Friday, April 19, 2013

BOOK REVIEW: Social Suicide by Gemma Halliday


Social Suicide is a 2012 YA/Mystery Book written by Gemma Halliday and is the second novel in the Deadly Cool series. The book was released on April 24, 2012 by HarperTeen and its ISBN is 0062003321. I imported this title from Amazon US as it seems to not have been released in the UK. I purchased this book.

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS FROM THE FIRST BOOK.


PLOT

Twittercide: the killing of one human being by another while the victim is in the act of tweeting.

Call me crazy, but I figured writing for the Herbert Hoover High Homepage would be a pretty sweet gig. Pad the resume for college applications, get a first look at the gossip column, spend some time ogling the paper's brooding bad-boy editor, Chase Erikson. But on my first big story, things went . . . a little south. What should have been a normal interview with Sydney Sanders turned into me discovering the homecoming queen-hopeful dead in her pool. Electrocuted while Tweeting. Now, in addition to developing a reputation as HHH's resident body finder, I'm stuck trying to prove that Sydney's death wasn't suicide.

I'm starting to long for the days when my biggest worry was whether the cafeteria was serving pizza sticks or Tuesday Tacos. . . .

WHY I BOUGHT THIS

I loved the first novel and was always going to look this up in fact I do believe that this was available or at least announced before I even took delivery of Deadly Cool. It manages to remand me of two decades ago (sheesh I’m old) when I was happily working my way through the 50 or so Hardy Boys books (wasn’t a Nancy Drew kind of guy). Deadly Cool also manages to stay current with believable characters (as believable as this many murders at one school can be) and stay funny and entertaining to. That left me with little doubt that this book would be more of the same.

WHAT I THOUGHT

Pretty much what I was expecting which is an extremely good thing. Hartley is actually more fun now that she has dropped that idiot boyfriend of hers and has stopped questioning herself about his choice to cheat. It is nice to read a female protagonist with a little self confidence.

Hartley or Death Magnet as I affectionately like to call her is on the case again and we slip easily into another one of her crazy cases. There has to be somewhat of a suspension of disbelief because well most of us would hope that there aren’t as many reasons as these for things at a high school to end in multiple murders but move past that and you get an engaging storyline with realistic characters.

One of the best aspects of Social Suicide and the Deadly Cool series is how realistic the high school community seems to me, it is a reasonably sized school so the protagonist doesn’t automatically know everyone in her year and there does seem to be a good mixture of social groups interacting though to be fair I am struggling to think of any prominent non-white characters but I might have missed one or two because of how fast I burned through this book.

Her will they, won’t they with the dark bad boy editor is reasonably interesting but I think it doesn’t quite work for me as I’m a guy and I just don’t see him being that passive unless he is either really shy or has some serious unrevealed issues. In the real world especially in high school guys just wouldn’t wait around that long but I digress because this is not the first time I have come up against a YA book that tends to portray boys/men in unrealistic ways.

I think that can be the first of only two issues I have with Social Suicide the second being that it is so short, it only took me three hours to get through it. That is pretty much a daily commute for me, or more likely for me an interview trip. I prefer bigger reads where possible.

The best aspect of this book is how Hartley pretty logically works through the suspects and after a little coaxing she really shows off her detective skills though some of her choices come across as a little ridiculous and only made to move the plot on “Why yes why wouldn’t I meet you alone at night on the wrong side of town and tell no one where I’m going”. I think that could be worked on for the next book but we will see.

In closing if you are looking for a modern Nancy Drew with a little romance thrown in Deadly Cool is a series worth adding to your TBR list in fact it should be first on there as I can’t think of another YA mystery series off the top of my head. If you have already picked up Deadly Cool then Social Suicide is definitely worth checking out.

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