by Dawn Klehr
Published by Flux Release date : October 8th 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery/Thriller, Young Adult
Source: The Publisher | Format: eARC
Purchase at: Amazon (Affiliate Link) • The Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads
Behind-the-scenes secrets could turn deadly for Desmond and Riley
Life in the Heights has never been easy for seventeen-year-old Riley Frost, but when she's publicly dumped and outed at the same time, she becomes an immediate social outcast at her high school. So Riley swears off romance and throws herself into solving the shocking murder of her favorite teacher, Ms. Dunn.
Riley turns to her best friend, budding filmmaker Desmond Brandt, for help. What she doesn't know is that Dez has been secretly directing her life, blackmailing her friends, and hoping his manipulations will make her love him. When his schemes go too far, Dez's web of lies threatens to destroy both of their lives.
I received this book for free from The Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Ya know, when I requested this book I could have sworn it was a murder mystery. That’s not to say that it isn’t a murder mystery, because it is (kinda) but there is more to it than that. I have this small nagging thought that the blurb was changed; since I actually got this book months ago. I doubt it though. I couldn’t tell what was up and what was down and what the heck was going on. It was a jumbled mess.
So, plot one/two. We have Riley. Who is confused about her sexuality, was outed in public and is now taking a hit from her classmates. She decided to concentrate on her film studies and prepare for upcoming auditions at a few colleges. As well as investigating the murder of her teacher. Enter Dez; Riley’s
over obsessive stalker best friend. He too, is a film nut but has taken his “directing skills” and uses said skills or direct and to orchestrate Riley’s love life. Now, for plot three. The “murder mystery”. The stabbing of Ms. Dunn, Riley’s favorite teacher. In a small community, the murder has shaken everyone. With no leads on who the killer is and a sudden “clue” to what happened, Riley takes the investigation into her own hands.
*sigh* First off; there are these flash back scenes, usually from Dez POV, that are in written like a screen play. At first, this was really irritating and I almost DNF after about the third one. But as that became more and more apparent, I enjoyed them. It became my favorite aspect of the book. It was different and quite fascinating how she was able to articulate that into the story. Sadly that, and only one other small detail, is what I could appreciate.
Had this been just a book about a confused girl, trying to find her way and with her crazy ass best friend interfering and “directing” her life; I would have really enjoyed it. Riley is confused about her sexuality. I think they may be a common thing in teens and Dawn handled that well. She is teased about it at school and even has a holier than thou snobby girl trying to correct her “sins”. Dez and his
love obsession was slightly off-putting yet entertaining. I felt like this was more a notion of “you want what you can’t have” and he went far beyond what i thought a teenage boy was capable of. There’s something about getting into the head of someone with.. issues.
As far as the murder; after the first part of the book, it wasn’t really mentioned again. THEN came back into play towards the end. I didn’t figure out the killer, because for 1.) I didn’t care and 2.) Looking back, the clues were obvious and I should have figured it out but there was just thrown in there. Honestly, the whole thing was anticlimactic and I could have done without the whole thing.
My Peeve- Can I just say the whole thing? No? OK. There are a lot. The anticlimactic murder mystery. The jumbled mess of the writing. Also, the chapter are labeled by POV and while I don’t usually care about typos and such, it really screws things up when you mislabel the POV. Just sayin. The snide comments on “praying away the gay” got to me too.
Overall- This just didn’t work for me. There was just too much going, yet, nothing happening at the same time. It had potential to be good. Sadly, lack of execution and too many subplots made this book a hot mess. Not for me, but give it a try! You might like it.