Monday, December 2, 2019

Book Review: They All Fall Down by Roxanne St. Claire


Jacque's Review:

At the start of the book we are introduced to Kenzie Summerall, who is your typical over achiever.  She is a member of the Latin club and is hoping to win a state Latin competition that could earn her a scholarship to the college of her dreams. She is not one of the popular girls and certainly doesn't consider herself prom queen material, so she is shocked when her name appeared on the annual "hottie list" at school.

For the past thirty years at Vienna High, the junior class boys have voted on the top ten hottest girls in their class.  Appearing on the list instantly catapulted Kenzie to the top of the social circles.  She is now being invited to parties and boys she never would have even considered to be in her league were asking her out.

The girls on the list form a sorority of sorts when they start having near death experiences.  When the first member on the list dies from an accident, they think it must be an unfortunate coincidence.  When the second girl dies, they believe they are cursed. Kenzie doesn't believe there is a curse, but instead thinks there is a serial killer who is taking advantage of this annual tradition.  Being number five on the list, she realizes she must work quickly to solve this mystery or they could all fall victim.

This was an entertaining YA murder mystery.  I never would have guessed why the "hottie list" was first established and what its role was in the larger scope of the story.  This book doesn't appear to have a sequel, but I felt like the author left a great opening to potentially continue the story with a few of the more prominent characters.

Overall, I liked the story, but it wasn't a sit on the edge of your seat type of thriller. I enjoyed all of the Latin quotes and how Roxanne tied in some ancient Roman history. I also felt like Kenzie's character grew tremendously over the course of the novel. She was very weak and timid in the beginning, but she really took charge and acted with remarkable bravery to help save and protect herself and the people she loves in the end. I also admired the fact that the author brought to light the fact that Levi, a new boy at the school the previous spring, was dyslexic. Everything anyone seemed to know about him was based on speculation and gossip, but Kenzie gave him a chance. He had a rough childhood and is trying to turn things around. As easy as it was for some of the students to blame him for the accidents because of his reputation, and the fact that he always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, Kenzie didn't buy it and even sought his help in solving the murders. These two are polar opposites, but they made a great team and a perfect couple.   

Sunday, December 1, 2019

Book Review: Get Even by Gretchen McNeil


Jacque's Review:

Everyone knows the school bullies, mean girls, and in the case of this book, a psycho teacher, who make life at school a living hell. Don't Get Mad, DGM, is tired of their antics and decides to take matters into their own hands and "Get Even." The book takes place at an elite prep school where the administration has let bullying get out of hand. The Principal even set up his own group of enforcers known as the Maine Men, who only perpetuate the problem. 

The four girls in DGM, Bree, Olivia, Kitty, and Margot all have their own secrets and decided to join the group for very different reasons. They appear to have nothing in common, but as the story unfolds, we can see how their lives are entwined and can tell they are forming genuine friendships despite their differences.

When the target of one of DGM's recent pranks is found dead, with one of DGM's calling cards in his bloody hand, the girls realize they are in trouble. Nobody is going to believe they weren't involved. The school's administration, along with the Maine Men, set out on a witch hunt to find the members of DGM and bring them to justice. The girls decide  they need to solve this murder before they take the fall.

This was a very entertaining murder mystery, but I had no idea this would have a "to be continued" type of ending.  With a few chapters remaining, I was sure we were going to get to the bottom of everything, but we were left just as clueless as ever.  I figured Get Dirty, the next book in the series, would be a companion novel, but it is actually a continuation of this same story.  

I read a lot of murder mysteries and don't think I have ever run into a book or series in which the crime wasn't solved by the end of the book. I can only imagine how stressful that would have been to readers who finished this book shortly after it was released. They would have had an agonizing wait for the next book to be released and no clue if the crime they had just invested their time in would ever be solved, until the description for the next book was released.

I have a few other books that I need to read first, but I have already requested a copy of Get Dirty  from the library. I desperately want to know who is behind the events that have taken place before I forget all of the details and clues that have been uncovered so far.