As much as I wouldn’t mind watching him squirm, I know that he’s innocent. So I’m brushing off my previously untapped detective skills and getting down to business. But I keep tripping over dead bodies and I’m still no closer to figuring out who did it. And what’s worse: all signs seem to point to me as the killer’s next victim.
I really need to pick a better boyfriend next time.
MY OPINION: 4 STARS
The Short Version:
A perfectly crafted murder mystery with a snarky protagonist, Deadly Cool is a fun and amusing read. Having both depth and humor, both centered around Hartley and the overall plot, this one doesn't shy away from the rough topics while also isn't totally emotional. With plenty of surprises and twists along the way, readers will get sucked right in.
The Extended Version:
Hartley is such a fantastiaclly well done character, definitely an in your face kind of girl without being closed off or brash. She is hilarious both in her thoughts and her actions, and she has a great personality to go right along with it. Even more notable is the fact that it's clear how much she loves her boyfriend, and though it is hard for her to stomach that he cheated and isn't instantly through with him, she also isn't the girl who just ignores it or is in denial. Able to keep her chin up, even when things are rough, Hartley is a well rounded, fully developed character that readers will resontate with. Her development and growth are superbly done, keeping in line with the sprightly girl we meet on page one yet incorporating everything she endures without breaking her completely.
Chase is a little on the weird side, holding a certain level of distrust about him, at least at first, yet he is also awkward at all the right moments and perfectly charming at others. The way he interacts with Hartley is beautifully done, building both characters and letting them fall for each other without either even particularly realizing it. Their banter is hilarious and adds so much to not only the book but who they are, and Chase is definitely at the heart of much of the greatness of this book.
Halliday does a great job of blending together the various aspects of this story smoothly, from Hartley's now defunct relationship and the pain and betrayal that comes with her boyfriend's cheating to her determination to clear said boyfriend's name. Her intelligence and natural wit plays heavily into the book without being the only reason things get solved, and there is just such a fantastic weaving of great elements into this book. The who done it portion of the book, while admittedly easy to figure out along the way, is still a nice addition and driving point.
The plot has an overall steady pace, happening more with humor than anything too heavy and keeping the reader very actively engaged as a result. With a shocking climax and final reveal, this one is formulaic in an enjoyable way. There are plenty of clues dropped along the way, and a certain sense of foreboding constantly present, which will both stun readers and help them figure things out on their own.
This one is very heavy in voice, bringing Hartley to life in the most vivid of ways. The writing is smooth and easy to follow, and has a very authentic and teenage note to it. The setting is easy to imagine, the facts and play out real, and will appeal to fans of both straight contemporary and those who like a little something more,.
Fun, engaging and humorous, Deadly Cool hits on darker notes while keeping an overall light air. Easily one of the most memorable and enjoyable characters around, Hartley is the kind of girl who takes things as they come without too much excess drama. Navigating relationship issues, investigating a murder, and making plenty of mistakes along the way, Hartley's journey in Deadly Cool is one that readers will love.
Source: ARC received from author in exchange for an honest review
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 320 pages
Publication Date: October 11, 2011