Author: Lizzie Friend (Twitter)
Publisher: Merit Press
Publish Date: December 18, 2013
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Perfect people aren't just born. They're made. The first time she is blindfolded and kidnapped, star-athlete and posh boarding school newbie Sadie is terrified. She wakes up in a dark room surrounded by hushed whispers, hooded strangers, and a mysterious voice whispering not-so-sweet nothings in her ear.But once the robes come off, she realizes it’s just an elaborate prank designed to induct her into the group that’s been pulling the strings at Keating Hall for generations. The circle has it all--incredible connections; fabulous parties; and, of course, an in with the brother society’s gorgeous pledges.The instant popularity is enough to make Sadie forget about the unexplained marks on her body, the creepy ceremonial rituals, and the incident that befell one of her teammates the year before. So the next time Sadie is kidnapped, she isn’t scared, but she should be. The worst of Keating Hall is yet to come.
There is something about the ritual of secret societies that is utterly fascinating, so the premise of Poor Little Dead Girls spoke to me almost immediately. There's an innate darkness to the hidden nature of it, and I think that's what makes stories that involves secret societies so very gripping. It's not so much about the actual drama that needs to play out in the forefront of the novel, but rather played up by the cloak and daggers mystery of it all. It's all lurking in the shadows, and that's what keeps readers wanting more; it's simply not so cut and dried as we might otherwise want.
Lizzie Friend offers us a fun blend of young adult and mysterious drama, all enveloped in this secret society. The mystery wasn't really that intensive, and I didn't feel as though it offered any insane drama at the end, but it was nevertheless interesting and engaging, which kept me invested from the start. Furthermore, the author sets up a great setting for Poor Little Dead Girls, which brings the background to the forefront and the visual elements alive. It was because of this that I felt completely able to put myself in Sadie's shoes, despite the fact that I didn't really have anything at all in common with her character.
Sadie wasn't an incredibly deep character, but she was still likable, and I found it easy to become invested in her story and her side of the mystery. Nevertheless though, she rang true for me, and it made it easy to understand why she felt like an outsider in the world of Keating. There were heavy mentions of the styles, the name brands and the overall excess within the world of these teens, which made the circumstances far more believable and realistic, especially in a young adult novel. I think that I really just wanted so much more from the characters in the end. Jeremy, for example, was interesting in theory and in all of my suspicions, but he ended up being just as simplistic as I'd assumed, and while he was sweet, I think that I just wanted a bit more depth in the end.
I have to say that Ms. Friend did create a pretty enjoyable setup for a lighter contemporary mystery. I think it's the type of novel that could really create the perfect setup for a promising new mystery series, but as far as I can see it's a stand-alone novel. The novel, the mystery and the characters were solid, if not spectacular, but I have to say that the verbiage and writing itself was the highlight of the novel for me. The author spun numerous quotes that resonated with me and really left me thinking - often more than the plot itself, so I can definitely say I'll read more from her in the future.
Overall, Poor Little Dead Girls is intriguing, though not altogether spectacularly different. I think that it will find a great audience and that the author will find a good fan base from this novel alone. I give it a strong 3.5 out of 5, and I definitely recommend it to fans of YA, especially those who enjoy lighter mystery stories.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.