Author: Suzy Cox
Genre: YA, mystery, crime, paranormal
Publication Date: September 18, 2012 (HarperTeen – North America)
Source: Publisher-provided ARC/Edelweiss Review Copy
Summary: Pop quiz: What would you do if you had to solve your own murder to get anywhere in death?
Maybe if I hadn’t slept through my alarm, slammed into Kristin–my high school’s reigning mean
girl–or stepped in a puddle, destroying my mom’s new suede DVF boots (which I borrowed without asking), I wouldn’t have been in the wrong place at the wrong time, and I wouldn’t have been pushed in front of that arriving train. But I did, and I was.
When I came to, I was informed by a group of girls that I’m dead. And that because I died under mysterious circumstances, I can’t pass straight over to the Other Side. But at least I’m not alone. Meet the Dead Girls Detective Agency: Nancy, Lorna, and Tess–not to mention Edison, the really cute if slightly hostile dead boy. Apparently, the only way out of this limbo is to figure out who killed me, or I’ll have to spend eternity playing Nancy Drew. Considering I was fairly invisible in life, who could hate me enough to want me dead? And what if my murderer is someone I never would have suspected?
☆: 2/5 stars – fascinating concept but very poorly developed.
Review: Not gonna lie, guys, but I was pretty disappointed by this one. The blurb made it sound awesome but what I read was…not so much. I think I was really into the idea of this book instead of what I actually got, and that’s never fun. I liked the general idea and the direction where things were going, but unfortunately, I think “The Dead Girls Detective Agency” needed a few more drafts to smooth out the rough edges to get ready for primetime.
The general plot of this book, as I said, is pretty awesome – Charlotte dies, but is stuck in limbo. She can’t go on to the Great Beyond until she solves her own murder and gets her Key – the thing that will let her beyond the Big Red Door (not a joke, that’s what it’s called) and into the afterlife. She’s not alone – she lives at Hotel Attesia, a place where other murdered teens are struggling to solve their own deaths, a place where the living can’t see them. And the clock is ticking.
Sounds great, right? Lots of mystery to be had, possible romance with the resident bad boy in the hotel, etc?
Not so much. There was an incredible amount of filler, and the humor, where it attempted to be funny and snarky just really fell flat. The world was built adequately, but just barely so – I only got a semi-solid feeling that Attesia was a real place, and even in a somewhat-comtemporary YA genre novel there needs to be worldbuilding. The characters, including Charlotte, fell extremely flat, felt very 1D, and generally, the whole thing just needed a few more drafts to iron out all of the rough edges and breathe everything else into life.
Final verdict? If you’re a fan of YA murder mysteries, you might want to go elsewhere as this one was pretty disappointing. But that’s just how I feel about it – “Dead Girls Detective Agency” is out now from HarperTeen in North America so be sure to check it out and come to your own conclusion about this book.