Deadly Cool by Gemma Halliday

DeadlyCoolTitle: Deadly Cool

Author: Gemma Halliday

Genre: Mystery

Publisher: HarperTeen

Pages: 320

Rating: 4/5

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.

Coming into this book, I had already read a positive review of it, praising the book for being a fun and light-hearted read. Based on the synopsis, I was prepared for plenty of laughs giggles. This book didn’t quite make me laugh out loud at all, but there were plenty of funny moments and it certainly fit the idea of a fast read (I read it in one afternoon, back during Thanksgiving break). I wasn’t quite sure what I thought of it after I finished it, but looking back on it, even by the next day, my attitude toward it improved.

The main character was a bit of a problem for me. Most of the time she kind of annoyed me, though not as much as her friend did. She wasn’t always the smartest; for example, see the two times she goes out into a deserted field behind her school at midnight while a murderer is running around, the second time after finding a recently killed body while there the first time. As the book went on, though, she didn’t annoy me as much, although I can’t say the same for the ex-boyfriend accused of murder – as the story goes on, I don’t blame Hartley for throwing him to the curb after all that he put her through. Even though he was the main suspect that Hartley was helping, though, he didn’t show up that much, and didn’t really flesh out as a character, so that could explain for some of my annoyances in regards to him.

The mystery was a bit interesting, though. I had ideas of who it was, yet couldn’t pin it down on just one person. When the killer was revealed at the end in a very dramatic climax (at least, dramatic for such a ‘light’ book), I was pleasantly surprised – though the killer made sense based on the rest of the book, it wasn’t an obvious one that anyone could see from the very beginning. The best kind of mystery is the one where you can see it once it’s been revealed, not necessarily before.

I know this is a short review, but like I said, this was a fairly ‘light’ book. I don’t like throwing that word around too much, because it makes it sound like it’s automatically a cheaper form of literature or something just because it’s not full of dramatic melodrama or leaves the reader on the edge of their seat at all times. Despite that, that adjective works well for this book, making the book enjoyable rather than silly. It was a great debut and I definitely plan on picking up the next book, which sounds like it’ll deliver the same fun as this book. But, even if you don’t like the book, you can always stare at the cover – you’ve got to admit that it’s pretty, especially those eyes.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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