Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Kiss Me Kill Me by Lauren Henderson

Two minutes after Dan kisses Scarlett he drops dead. No one knows how or why he died. The only thing Scarlett can be sure of is she wants to clear her reputation as the girl with the "Kiss of Death." Because, most importantly, if it’s true she’ll never get to kiss anyone ever again.

That introduction sort of made it sound like a lighthearted chick lit romp, which this book most certainly isn’t. Not that it’s some dark dreary crime novel either. Scarlett is a heroine who has compromised her integrity in order to join the popular clique only to have it come back and bite her in the butt. Big time. She recognizes this fact, accepts her responsibility, and is ready to move on. Only she can’t because she’s sent to Girl School Siberia, aka the private school her grandmother runs outside of London. She’s sarcastic without being bitter, resourceful, athletic because of her years training in gymnastics, and has an uncanny ability to decode social situations. I liked her. A lot.

There’s lots of foreshadowing. In fact it begins right on the first page. It added atmosphere and suspense to the story right from the get go. In fact, this book is nothing but suspenseful. It builds and builds and starting about half way through you start getting little drops of information that just make you thirst for more. Finally, in the last few pages you get a lot of answers (which are mega satisfying), but lots of open-ended threads remain (which makes you want to have the sequel immediately and will probably irritate you – or least it did a lot of reviewers - although for some reason I wasn’t too bothered by it). In fact, I think readers will be running to the library and demanding the next installment.

I really liked a couple of secondary characters. Taylor, Scarlett’s new friend at school was probably my favorite. She’s big, she’s strong, she can shimmy up a drainpipe. What’s not to like? I also enjoyed Plum, the leader of the popular girl mafia at Scarlett’s old school. She’s glossy, demanding, and is just this side of pure evil. She made a good nemesis.

Lots of girls are going to be drawn to it on the strength of the cover alone. Although if you look closely you’ll see the boy has a few sparse whiskers on his chin which are super funny in that teenage boy way of just being so proud that you’re able to grow facial hair it doesn’t matter in the least whether or not it actually looks good.

Good mystery. I am really looking forward to the sequel.

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