Title: Deadly Cool
Author: Gemma Halliday
Publication Date: Oct. 11th, 2011
Source: Purchased myself
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.
"'There are three things you never want to find in your boyfriend's locker: a sweaty jockstrap, a D minus on last week's history test, and an empty condom wrapper. Lucky me, I'd hit the trifecta."
In a Sentence
Though I wasn't the biggest fan of the ending, Deadly Cool was a quick and fun read with a wonderfully loveable main character who will definitely have me reading the sequel.
There are some days when I wish I had half-heart ratings because once again, I found myself debating over whether to give a book a three or a four. I finally settled on a three (mainly because of an issue I'll mention later), though it's a very high three. I was lucky enough to get Deadly Cool for less than $5 thanks to a coupon Barnes and Noble had out last week, so I snatched it right up. I had heard lots of great things about it around the book blogosphere and thankfully, the book mostly lived up to my expectations.
Picking up Deadly Cool was a relief for me because I had been in a somewhat fickle reading mood for the last few days. I kept going through my pile of books, trying a few pages here and there in order to find something that would keep my attention, but nothing really caught my interest until I fell in love with the first couple of lines of this book (which you can see above). I immediately dived into Deadly Cool and quickly developed a girl crush on the main character, Hartley. Seriously, if she was a real person, I'd be knocking down her door to introduce myself as her new best friend. Hartley is an intelligent, sarcastic, and all-around awesome character. Her witty comebacks had me laughing out loud off and on throughout the book, which I finished in two sittings. Gemma Halliday did a fabulous job of creating Hartley's character and utilized a certain cynical creativity to craft some very entertaining dialogue. For example:
"I rolled my eyes. 'Teenagers have sex, Caitlyn. Get over it.'
'Well, they shouldn't,' Caitlyn countered. 'It's wrong. They should be saving themselves. Our bodies are our temples. They should have a little more respect for themselves than that.'
'You know, I could have sworn I saw you shoveling Cheetos into your temple last week.'
'Oh, but I'm pretty sure those were nonfat,' Kaylee piped up.
Oh brother." (pp. 108-109).
This next one has to be my favorite:
"I'll go," he said.
"And that's safer because?"
"I'm a guy."
"Right, and having a pair of dingle balls makes you invincible how?" (p. 139).
Aside from being downright hilarious, at heart, Hartley is a really good person. After all, how many of you would waste nearly all your free time trying to clear your cheating scumbag of a boyfriend of murder charges when he just got done sleeping with the president of the Chastity Club when you wouldn't put out? Not to mention the cramp it puts on Hartley's social life. The cops are stalking her house in hopes of catching her sleezeball-but-not-the-murdering-type ex-boyfriend and she's the topic of all the good gossip as the girl whose guy got caught boinking another chick in the band room.
I also really liked the minor characters in Deadly Cool, especially Hartley's best friend, Sam, whose constant attempt to try to clean up her swear-like-a-sailor act kept me giggling. I also liked the quirkiness of Hartley's paranoid, tofu and Yogalates-obsessed Mom commonly referred to as the SMother. The minor characters (while minor, as the name suggests), played fairly strong parts in the story, which is nice to see in a category of literature where the development of secondary characters frequently falls by the wayside.
The one problem I had with Deadly Cool and the reason I decided to give it a three instead of a four was the ending. For those of you who know me well, you know I'm fairly good at seeing twists coming. However, I can honestly say that this wasn't the case with Deadly Cool. But this time, it wasn't a good thing. I don't want to ruin the ending, so I won't say too much, but let's just say that I thought the character who turned out to be the murderer was a liiiittle far-fetched. His/her motives for killing just didn't really seem enough to me, and as a result, I found the conclusion of Deadly Cool to be a bit 0ff-putting. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book as a whole and will definitely be picking up the sequel, Social Suicide, when it comes out in April.