective enhances the overall narrative by offering a different lens through which to view the story, enriching the reader’s understanding of the intricate plot.

Lack of character development

While the story provides multiple perspectives, one area where “40 Days in Hicksville” falls short is character development. The characters, including Kate and Zach, lack depth and fail to undergo meaningful growth throughout the book. This absence of significant character arcs may leave readers feeling disconnected and less invested in the fates of the individuals populating the story.


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Repetitive Events

Repetitive events driving the story

Throughout the book, “40 Days in Hicksville” relies heavily on repetitive events to drive the plot forward. These events, while initially intriguing, become predictable and may lose their impact as the story progresses. The repetition may result in a sense of déjà vu for readers, diminishing their overall engagement and creating a sense of monotony within the narrative.

Impact on the reader

The repetitive events in the book can have varying effects on the reader. While some may appreciate the recurring motifs as a way to establish familiarity, others may find them mundane and tiresome. The impact of these repetitive events on the reader’s experience ultimately depends on individual preferences and their tolerance for narrative repetition.

Underwhelming Climax

Build-up to the climax

As the story builds towards its climax, “40 Days in Hicksville” creates anticipation and intrigue for readers. With each secret uncovered and every revelation, the tension steadily rises, promising an exciting and satisfying payoff. However, when the climax finally arrives, it fails to deliver the expected intensity and resolution, leaving readers feeling underwhelmed and potentially dissatisfied with the story’s resolution.

Reader’s disappointment

The underwhelming climax may leave readers disappointed, especially after investing their time and emotions into the book’s plot and characters. A climax that falls short of expectations can diminish the overall impact of the story, leaving a lingering feeling of dissatisfaction and possibly affecting the reader’s overall impression of the book.


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Exploring Trauma

The book’s focus on trauma

“40 Days in Hicksville” delves into the theme of trauma and its impact on individuals and families. Through the experiences of various characters, the book explores the lasting effects of traumatic events and the ways in which they shape lives. The portrayal of trauma adds depth to the narrative, encouraging readers to reflect on the complexities of human resilience and the profound influence of past wounds on present circumstances.

Families’ well-being

In its exploration of trauma, the book also examines the well-being of families. It delves into the dynamics of familial relationships, shedding light on the ways in which trauma can fracture or strengthen these bonds. The intimate examination of family dynamics adds a layer of emotional depth to the story, resonating with readers who have experienced or witnessed the impact of trauma within their own families.

In-depth analysis

One of the strengths of “40 Days in Hicksville” lies in its ability to provide an in-depth analysis of trauma and its consequences. By sensitively portraying the ripple effects of trauma on individuals and families, the book fosters empathy and understanding, encouraging readers to reflect on the complexities of the human experience. This thoughtful exploration of trauma elevates the book beyond a simple mystery, offering readers a deeper emotional connection with the story and its themes.

Perspectives and Narration

Alternating perspectives of Kate and Zach

“40 Days in Hicksville” employs alternating perspectives between its two main characters, Kate and Zach. This narrative technique allows readers to gain insight into the story from multiple angles, enhancing their understanding of the plot and the motivations of the characters. The alternating perspectives create a dynamic reading experience, providing a multifaceted exploration of the events in Clarendon.

Engagement with the story

The use of alternating perspectives enhances readers’ engagement with the story. By immersing readers in the thoughts and experiences of both Kate and Zach, the book fosters a deeper connection and investment in the outcome of the plot. The shifting perspectives create a sense of curiosity and suspense, propelling readers forward and encouraging them to actively participate in unraveling the mysteries of Clarendon.


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Setting and Atmosphere

Description of Hicksville

“Hicksville,” the small town of Clarendon, serves as an integral backdrop for the events in “40 Days in Hicksville.” The book vividly portrays the town’s quaint charm, imbuing it with a character of its own. The author’s descriptive prose paints a picture of Hicksville, allowing readers to visualize its idyllic landscapes and immerse themselves in its unique atmosphere.

Impact on the story

The setting of Hicksville plays a significant role in shaping the events of the story. The small-town dynamics and the close-knit community contribute to the atmosphere of mystery and intrigue. The contrasting imagery of Hicksville’s serene facade and the hidden secrets lurking beneath the surface create tension and heighten the suspense, driving the narrative forward. The setting’s impact on the story enriches the overall reading experience, creating a palpable sense of place and atmosphere.

Writing Style

Author’s writing style

Christina Kilbourne’s writing style in “40 Days in Hicksville” is accessible and engaging. The author presents the story through clear and concise prose, ensuring that readers can easily follow the narrative. Kilbourne’s writing style is accompanied by a friendly, conversational tone, which fosters a sense of connection between the reader and the story.

Strengths and weaknesses

One of the strengths of the author’s writing style is her ability to create a compelling plot that keeps readers engaged. The accessible language and friendly tone make the book highly readable and relatable. However, a weakness lies in the lack of descriptive details concerning character development and settings, which may result in a less immersive reading experience. Balancing these aspects of the writing style could further enhance the overall impact of the book.


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Diverse representation in the book

While “40 Days in Hicksville” explores themes of trauma and family, the book lacks substantial diverse representation in terms of its characters. The majority of characters in the story are depicted as white, which limits the book’s ability to address and reflect the experiences of diverse communities. Expanding the range of characters and capturing a more inclusive representation would enhance the book’s potential to connect with a wider audience.

Lack of representation

The absence of diverse representation in the book may limit readers’ ability to see themselves reflected in the story. Representation plays a crucial role in ensuring that readers from various backgrounds can relate to the characters and themes of a book. By acknowledging and representing diverse experiences, authors have the opportunity to create a more inclusive and accessible reading experience for all.

Final Thoughts

Overall impression of the book

“40 Days in Hicksville” is a thin mystery novel that explores the themes of trauma and family dynamics. While the book effectively portrays the impact of trauma and offers alternating perspectives to engage readers, it falls short in terms of character development and an underwhelming climax. The book’s writing style, though accessible, could benefit from more descriptive details. Furthermore, the lack of diverse representation within the story limits its potential reach.


Despite its shortcomings, “40 Days in Hicksville” may appeal to readers looking for a quick and suspenseful read. Those interested in the exploration of trauma and family dynamics may find value in the book’s themes. However, readers seeking robust character development and a satisfying climax may be left wanting. Overall, “40 Days in Hicksville” offers an interesting premise but fails to fully deliver on its potential.