Author: Hannah Jayne
Genre: Thriller, Contemporary YA,
Publication Date: July 2, 2013
Source: Publisher-provided ARC via NetGalley
Synopsis: Sawyer Dodd has it all. She’s a star track athlete, choir soloist, and A-student. And her boyfriend is the handsome all-star Kevin Anderson. But behind the medals, prom pictures, and perfect smiles, Sawyer finds herself trapped in a controlling, abusive relationship with Kevin. When he dies in a drunk-driving accident, Sawyer is secretly relieved. She’s free. Until she opens her locker and finds a mysterious letter signed by “an admirer” and printed with two simple words: “You’re welcome.”
☆: 3.5/5 stars – One of the most deliciously creepy reads I’ve come across lately, but the resolution was a little troubling.
Books about people being stalked never fail to catch my attention. Stalking and vengeance are the two most fascinating dark facets of the human psyche and reading books about either one is the safest way for me to explore them. Truly, Madly, Deadly is a strong novel for fellow stalker-book fans, but the ending is a little… iffy, to say the least.
Jayne’s straighfoward prose and tight plotting keep the story moving with little time to stop worrying over what will happen to Sawyer. Some of the scenes she writes, such as Sawyer’s Spanish teacher getting a little closer than he should when she went over her Spanish test, creeped me out in the best possible way. Between her teacher’s very unprofessional behavior, her boyfriend’s recent death/possible murder, the anonymous murder confession from her stalker, and her ongoing recovery from an abusive relationship, Sawyer’s all sorts of messed up, lending her thoughts and actions throughout the novel a realistic touch. It’s sad to remember that millions of women experience what Sawyer does.
But speaking of everything Sawyer has recently been through, the romance she develops with a classmate feels out of place because we know she isn’t in a good place. She needs time to recover, not hurriedly develop what is supposed to be seen as a genuine romance. That and the mean girl antics from a former-friend-turned-bully take away from what could be a powerful story.
Now, I knew the ending was going to disappoint me because the theory I supported came right out of left field wearing a pink tinfoil hat. Seeing it jossed wasn’t a problem, actually. There wasn’t even disappointment at my theory not being the solution. What surprised me was how problematic the resolution of the stalker’s identity would be. In hindsight, it’s somewhat clear who they were, but… There’s not really a way to discuss it without going into spoilers I don’t want to go into, but we’ll leave it at how it plays into a very negative stereotype people have spent years fighting.
My review may seem to have more of a negative slant, but Sawyer’s growing paranoia and Jayne’s skill at conveying it are hard for me to convey properly. It’s got to be read to believed, Fellow readers who want to feel chills run up and down their spine and enjoy the stories of stalking from the safest possible perspective will love Truly, Madly, Deadly. Jayne has another thriller called See Jane Run coming out in 2014 and it’s already on my to-read list.