Published by Walker Childrens on September 17, 2013
Source: ARC borrowed thru Around the World ARC Tours
Rachel died at two a.m . . . Three hours after Skyler kissed me for the first time. Forty-five minutes after she sent me her last text.
Jaycee and Rachel were best friends. But that was before. . .before that terrible night at the old house. Before Rachel shut Jaycee out. Before Jaycee chose Skyler over Rachel. Then Rachel is found dead. The police blame a growing gang problem in their small town, but Jaycee is sure it has to do with that night at the old house. Rachel’s text is the first clue—starting Jaycee on a search that leads to a shocking secret. Rachel’s death was no random crime, and Jaycee must figure out who to trust before she can expose the truth.
In the follow-up to her powerful debut, Jennifer Shaw Wolf keeps readers on their toes in another dark, romantic story of murder and secrets.
~ Interestingly enough, this is not the first book that I’ve read this year that began with Dead Girls Don’t. Previously I listened to the audio book of Dead Girls Don’t Write Letters by Gail Levine.
~ Jaycee has a real character arc. In the beginning of the book she’s very docile and rule abiding, and even her sneaking out to a party is typically lame for her- she’s not going to get drunk and hook up like so many teens. She is, in fact, the kind of teenage daughter any parent could hope to have. Not that her character does a 180 or anything, because she stays true to who she is all along, she just grows up and becomes more independent.
~ Jaycee’s dad is SUPER over-protective. But it’s nice to see a single father who isn’t neglectful, uncaring or absent (although his work as a lawyer does give Jaycee time to play Nancy Drew undetected). The relationship between father and daughter is a loving one, and lying to him is something that Jaycee struggles with.
~ Jaycee has a lot of guilt over Rachel’s death- which is realistic. She did ignore her ex-best friend’s text the night she died (because she was getting kissed by Skyler!), and she lied about not having read it. I don’t blame her for ignoring the text though, friend break-ups can be harsher than relationship break-ups.
~ I totally pictured Skyler as Skylar Astin who plays Jesse in Pitch Perfect. This totally tainted how I saw his character so I don’t recommend doing it. Skyler is not Jesse. Hell, Skylar Astin probably isn’t much like Jesse either since Jesse is the perfect movie boyfriend.
~ A year ago, Jaycee went with Rachel to an abandoned house and something bad happened. This was the beginning of the end of their friendship, but it takes awhile before we learn all that went down in there. I loved this because it was very creepy and horror movie like.
~ Later, Jaycee learns that Manny, a boy who had recently moved to town and attends the same high school, was murdered in the abandoned house, gang style.
~ Jaycee has had a crush on Evan Cross most of her hormonal life, but now she’s more into Skyler Cross.
~ The Cross boys are a sexy, if strange, bunch. Their dad is an ass though.
~ Through a series of clues that Rachel left being in notes, texts, videos and photos, Jaycee finds herself drawn into the mystery of Rachel’s murder. Just a note for my friends- leave everything you want to tell me in one place, I am far to lazy and scaredy-cat to go poking around places and putting together clues. Just saying. If you want me to avenge your death, find your killer, destroy that one box in your closet you don’t want your family to find, whatever, don’t make me jump through hoops.
~ Like in most real life scenarios, playing Nancy Drew can be dangerous. There were several tense and worrying moments for Jaycee in the book that had me on the edge of my seat.
~ I figured out several aspects of the mystery before they were revealed, but I didn’t figure everything out. I really enjoyed how things unfolded and how most things were tied together. One “clue” however, got dropped by the author and I think it was an oversight. It has to do with a prescription bottle Jaycee finds. It’s never mentioned again but I think the author meant to go back to it if that makes sense.
~ I read this book almost completely in one day (to be fair, it’s only because I couldn’t resist starting the book before bedtime the night before when I should have been sleeping). It’s definitely a page turner.
~ Jaycee felt very real. Even though she was breaking a lot of the rules she’s previously lived by, it didn’t really clash with who she was at her core.
~ Although, I did yell at her sometimes because she was a little too forgiving of a few book boys’ behavior. Honestly, I’m a little worried about her ability to read people. I feel like Jaycee is one of those young girls who could end up marrying an abusive man, and that’s probably my biggest issue with the book.
~ But I have to give the author credit- she writes abusive relationships in a realistic way. Her previous book, Breaking Beautiful, has stayed with me. Which is impressive, because I read a lot and not every book stands out.
Jaycee– self-described goodie-goodie, lives a very sheltered life until she’s thrust into a murder investigation.
Rachel– one time best friend of Jaycee’s, super gorgeous, dead.
Skyler– youngest brother in the Cross clan, he likes photography and spending time with Jaycee in between farm chores and texting Jaycee.
Evan- middle Cross brother, golden boy and huge flirt. Ladies are drawn to him like… well, us to a book store.
Eric- town sheriff and hottie oldest Cross brother. Sheriffs are often very sexy in books and movies, but that has not been a stereotype that seems to be based on real life.
Claire- shallow “friend” from school and church. The kind of girl parents think they want their daughters to be, but wouldn’t if they could see behind her facade.
Taylor- friends with Claire, she’s also shallow, but super flirty too.
Araceli- Rachel’s mom. There’s a bit of a spark between her and Jaycee’s dad. I would have liked seeing more of her.
Travis Draper- attorney and Jaycee’s heliocopter daddy. He needs to unclench now and then.
Manny- murder victim, cousin to Eduardo.
Eduardo– Rachel tells Jaycee that she can trust him (in a message from beyond… sort of). Ex-gang member with a huge chip on his shoulder, he’s determined to get vengeance for Manny and Rachel.
The Cast of Friday Night Lights- okay, not really, but there are several supporting characters who play football and are in Jaycee’s circle.
Two moments stand out the most. The first is when Jaycee is swimming across the lake and gets tangled in what she thinks is dead Rachel’s hair. Seriously freaked me out and I’m surprised that it hasn’t made it’s way into my nightmares. the second is Skylar’s picture taking session with Jaycee in the moonlight. It was both romantic and morbid- which is the way to this midnight book girl’s heart!
Stop the Clock
A great second novel! I’m always anxious about the sophomore slump that so many promising writers hit (possibly the pressure is too much?), but Jennifer Shaw Wolf has no problem matching her previous success. Now that I’ve read and enjoyed two of her books, Wolf will be on my auto-read list.
Dead Girls Don’t Lie gets a Midnight Book Rating of: