Review: ‘Death and the Girl Next Door’ by Darynda Jones

Rating: 3

The Low Down: Lorelei McAlister lives with her grandparents in the smaller than small town of Riley’s Switch, New Mexico. Her parents disappeared ten years ago, and, though Lorelei was with them at the time, she remembers nothing at all about the incident. She spends her time going to school, helping out at her grandparents’ store and hanging out with her two best friends, Brooklyn and Glitch. Life’s predictable and boring. Well, almost. On occasion, Lorelei has visions.

Things start to get a little strange when Lorelei notices that Cameron, the school loner, is stalking her, even going as far as hanging out all night by her house. Then, as she passes a stranger in the coffee shop, she gets a vision from him. Who is he? Disappearing from the coffee shop, he shows up the next day as a new student at the high school. Breathtakingly handsome, mysterious and – what? – seemingly interested in Lorelei.

Then when Lorelei is run over, then un-run over, by a delivery van, a camera crew in town to film at a local landmark starts to follow Lorelei around. Jared saved her in that accident most unusually and she has to know more. When she’s not spending time trying to keep Jared and Cameron from killing each other, that is. Then the secret is out: Jared is the Angel of Death, and he has dared to tamper with and break some rules by saving Lorelei. Because of his feeling toward her, a human. But is her makeup more than human?

Best Thang ‘Bout It: I was so excited when I found out that Darynda Jones had penned a Young Adult novel. I absolutely love her Charley Davidson series and am, at this very moment, panting for the next one (I’m next in line at the library). She’s a fab writer who can really set a mood, make well-rounded characters and keep you interested in what you’re reading. In this tale, Brooklyn and Glitch are the best. The story is well-paced.

I’m Cranky Because: Maybe I was too excited about this one, so my hopes were higher than they should have been. This book was missing some of the snap and sparkle and sexiness that her adult books wear like a second skin. I know she has to tone down some things for this younger audience, but I never felt even a low simmer. I don’t know if Lorelei needed more sass, ‘cause Brooklyn has it in buckets, but she needed more dimension, I guess. Jared was a tiny bit of a cardboard cut-out for me, too. I thought the secondary characters were much better defined.

To tell the truth, an angel story really has to knock my socks off these days, especially if they are of the fallen angel/Nephilim genre. There are many really good stories that have been out for a while that are, well, a little more interesting. This is a series, so maybe this book was supposed to be mostly set-up? Yes, there was a complete story arc here, but I needed a little more action.

And, to make a really stupid comment, I like my angel stories to be a little less (wait for it – here is comes) religious.

Should You?: I had a vision where I saw you reading it. You liked it.

Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones was published on October 2, 2012 by St. Martin’s Griffin.

Genre: Young Adult Fiction Fantasy Paranormal Romance Angels
Ages: 12 and up

Find this book at Amazon and Abe Books.

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