An updated Nancy Drew (or should I say Veronica Mars? J) for this generation with sass, sarcasm, and a brash attitude that'll have you laughing out loud. Truly, if you're looking for the funny, give Deadly Cool a try. Halliday has written a fast-paced and fun mystery that keeps you hooked from page one.
Here's the rundown: Hartley Featherstone has just discovered an open condom wrapper in her boyfriend Josh's locker. Worse, rumor has it he's cheating on her with the not-so-virginal Queen of the Chastity Club. When the Queen's corpse is found in his closet with a pair of iPod buds wrapped tight as a noose around her neck, the cops finger Josh as the murderer.
Too bad he's suddenly MIA.
With Josh popping up in her bedroom at odd times, begging her to solve the case, Hartley has two options: Push him out the window like he deserves or help the dirtbag prove his innocence. Decisions, decisions. What's a girl to do? If you're Hartley, you throw yourself head-first into the investigation, partnering up with your best friend Sam and the bad-boy-next-door Chase, asking questions and running down leads better left to the cops. After she stumbles over her second dead body, Hartley knows she's in over her head. But even with the bad boy guarding her back, it may not be enough to stop the killer before Hartley ends up six feet under.
The book was such a nice break from the Epic, Dark, and Scary in YA I've been reading. I've noticed that after reading a few dystopians/urban fantasy/paranormal I always enjoy a good laugh. Deadly Cool was a welcome change of pace and tone. Hartley--though not dressed in leather and with decidedly no superpowers--had me cheering and laughing and wanting her to find the bad guy and get the bad boy J
I really enjoyed her sense of the ridiculous and the humor that was carried throughout the story. She was so likable and fresh that she single-handedly rejuvenated the YA mystery genre. Not many a MC could carry that one off, but Hartley did it without even a hint of paranormaly goodness! Good on you Gemma Halliday J
Also, the mystery was interesting and never boring. Although I think I called it pretty early, I still wanted to see how Hartley ended up catching the murderer. For me, it wasn't so much about the surprise of "Who done it?" The kind of mystery I enjoy matches the story with a character I want to follow, someone I'm interested in and care about. The setup pretty much assured that: A teenage MC done wrong by her boyfriend, who she, despite his lying, cheating ways, decides to help anyway? Yeah, there was no way I wouldn't like Hartley.
Chase Erikson, bad boy extraordinaire who's got smarts to boot, was an added bonus. Rarely in YA do the Bad Boy and the Smart Guy mix, but Chase was a hybrid, and I was all about it J
I'll definitely be picking up Social Suicide (Book 2), and I'd recommend it to readers looking for a little light after all the dark popping up in YA. It's a good, quick read. You won't be disappointed!