Last year, we fell in love with Maggie Thrash’s debut graphic memoir, Honor Girl, about finding first love — and first heartbreak — at camp. Fortunately, for those who also can’t get enough of Thrash’s writing, we don’t have to wait long for more: Her first foray into fiction, appealingly billed as a Twin Peaks-meets-Pretty Little Liars mystery called We Know It Was You, will be released on Oct. 4, but EW has your first look at the YA novel’s cover right here.
Check it out below, along with our chat with Thrash about why books are better when there’s a murder involved.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What inspired We Know It Was You?
MAGGIE THRASH: I wanted to write a mystery that shows that teenagers can solve their own stuff without adult interference. Adults are totally clueless about what’s going on in young people’s minds. So none of the characters are conveniently the daughter of the police chief or something. They don’t need that. Teens can figure out anything– including murder.
What more can you tell us about the book’s plot?
Imagine this: you’re at a high school football game, and suddenly the mascot runs from the field and jumps off a bridge. That’s where the book starts. And what it becomes is a pair of kids realizing that there are layers and layers of weirdness existing under their perfect-seeming society.
Have you always been a horror/mystery fan? What are some of your favorite chill-inducing books?
Whenever I’m reading a normal book, I always think about how much better it would be if one of the characters were murdered. As a kid, I liked The Baby-sitter’s Club, but I LOVED The Baby-sitter’s Club Mysteries. The best mystery ever written is Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. The scariest book ever written is probably World War Z by Max Brooks.
Your previous book, Honor Girl, was a graphic memoir. What’s it like not writing about yourself for a change?
After Honor Girl, I needed a break from my own head. Creating a graphic novel is a long, grueling process, especially when it’s a memoir; not only are you drawing and measuring and erasing and painting and all day, you’re facing your personal demons at the same time. So writing some sweet, sweet fiction was a welcome break from that.
What are you most excited for readers to see?
The tensions of the South, teen characters in control, murder most foul. It’ll be weird and meta for Honor Girl readers, because they see Maggie Thrash as a character, and now this character has created a world of characters. I’m excited for non-Honor Girl readers to get into this too, plus BOYS. Hopefully boys today are over the idiotic idea that because an author is female, the book isn’t for them.
Why did you think prose fiction was the best medium for this story, as opposed to another graphic novel?
If We Know It Was You were a graphic novel, it would be 2,000 pages long. Plus, for me, comics are about dealing with personal emotions. This book isn’t about me, it’s about the characters and the story.
What are you reading now?
I read a lot of true crime. People do the weirdest, most horrifying stuff, and for some reason we all love to read about it. I’m also reading all the L.A. Times Book Prize Graphic Novel finalists; it’s a really interesting and diverse selection this year.