Single Sundays: We Were Kings by Courtney C Stevens

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for We Were Kings (from Goodreads):
Twenty years ago, eighteen-year-old Francis Quick was convicted of murdering her best friend Cora King and sentenced to death. Now the highly debated Accelerated Death Penalty Act passes and gives Frankie thirty final days to live. From the Kings’ own family rises up the one who will challenge the woefully inadequate evidence and potential innocence of Francis Quick.

The at-first reluctant and soon-fiery Nyla and her sidekick (and handsome country island boy), Sam Stack, bring Frankie’s case to the international stage through her YouTube channel Death Daze. They step into fame and a hometown battle that someone’s still willing to kill over. The senator? The philanthropist? The pawn shop owner? Nyla’s own mother?

Best advice: Don’t go to family dinner with the Kings. More people will leave the dining room in body bags than on their own two feet. And as for Francis Quick, she’s a gem . . . even if she’s guilty.


Author: Courtney C Stevens
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller, Mystery, Contemporary
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: February 1, 2022
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

It was the cover that drew me into clicking on this one when I was browsing the audibooks at my local library. I had scrolled past it a few times but it always caught my eye. And so I investigated and thought that it would be an entertaining standalone listen and put myself on the hold list.

The Plot:

I really liked the momentum of this story. With the looming execution date nearing, everything has to move rather quickly so I felt like new revelations were constantly being revealed to keep the story interesting. And while I caught on pretty quick to what the solution was going to be, I wasn’t entirely right about how we were going to get there.

I kinda felt like I was reading a YA version of Knives Out with toned down characters but plenty of family drama.

The Characters:

I really appreciated the struggle of Nyla’s character. She has a complicated relationship with her mother because of Cora’s murder and Frankie’s involvement which was interesting to read about. But I feel like part of her development gets diluted as the plot begins to pick up but she was a solid character to follow.

The Romance:

It isn’t really pushed in this story which I can appreciate though there are some lingering moments.

My Audiobook Experience:

I really enjoyed the audiobook production. However, I did struggle to keep all the characters straight and what their relationships were to each other. I think reading the book would have allowed me to go back and recall who was who.

My Rating: 3.5/5


This is like the perfect baby of We Were Liars and A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder. Family secrets, social media used to solve a cold-case murder and an amateur detective. An entertaining standalone read.

Read if You Like: YA thriller/mysteries, family drama
Avoid if You: dislike murder mysteries


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