Friday, November 22, 2013

What's the Most Difficult Kind of Review to Write? This Kind.

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Jaycee Draper will be forever haunted knowing she received a text for help from her estranged best friend right before she died.  A text Jaycee never answered.  Now, plagued with guilt and remorse, she's doing the only thing she can to help her former BFF—she's looking for answers.  The police have declared 16-year-old Rachel Sanchez a victim of a random act of violence; Jaycee knows better.  Discovering a trail of clues Rachel left for her only confirms Jaycee's suspicions.  Rachel wanted to tell her something, something important, something about who killed her and why.


Part of the puzzle, Jaycee knows, has to do with a terrible encounter the two friends experienced in an old, abandoned house.  It's a night both tried to block from memory, a time to be forgotten, never discussed.  Jaycee hates reliving that nightmare, but she knows she must.  It doesn't help that someone's intent on stopping her little investigation.  And will do whatever it takes to end her inquiries, especially as she gets closer to discovering the identity of her friend's killer.  Can Jaycee solve the mystery before it's too late—not just for Rachel, but for herself as well?

It's tough to diss a book when you request it from an author (who also happens to be related to a friend of yours), she gladly sends you one of her last copies, and is just super sweet about the whole thing.  This is the hardest part of reviewing for me—wanting to be honest without offending kind, hardworking authors.  It's most important, though, for my readers to trust me, so here we go with the honest-even-though-I-don't-want-to-be review: 

I really, really, really wanted to love Dead Girls Don't Lie, Jennifer Shaw Wolf's second novel.  But I just didn't.  Since I grew up in a small town in rural Washington State, I did like the book's familiar setting as well as the conflict between Mexican migrant workers and small-minded local yokels (not that I like that kind of conflict, I just like that it's fresh, something I haven't encountered before in YA lit).  It's a current kind of problem, one I observed firsthand while growing up; it's a hot topic even now, especially in states like Arizona (my current location), which border Mexico.  The whole gang plot, though, seemed a little too melodramatic for rural Washington.  It didn't ring very true to me.  I also had a problem connecting to the characters in Dead Girls Don't Lie.  None of them struck me as particularly likable.  They didn't seem to like each other much either, as I felt little warmth between any of them.  Add that to a far-fetched plotline with some big holes, and yeah, this one just didn't do a lot for me.  Wolf's got lots of potential, though, so I'll keep an eye on her.  Hopefully, her next venture will be a little more to my liking.

(Readalikes:  I'm sure there are many, but nothing's coming to mind ...)


Grade:
  
If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for language (no F-bombs), violence and sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of Dead Girls Don't Lie from the very generous Jennifer Shaw Wolf.  Thank you!

1 comment:

  1. I am fresh and new to blogging, this is my first ever post and I know this is off topic on this subject, but if you have any pointers to guide me through blogs and assist me in how to have conversations and such. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete

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