Saturday, March 3, 2012

Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday

Title: Deadly Cool
Author: Gemma Halliday
Publisher: HarperCollins/HarperTeen
Release Date: October 11, 2011
Pages: 303 pages (paperback)
How I Got the Book: ARC found at a used bookstore

Hartley Grace Featherstone is having a very bad day. First she finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her with the president of the Herbert Hoover High School Chastity Club. Then he's pegged as the #1 suspect in a murder. And if that weren't enough, now he's depending on Hartley to clear his name. Seriously? Not cool.

But as much as Hartley wouldn't mind seeing him squirm, she knows he's innocent, and she's the only one who can help him. Along with her best friend, Sam, and the school's resident Bad Boy, Chase, Hartley starts investigating on her own. But as the dead bodies begin to pile up, the mystery deepens, the suspects multiply, and Hartley begins to fear that she may be the killer's next victim.


After a frustrating week in books that had me reading one book not worth its good word and another that drove me up the wall with its poor quality, I needed something warm, fluffy, and assuredly good to get me back in the reading spirit. Deadly Cool was promised to be as much and I'm happy to say she came through for me. Let's get back to the good stuff, folks!

Hartley's snarky voice made me giggle a few times and got full-on fits of laughter out of me twice, and laughing fits are not that easy to get from me. Ask my friends. They've been trying for years. I had a few writing niggles (pop culture references and starting too many sentences with conjunctions bug me), but they were easily forgotten every time Hartley made a cheeky, witty observation. That she had a good enough moral compass to help her ex Josh even though he cheated on her (and I loved seeing her chew him out for that) won me over too.

Her, best friend Sam, and ... (I'll talk about it in the next paragraph) Chase's often bumbling attempts at investigating the murders kept me smiling, and I quickly found myself genuinely invested in where their investigation would lead them. For such a funny book, the final scene with the killer was incredibly tense. I couldn't read quickly enough! Maybe I could have caught the killer's identity beforehand if I'd been paying enough attention, but I didn't see their identity coming for once. Three cheers for books that don't feel predictable!

Speaking of Chase, I'm not sure exactly who he is. He seems like a mix of all the general YA male lead characteristics someone could think of off the top of their head. Bad boy that goes commando? Check! Broad and buff like a football player? Check! Occasional writer of love poems? Check! Such a hodgepodge of characteristics could have blended more naturally, but he felt like exactly what I just called him: a hodgepodge of characteristics.

If you need a good pick-up book after a rough week, Hartley's story of lies, murder, an snooping for a killer despite thinking the main suspect is a "craptastical, gutless, son-of-a-cactus-humping butt monkey" is sure to cure what ails you. All you need is a good suspension of disbelief.

4 stars!

What am I reading next?: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa