Sunday, June 30, 2013

{Tour Stop} Book Review: Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne

Title: Truly, Madly, Deadly
Series: None
Author: Hannah Jayne
Pages: 272
Pub Date: July 02, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Book Source: NetGalley
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars


Truly, Madly, Deadly opens up with a funeral scene.

Sawyer Dodd has just lost her boyfriend to a drunk-driving accident. Kevin Anderson - the most popular guy in school. Everyone loved him; all the girls wanted to date him—except Sawyer. Kevin was abusive and controlling, and Sawyer feels a guilty sense of relief now that he's dead.

Sawyer is free to move on with her life.

Until she finds a mysterious note inside her locker.

“Amongst her neatly stacked binders and books was a short, fat envelope [...]
When she opened it, a clipped newspaper article slipped out. Sawyer didn't have to read the headline to know what it said: “Local High School Student Killed In Car Wreck.” She swallowed down a cry and read the note on the card.
It said, simply,

You're welcome.
- - -

Truly, Madly, Deadly gets off to a quick, fantastic start and stays that way.

That's the first thing I have to say: this book is paced perfectly, which can be tricky in a mystery thriller. Too slow, you fail; too fast, you fail. Hannah Jayne found the perfect medium. The suspense is kept up nicely and there's definite creep factor involved. The “You're Welcome” note isn't the last one Sawyer receives. The killer, a twisted secret admirer of sorts, seems to get off on sending Sawyer little things to show how much they “care” - pretty much from the get-go you can sense that this person is not only a killer, but also insane.

Now that I've said that, I do need to get my negative criticism out of the way.

Kevin Anderson.

Even though Kevin was already dead at the book's beginning, I still feel like we should have gotten to know him a tad bit better than we did. He was abusive, but we don't get to see that. Aside from the fleeting thought or insinuation from Sawyer that Kevin was, indeed, abusive... there is no proof. I guess what I would've liked was some flashback-type scenes to give us a hint of it. This story revolves more around Saywer's current stalker scenario, which is great. BUT, if you are going to make the abusive relationship a focal point of the blurb/synopsis, I think it should be a bit more highlighted in the story.

I do also wish the book was in first-person POV instead of third-person. I am never a fan of it, and I felt a slight disconnect from Sawyer in this book that I blame on the POV.

Going back to the positive... I know we all love our romance in YA books, but it definitely takes a backseat in this book, which is a good thing. Considering Sawyer just got out of an abusive relationship and is currently being stalked, I wouldn't think too highly of her were she to enter a serious relationship during all of this. Is she interested in someone? Yes. But she keeps her distance for the most part, because she doesn't know who her secret admirer/stalker is. She keeps her walls up and she stays wary of everyone around her.

Sawyer was a likable, believable protagonist. She wasn't stupid enough to keep her problems from her family or the police. She wanted help and she asked for it. She was afraid, so she told someone. For this I am thankful. If someone reads this who is being harassed, maybe they will think twice about keeping it a secret. Always always seek help when being seriously threatened.

As for the most important thing: the mystery. First of all, I liked the author's choice in murderer. It was unconventional and surprising. I think she kept us on the edge and kept us guessing. I pegged the killer early on, but kept changing my mind to other suspects as the book progressed. To me, this is what a mystery should be all about! You may or may not guess the right person from the start, but did you question that decision? Did the author make you doubt? Did they give small clues that it could be someone else, or small clues that it wasn't who you thought it was? Did it work? For me, with this book, it did. Each time I came back to the real murderer/stalker, Jayne would point me in a different direction. Most important, it was all working and believable.

When the killer is finally revealed, there is drama and thrill. It played out just like a movie scene. It was intense, gripping, and a tad bit crazy. :) The killer was also more-than-a-tad-bit crazy. Complete basket case. It was borderline over-the-top, but not quite. I loved it. I was impressed and satisfied with the outcome and ending of the story. I think Jayne did a superb job.

Overall, Truly, Madly, Deadly is a winner! It's a gripping mystery, intense thriller, suspenseful, creepy story. The protag is inspiring and real. The backstory is lacking, but that can definitely be overlooked when you consider the fact that the focal point is the murder mystery—a murder mystery that comes to a surprising, explosive climax.

I definitely recommend this book for fans of YA Mysteries! Do yourself a favor and go pick this one up!

This review is part of the Sourcebooks Fire blog tour for Truly, Madly, Deadly.
You can also check out a guest post by Hannah Jayne that I posted earlier this month here!