I loved Deadly Cool, so when Ashlynn offered to send me her ARC of Social Suicide... well, let's just say she's my new best friend (my affections are easily bought, it seems).
Book: Social Suicide by Gemma Halliday
Summary: Hartley Featherstone is back and, like Stephanie Plum, she has a tendency to stumble upon dead bodies. When a mean-girl, recently suspended for cheating, is found face down in her swimming pool, it looks like suicide. But Harley knows it's not and she is determined to find out the truth, track down the killer, and break the story in the school newspaper.
Characters: Hartley is all kinds of awkward, but in a way that is hilarious and so easy to relate to. She is smart, but still remains a bit naive, which makes her incredibly realistic as a teenager. She is always getting herself in bad situations and while I occasionally saw them coming, I was never frustrated that she didn't. Chase adds the kind of drama I crave in fun books. He's smart and ambitious and funny, but he's giving Hartley mixed signals. I loved getting to know him better in this book and can't wait to see him again in book three (there's going to be a book three, right?).
The rest of the characters are just as quirky and easy to like. Hartley's best friend Sam has decided not to curse, so she has a very imaginitive vocabulary (again). She also is at the point in her relationship where she is coordinating outfits with her boyfriend. Yeah... Hartley thinks it's weird, too. At home, Hartley's over protective mother has decided to start dating again. It's sweet in a hilarious way and her boyfriend... loved it!
Plot/Pacing: This book moves fast and feels a bit like an old time detective film. The actual mystery fell flat for me--I knew going in that it would be a little ridiculous, but Halliday did a good job of keeping me invested. I do need to say that I cared more about Hartley impressing Chase with her story than I did about the murder.
I called the killer at the beginning, but it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book, because there is so much going on. Hartley tracking down the killer weaves perfectly with the romantic tension between her and Chase AND her mother's new venture into dating. I read this book in one sitting and giggled the entire time.
Moments I Loved: Chase invites Hartley out a few times and she keeps thinking it's a date. She gets all dolled up and then... not dates. SO AWKWARD. But sweet and adorable and I couldn't stop smiling. I did have to put the book down EVERY SINGLE TIME, because I was dying on Hartley's behalf.
WTF Moments: Finding out the killer's motivation was a bit of a let down. I believed that the killer would kill to protect his/her secrets, but those secrets seemed implausible. E-mail me if you want the spoiler version where I discuss in more detail.
Overall: I so wanted to give this one 5/5. It is super fun and Chase is one of my all time favorite love interests. He made me giggle the whole time and Hartley is adorable. I suspended my disbelief for the mystery, because this is high school and Hartley is not Veronica Mars, but at the end, even within Hartley's ridiculous world that I have already bought in to, I just didn't think the killer's motivation was strong enough. But that is a minor complaint for a book that I couldn't put down and had me smiling the whole time.
Reading Challenges: This book counts toward the following challenges: 277 pages of the 15,000 page challenge. Track all my progress on my 2012 Challenges page.