Thursday, September 27, 2012

Book Review: Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones

Pages: 320
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pub. Date: October 2, 2012
Source: NetGalley
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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."

Lorelei lives with her grandparents because her parents vanished ten years ago.  Thankfully, she has two very good best friends, Brooklyn and Glitch, who support her completely.  Everything is pretty normal for Lorelei until Cameron Lusk starts stalking her.  Despite the fact that he's extremely good looking, Lorelei and her friends think it's completely strange as they aren't friends with him in the least. He's a major loner.  This ends up creeping Lorelei out.  To make matters worse, new guy, Jared, comes to her school and shows an interest in her; this seems to upset Cameron even further and there's an awkward moment where Cameron tells Jared that he cannot have Lorelei.  There's a mystery surrounding Lorelei's parents, Cameron and Jared, and as the story unfolds, Lorelei and her friends are determined to figure out what's going on.  Darynda Jones's first young adult novel, Death and the Girl Next Door, is entertaining at times, but follows the cliched young adult paranormal genre recipe and ends up being too formulaic and contrived.

Jones's writing style is overall enjoyable in Death and the Girl Next Door.  I found myself laughing at some of her one-liners. I thought they were brilliant and in turn, I really liked the snarky comments Lorelei and her friends would come up with.  On the other hand, some of the comments from Lorelei and her best friend, Brooklyn, were a bit too cheesy and teen-speakish.  For example, Brooklyn often says, "Holy Haagen Daz."  Seriously.

On a positive note, I liked the supporting characters of Brooklyn and Glitch. It's nice see a group of friends that are supportive of each other and shockingly, no one turned on the other. It's not often you see that in young adult literature and it warmed my heart.  Also, you are probably thinking that there's a pretty epic love triangle in Death and the Girl Next Door, but that's one of the aspects of the novel that I liked.  No love triangle! Thank you, Ms. Jones.

Cameron and Jared's hatred towards each other in Death and the Girl Next Door was instantly intriguing; however, Lorelei pretty much ruined it for me. She didn't ask enough questions or demand answers. She was pretty much obsessed with Jared and it took awhile for readers to figure out what's going on and/or get answers.  I don't know how she didn't ask the big questions right away, especially after witnessing Cameron and Jared's behavior towards each other.  Once readers finally get some answers and some backstory on these two brooding hotties, things start to make sense and come together; however, Jones doesn't answer all of our questions and leaves things open for book two, Death, Doom and Detention, which comes out March 5, 2013.

I don't think I fell in love with this new series, because it reminded me so much of P.C. Cast's House of Night series, which at first I enjoyed, but then it wore on me and I eventually broke up with it. Dare I say that I am getting bored by a lot of these young adult paranormal romance novels? Between the teen speak, the lack of answers, and the cookie-cutter paranormal plot, I wasn't too impressed.  However, go ahead and check out Death and the Girl Next Door for yourself, especially if you are a fan of Twilight, Fallen or the House of Night series.


  1. Hmmm..cookie-cutter paranormal plot. I've had enough of those to last me a lifetime. I requested this one from Netgalley, but I think I might give it a miss. I've read a lot of 'so-so' reviews.

    1. I hear you, Leanna. I usually don't mind love triangles and the predictable plot, but it bothered me with this book. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I'm sorry that this one proved disappointing. I'm tired of a lot of the YA paranormal staples such as the love triangle. While I'm glad this didn't have a love triangle (though the description makes it sound like it does) I think maybe I will try the author's series for adults (First Grave on the Right, etc.) instead.

    1. I hear her adult books are pretty entertaining. Maybe I will check out them instead. Thanks for visiting, Christina!

  3. Hmm, I don't know if I could get into a book where a character says "Holy Haagen Daz"....I'm pretty sure I'd just close the book at that point. Regardless, nice review! :)

  4. I'm not that interested in reading this book. The premise does sounds nice, but Twilight and Fallen weren't my favourite books.. Great review!

  5. I loved the whole series. I just wish there was more to it than just 3 books.


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