SOCIAL SUICIDE (Deadly Cool #2)Gemma Halliday
Contemporary Young Adult
Available April 24th
Received from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)Twittercide [twit-er-sahyd]: the killing of one human being by another while the victim is in the act of tweeting.
Call me crazy, but I figured writing for the Herbert Hoover High Homepage would be a pretty sweet gig. Pad the resume for college applications, get a first look at the gossip column, spend some time ogling the paper’s brooding bad-boy editor, Chase Erikson. But on my first big story, things went... a little south. What should have been a normal interview with Sydney Sanders turned into me discovering the Homecoming Queen-hopeful dead in her pool. Electrocuted while Tweeting. Now, in addition to developing a reputation as HHH’s resident body finder, I’m stuck trying to prove that Sydney’s death wasn’t suicide.
I’m starting to long for the days when my biggest worry was whether the cafeteria was serving pizza sticks or Tuesday Tacos...
MY THOUGHTSSocial Suicide is a cute follow up to Gemma Halliday’s young adult debut Deadly Cool, drawing us laughingly back into Hartley’s world as she stumbles across yet another dead body and takes it upon herself to play the inexperienced and somewhat inept detective. Though the humor and the fun relationships between Hartley, her best friend Sam, and high school newspaper bad-boy editor Chase are light and entertaining, this installment does seem to read a touch younger than the first book, an abundance of the word “dude” in the dialog regardless of the age or gender of the speaker as well as some other prominent teenage slang making the characters more caricatures of high school students than they appeared to be previously. Knowing that going in however, it’s easy to gloss over some of the language and just appreciate the read for pure entertainment value.
Hartley is as adorable as ever, charmingly doing everything but what is logical when she finds herself staring at the body of another classmate, refusing to be truthful with the police and deciding at sixteen years old she’s capable of uncovering what law enforcement professionals cannot. If we picked this book up expecting a realistic, intense, and hard-hitting portrayal of a murder mystery, then Hartley and company’s antics would be frustrating and most likely the complete opposite of the way actual events would unfold. However, this is not meant to be that type of story, and so the ridiculousness of the events and the repeatedly botched crime-solving attempts just drag a smile from our lips and force a shake of our heads as we take what happens as things meant all in good fun.
Hartley’s potential romance with Chase is fraught with a sweet, awkward tension as she tries to figure out where they stand after book one’s oh-so brief touching of lips, and her continued misunderstandings where he’s concerned are the highlight of the book. Each time she makes an assumption about how things with them are going to be, he turns it on its head and leaves Hartley endearingly confused and more than a little embarrassed. While overall not quite as strong as Deadly Cool, Social Suicide is still a solid read for anyone likes to pick a book up knowing they’ll simply enjoy the experience without the promise of anything deeper or richer. Hartley, Chase and Sam are quirky characters if a little over the top in their teenage mannerisms and dialog, each of them a blend of pastel colors that makes them a quick and cheerful detour before we desire to return to the muted earth tones and darker blacks and grays of the paranormal or dystopian reads.