Taking place a few months after the first book, Nothing Bad is Going to Happen takes place in the winter at Friendship, Wisconsin, where Kippy now finally has her cast off after she broke it trying to escape through the window of the house of the man who actually killed her Jewish BFF Ruth. Now she won't have to drive around with the crazy bus driver and lunch lady Mildred and swearing puss Sarah McKetta, who secretly has a thing for Libby's friend Colt, who now really likes Kippy after she got him out of jail after he was framed for killing Ruth in order to keep the affair clean. So anyway, Kippy has three things on her mind: Albus, her friend still captive in mental institution Cloudy Meadows, having sex with her saviour and boyfriend, former war veteran Davey, and three: keeping it a secret from her father Dom. Except she comes to his house to find an empty bottle of sleeping pills inside him and his blood drained. Everyone else says it was a suicide attempt, but Kippy was sure she saw a figure leave the house, but people aren't taking her seriously since she has images of Albus everywhere. So who wanted Davey dead? And is someone working with Ruth's murderer on the outside of it all?
Now, I try my best to not be an outside kind of critic. One that includes outside information and makes it affect the rating or expectation. That's something Kathleen Hale's been the victim of in the past. She wrote a Guardian article about how she confronted a critic who hated on her book and began ridiculing her on Twitter, and people have called it stalking and been giving biased, hateful and poisonous reviews. This incident lead me to read her book. The critic said her first book included lots of rape, and Hale thought, "But there is no rape in my book." I find it kind of funny, and a little surprising, that in this sequel, there's some quite noticeable rape. One man tries to go between Kippy's legs and one of the characters gets hit over the head. Not to mention the first chapter is all about Kippy trying to be prepared to have sex with Davey, a box of donuts along for the ride. And one of Kippy's friends distracts someone by showing herself off a bit. Kathleen Hale certainly writes with an edgy scope.
Now, I loved No One Else Can Have You. I even bumped it from a 3.5 to a 3.75 which on one hand is a 4 star book for its somehow funny scatological humour, its charismatic and differentiated characters and murder suspects, the original and twisting diary element, the way it dived into mental illness, and all around entertainment value. Nothing Bad is Going to Happen has most of that, except I felt as a sequel, there were a few problems I saw. First off, the town doesn't really see Kippy as a hero anymore even though she was quoted by Diane Sawyer. I expected people to take her more serious. There might be a bit too much bathroom humour this time. And at the end, during a police call, the police respond in a certain way that I don't think would happen after the big stunt at the climax. I also wished it was longer, this one a hundred pages shorter than the first novel, but I was still actually quite happy with the turnout.
The pieces really come together by the end. I won't spoil anything, but the mystery turnout is one I was trying my best to solve but still took me by surprise and garnered an entirely new element to think about in general, about how certain people will go to big lengths to prevent a secret from getting out, and I felt I really should've seen it coming. Think of it this way; this seems to be more Nancy Drew than Hercule Poirot, all sorts of scattered events happening and all of a sudden, everything just clicks in ways you couldn't have imagined. There's also a new relationship between Kippy and Gah lover Libby. I read some (honest) reviews about this book beforehand and knew going in that Kippy and Libby were going to have a friendship. I was still fascinated with how far it went. And some of the messages, texts, and turnouts are downright creepy. In the end, it's basically a worthy enough companion to No One Else Can Have You. Just, parents should know that the first chapter has some quite erotic vocabulary.
And one last thing. I really hope Kathleen Hale writes another book. Leaving this as just a duology doesn't give this series justice. I also heard there was a cliffhanger in this book, and there is; maybe not as promising as other books that there will be a sequel, but, here's what I think the cover should look like: A Ruby Red Sweater with hearts across the sides (or caterpillars alongside the mooses, maybe) and like the mooses on the first cover, instead let there be heart-shaped chocolate baskets, where one of them is open and shows bleeding cherry chocolates. I'd call the book "Nowhere Will Work But Here." I don't know why I'm imagining this. These books are just...really good.