Saturday, May 5, 2012

Social Suicide by Gemma Halliday

Title: Social Suicide
Author: Gemma Halliday
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 24, 2012
Pages: 277 pages (paperback)
How I Got the Book: Bought it.
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon; Barnes & Noble; Book Depository

Twittercide [twit-er-sahyd]: 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...


Hartley Featherstone is back and finding dead bodies again! Oh, fluff. Unfortunately, I was a little less charmed by her this time around. I still enjoyed myself and was glad for the distraction Hartley's antics provided, but I think she went a little too far.

Characterization isn't this series' strong point--you only need to look at the characterization of girls like Jenni Pritchard ("our school's answer to Snooki") and the cheerleaders to figure that out--but Hartley's narrative voice is charming and makes it easy to forget about the flaws of the novel. She takes us into a mystery full of twists, turns, and egos big enough to fill up a few swimming pools. It's more predictable this time, but figuring out who Twittercided Sydney is no less fun for it.

It can't be left unsaid that this book--no, this series--is over-the-top in the best of ways. Their melodramatic ways give the series some of its comedy and it's why I loved the first book so much. This installment was more often trying to be over the top and failing by ending up spreadeagle on the unfunny side of the fence. Breaking into the school at night to prove it could be done by someone coming in to get test answers? Sneaking into a hospital and interrogating a guy who very nearly got murdered while trying to meet Hartley? That's not so funny. That's blindly stupid for the former and astronomically insensitive for the latter.

(And do people out in California really dress up for homecoming in tuxes and Jessica Rabbit-esque dresses like it's prom? It's either the book being unrealistic again or we Floridians and our dressy-casual homecomings are just different.)

Why would Mr. Tipkins leave all his ungraded papers at school only to come back later at night with the intent to grade the papers then? He had the free time for grading, as evidenced by him coming back in the first place, and it didn't seem like he'd forgotten the papers. Why not save gas and grade the papers in the comfort of his own home? It was such a lazy plot contrivance meant to get Hartley and Chase shoved in a closet together that I couldn't enjoy their scene. And I would have if it hadn't been for that niggling contrivance!

But speaking of Hartley and Chase... They're so adorable! I don't squee over very many couples, but their banter is so cute and their chemistry is so hot that I just can't help it. If I could, I would make little stuffed dolls of these two just so I could clutch them to my chest when I'm in a squeeing mood or I'm remembering something they did.

It may sound like I disliked the novel, but I really didn't. Social Suicide was a worthy sequel and an enjoyable standalone novel in its own right. Just bring a suspension of disbelief and you should be fine.

Is this your first time hearing about the Deadly Cool series and you're a U.S. Kindle owner? Then you're in luck! For who knows how long, the first novel of the series, Deadly Cool, is just $2.99 for Nooks and Amazon Kindles! I recommend it if you're in a bad mood and need something to cheer you up. The deal might not be a deal for long, so get it while you can!

3 stars!

What am I reading next?: Glow by Amy Kathleen Ryan