New girl at boarding high school runs, drinks a lot of coffee and takes caffeine pills to stay awake so she doesn’t have recurring bad dream. Odd things and weird coincidences happen and make her feel like someone is watching her. She finds out that there’s a rumor that there is a serial killer on the loose in the area…
Didja Like It?: A resounding no. This book felt like five different people were told what to write about, then they each wrote a section then shuffled the pages together like playing cards. The overlying theme to this book was security or the lack thereof. Supposedly, the father in the story is super overprotective of his only child, Elle, ever since his wife was killed in a car accident. However, he’s gone a lot, and now he’s sent his daughter to a boarding school where she knows no one. The dorms sound like they are a de facto apartment complex where these underage students live on their own without any adult supervision. It’s an open campus where anyone can come onto the grounds, too. Sounds like the exact place where a dad like this would send his kid.
Then there’s Brian. Elle and her roommate, Pixie, meet him at a flea market several towns over. An affable guy, he buys them coffee and seems to take an interest in Elle. Then, strangely, he shows up as a new student at this school (apparently, there are not many boys at this school, something that is mentioned but not explained). He doesn’t even speak to Elle, even though they basically spent a day together. This goes on for quite some time, with him speaking to her some days and ignoring her others. How annoying. We’re supposed to feel that there’s something going on that hasn’t been explained yet, but it feels manipulative. “Why is he acting so weird? Is he bad news? Or does he just not like like Elle?”
Anything Else to Mention?: There was just too many things that were repeated over and over, such as the cigarette butts on the welcome mat, the fact that Pixie lived on campus year-round, the security (or lack thereof), Elle’s being so uncomfortable, feeling watched, etc. etc. We get it, it’s important! Elle’s inner dialog made me want to strangle her myself. So, so, so many questions (good questions) for someone who worried constantly but never did a thing about her concerns. Very melodramatic. I found her to be equal parts exasperating, dry, boring, straight, too serious. And when she did joke (which was infrequent), they came of very flat.
She was one of those characters who does things the expected way, because she’s a “good girl” or predictable or whatever, then throws everything she believes in out the window because she’s so darn tired of being that good girl or predictable or whatever and who cares, she just wants to have fun/cut loose/find the killer/go somewhere by herself when she’s told not to. Gahhhhh.
The set-up in this story was incredibly meticulous and over-the-top lengthy. You knew exactly when something was going to happen, and while there were some red herrings (gosh, you don’t want to know whodunnit right away, do you?) I couldn’t have cared less by the time we met her wannabe killer. In fact, this killer, while no surprise, was the only one who didn’t get to vent her/his/its drama for pages. Poor killer.
A Final Blow: The writing was poor; it definitely needed a few more passes through the editing process. Like fingernails ever-so-gently dragging across a chalkboard (do they even have those anymore?), the school of “that’s a close enough word, right?” (which is the sister school to “that’s a saying, yeah?”) drives me crazy. Sometimes made-up descriptions or words can be very effective. Here, they are not. I know that when the pages of my notes contain more grammar than story info, I am in trouble. Here’s a few examples:
- “stumping my toe in the ground”
- “screams built in my chest” (and that’s because she couldn’t get her locker open)
- “She spit an exasperated throat noise at me”
- “Her absence gonged in the silence”
- “short snippet” (I thought that all snippets are short)
- “tension licked his words”
- “Being alone with him tied my lungs in knots”
- “His brows crumbled in frustration”
- “My heart skipped in a faulty way”
- “it would have behooved me to actually know”
- “brooming it under the rug”
To Read or Not To Read: Choose something else.
Deceived by Julie Anne Lindsey was published September 18, 2013 by Merit Press. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Thank you to Merit Press.
Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary Mystery Thriller
Ages: 12 and up
You Might Want to Know: I can’t remember if there was any profanity, but I do believe there was underage drinking.