Published by Katherine Tegen Books on June 3rd, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, YA
Source: ARC borrowed thru Around the World ARC Tours
Filled with surprising twists and poignant moments, Lauren Sabel brings a fresh new voice to contemporary fiction with Vivian Divine Is Dead. Creepy, clever, funny, and romantic.
When a death threat arrives with teen celebrity Vivian Divine's fan mail, Vivian has no choice but to go on the run to Mexico. She soon discovers, though, that her Oscar-nominated performance killing villains on-screen did nothing to prepare her for escaping a madman in real life. Some people say he's a hero, others tremble in his presence, but one thing is clear: he won't stop until Vivian is in his grasp. Why didn't she pay more attention during those judo lessons for her role in Zombie Killer?
Vivian finds an ally in the mysterious and charming Nick. He is everything Hollywood boys are not-genuine, kind, and determined to see Vivian for who she really is. But even he seems like he can't be trusted-what could he be hiding?
Beat up, hungry, and more confused than ever about who she's running from, Vivian is living in a real-life blockbuster horror flick. But there's no option to yell "cut" like there is on set....
Lauren Sabel's Vivian Divine Is Dead is a creepy, witty, fast-paced adventure about family, fame, and having the courage to save yourself.
~ I signed up for this tour bases mostly on the title and cover. I don’t think I read the synopsis, because I think I thought this book was going to be about a dead teen starlet. But it’s not, or at least the teen starlet is very much alive when the book begins, although her life is in terrible danger.
~ That said, it took me a little while to get into the book, because I wasn’t sure where it was going and something happened early on to make me question whether or not I thought Vivian was smart enough to capture my attention. The answer ended up being yes, once Vivian was on her own, the story and my interest picked up considerable pace.
~ Vivian isn’t just a teen movie star, she is the product of the industry- her kidnapped and murdered mother was once a movie star, and her suicidal dad is a movie director- an extremely weird one at that. Although, are there any normal movie directors? Do we want there to be?
~ After receiving a very specific death threat (not the I’m-gonna-kill-you variety, but an actual this-is-how-you-will-die complete with future broadcasts of news about her death), Vivian is sent off to Mexico by her bodyguard, who had previously tried to help her mother run from a similar threat.
~ Vivian has a Mrs. Doubtfire kind of makeover because she has all kinds of movie props- wig, contacts, etc. Because otherwise she’d just be too recognizable. I thought this was a clever way to get her out of the country safely. And of course, if you have enough money, fake id and passports are easy peasy to obtain. Sometimes, when my library fines get too high, I too wish I had a fake id so that I could start all over again with a new library card. Sigh.
~ On the very first part of her journey, Vivian’s bag containing her money and id is stolen. Then she meets cute with Nick- she’s suspicious of him, he thinks she’s a spoiled brat. Despite this, they start traveling together.
~ Vivian and Nick’s relationship reminded me a lot of Chasing Liberty- where Mandy Moore is the runaway President’s daughter, and the yummy Matthew Goode is the government dude who poses as just a dude to help look after her while she manic pixies her way around Europe. Then she’s so mad when she finds out the truth. Only, Nick is not sent by the POTUS to help Vivian.
~ Along the way to her Mexican destination, Vivian ends up on her own again (although she has Honey). As much as I like romance in my stories, Vivian on her own was a lot more of a compelling story. She does end up depending on the kindness of strangers, but that’s just another way of being resourceful.
~ One of my favorite things about this book was that it really contained a lot of Mexican culture, especially since Vivian is on the run during Day of the Dead celebrations. Setting the book in Mexico isn’t just a ploy to get V out of her comfort zone, it’s really a secondary character.
~ One of my least favorite things were all the incredible coincidences and the fact that I foresaw a lot of the mystery reveals. But I enjoyed the journey to the answers, even if I already had them. Also, I’m not sure why Vivian had to have a cheating boyfriend hooking up with her gorgeous bff. That seemed a bit much.
~ There is a cemetery ya’ll. A big one. That only the womenfolk can be in. Also, up until recently, loved ones had to “rent” graves for there deceased loved ones, and if they didn’t pay? Their loved one got dug up. That is some freaky shiz.
~ When Vivian finally discovers who is behind her death threat and why, the book got a little silly. It was very… Spanish soap operaish? Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because have you ever seen a Spanish soap opera? Because they’re kind of awesome and dramatic. However, this is where a lot of convenient coincidences come into play.
~ I liked the ending- it’s not the one I was expecting (since I thought the romance was going to be a bigger part of the story then it turned out to be). Well, I expected some of it, but I liked it anyway.
Vivian Divine- broken hearted over the death of her mother, and recently devastated by her boyfriend and bestfriend’s hookup on national tv, she’s also on the run for her life in Mexico.
Nick- mysterious boy who helps Vivian in Mexico, but all is not what it seems with him.
Honey- an awesome goat. Seriously, I want a goat now.
Scars- one of the men after Vivian
*I apologize, but I can’t find my notes at the moment so those are the only names I can recall offhand. I know, fail. Please forgive me.
Hands down, the scene where Vivian is on the run after yet another attack on her life, and she’s got Honey the goat with her, and they’re set upon by a pack of wild dogs. It was tense, and if I hadn’t already liked Vivian and Honey, I certainly did by the end of the chapter.
Stop the Clock:
This is a cute book that I’d share with my nieces. Well, maybe cute isn’t the right word since there is gruesome murders and kidnapping and drug dealers. But, seriously, ya’ll just don’t know my nieces, we are all down with that kind of shiz.
Vivian Divine Is Dead gets a Midnight Book rating of: