Review: “Death and the Girl Next Door” by Darynda Jones

Title: “Death and the Girl Next Door”

Author: Darynda Jones

Genre: YA, PNR, UF

Publication Date: October 2, 2012 (St. Martin’s Griffin/Macmillan – North America)

Source: NetGalley Review Copy

Summary: Ten years ago, Lorelei’s parents disappeared without a trace.  Raised by her grandparents and leaning on the support of her best friends, Lorelei is finally beginning to accept the fact that her parents are never coming home.  For Lorelei, life goes on.

High school is not quite as painful as she thinks it will be, and things are as normal as they can be.  Until the day the school’s designated loner, Cameron Lusk, begins to stalk her, turning up where she least expects it,  standing outside her house in the dark, night after night.  Things get even more complicated when a new guy—terrifying, tough, sexy Jared Kovach—comes to school.  Cameron and Jared instantly despise each other and Lorelei seems to be the reason for their animosity.  What does Jared know about her parents?  Why does Cameron tell Jared he can’t have Lorelei?  And what will any of them do when Death comes knocking for real?  Thrilling, sassy, sexy, and inventive, Darynda Jones’s first foray into the world of teens will leave readers eager for the next installment.

☆: 1.5/5 stars – great idea, but fell very flat very fast for me.

Review: Guys, I love Jones’ writing – but this just really didn’t work for me. Love triangle? Yep, it’s here. Lots of male posturing that felt endless? We got that too. Insta-love with creepster dudes? Tons of it. I just was so disappointed by this – in an era where “Twilight” has become the standard for YA complete with codependency, stalking/creepy boyfriends and insta-love, I’m sad to say that “Death and the Girl Next Door” lives up to that standard nearly completely.

I say “nearly completely” because there are some pretty redeeming qualities to it – the humor, the pacing, parts of the plot. But the rest just kind of spiraled into this mess of hot new guy meets girl who thinks she’s plain/ugly/etc, and the battle for her affection (and safety, though that’s pretty belated) begins.

Jared’s “hotness” took up a ridiculous amount of time and space within this book once he’s introduced. I mean, seriously. I DO NOT NEED TO BE READING PAGES AND PAGES ABOUT HOW HOT HE IS. I got it the first paragraph, Jones. I love your writing style, but this was just overkill to the max. And then we have the creepy stalker guy, who everyone jokes about, but no one seems to take seriously until the verbal sparring match between Cameron (creepy dude) and Jared takes place.

And even then, no one really does anything.

I can’t say how worrying that is for me. What kind of message does this send to a market so saturated in the message of “it’s okay to have a creepy stalker boyfriend and be codependent”? It bothered me. I am NOT okay with this. We don’t need another book with this message out there, so I can safely say that Jones, I love you, but you seriously let me down here.

Final verdict? A lot of people seem to be split on this book, so even though I would suggest avoiding it because there are many books like it out already, there are some interesting plot elements that are original and are worth taking a look at. “Death and the Girl Next Door” is out from St. Martin’s Griffin/Macmillan in North America, so check it out, come to your own conclusion about things.

One thought on “Review: “Death and the Girl Next Door” by Darynda Jones

  1. Pingback: usagi’s challenges for 2012! | birth of a new witch.

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