Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Review: Truly, Madly, Deadly

TRULY, MADLY, DEADLY
Hannah Jayne
Contemporary Young Adult/Mystery
272 pages
Sourcebooks Fire
Available now
Source: eARC from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Amazon)
They Said It Was An Accident...

Sawyer Dodd is a star athlete, a straight-A student, and the envy of every other girl who wants to date Kevin Anderson. When Kevin dies in a tragic car crash, Sawyer is stunned. Then she opens her locker to find a note:

You're welcome.

Someone saw what he did to her. Someone knows that Sawyer and Kevin weren't the perfect couple they seemed to be. And that someone—a killer—is now shadowing Sawyer's every move...

MY THOUGHTS
Truly, Madly, Deadly draws us in with the dark promise of a thrilling mystery, one that’s sure to raise the fine hair on the back of our necks and force us to check over our shoulders just to make sure no one is there. Unfortunately, the promise of the synopsis is never quite fulfilled by the story itself, the cast of characters as a whole lacking the depth that would turn this quick read into a thoroughly grueling and intensely emotional read. The mystery element does keep the pages turning with some speed, but so many intriguing and potentially poignant facets to the characters and their various relationships go unexplored, much to the detriment of our overall reading experience.

Sawyer is a young woman we genuinely want to know, the hints we get here and there of what she’s gone through with both an abusive boyfriend and the dissolution of her parents' marriage more than enough to make us want to dig deeper into her life. Frustratingly, however, one of the largest issues in the story–the abuse she suffered at the hands of her now-deceased boyfriend–is almost entirely glossed over, the ramifications of Sawyer’s being hit by someone who claims to have loved her tucked neatly away in favor of her stalker’s murderous attention.

Additionally, the terror she experienced in her relationship with Kevin could have been a key component to building a foundation for us with Sawyer herself, yanking us into her story with painful force and keeping us riveted as she deals with the maelstrom of emotions stemming from both his life and death. Instead though, we see Kevin repeatedly in rather pleasant flashbacks, our only moments with him some of her more affectionate memories that seem incongruous with the knowledge that he raised his hand to her. Thus, instead of being emotionally connected to Sawyer–witnesses to her pain and her healing–we remain detached, confused by the conflicting views of Kevin and surprised by how minor a role the abuse plays when it’s seemingly the catalyst for all that follows.

Overall, Truly, Madly, Deadly is a fast, read-all-in-one-sitting type of story, it just superficially acknowledges the elements that intrigue us most while exploring in more detail the ones that hold our interest least, leaving us wishing things had unfolded in a slightly different way. That being said however, Ms. Jayne does know how to keep readers flipping the pages and I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

Rating: 3/5

Find Hannah:


This book was sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

42 comments:

  1. We had very similar thoughts on this one, it didn't quite live up to what I wanted it to be but it was still a good read.
    Great review as always!

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    1. Agreed. There was a lot of promise in this one, I had just hoped for a bit more from it.

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  2. Umm yeah, I can understand why you would take issue with this one. I can't believe the being abused by her boyfriend part of the story was completely glossed over! And that the only flashbacks of him were all pleasant and affectionate. Urgh, no. No bueno. What a shame. Because otherwise this doesn't sound too bad, maybe nothing special, but a nice read. I will likely be skipping it now though as I have many higher priority books to get to. But I really enjoyed reading your thoughts anyways, Jenny!

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    1. There were maybe 4 or 5 small flashbacks, and in only one of them was he showing the abusive side of himself. All the other ones were her good memories of him, it made feelings about Kevin a bit confusing.

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  3. I like fast reads, especially now when I am on holiday ;)

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    1. I will be on holiday tomorrow, can't wait:) I will be reading all day.

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  4. I'm really happy to see that this is fast read as I love to read these in the summer. Honestly I expected more of this one but this might be good cause now my expectations are lower. Great review Jenny :)

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    1. It's definitely a quick read, and an interesting little murder mystery, there was just so much that was mentioned but not explored, that's what I found a bit disappointing.

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  5. Hmmmm that's a shame, actually. I've really been looking forward to this one, and if we're promised a lot and only given a little of what we want, I'm bound to be disappointed. I guess the speed of the book is a plus though because at least the pacing is there. Oh well...great honest review, Jenny! I love that you highlighted both the positives and the negatives so I know what to expect!

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    1. I feel like the flashbacks with Kevin weren't even necessary. I thought they were going to give us an in with Sawyer, help us really see what she went through and why she felt the way she did about his death, but they were all moments of him being nice and her feeling like she loved him, so I didn't really understand the abuse angle at all.

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  6. This girl's propensity for abusive relationships is a sad one. Maybe this author went out of her way to avoid writing an "issue" book but it sounds like she could have gone to far with that. (Just throwing out a theory -- you're the second person who's mentioned that about Sawyer and her bad relationship.)

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    1. Yes, it did feel like she didn't want this to turn into an issue book, and I understand that because it's a murder mystery, BUT, for me the abuse aspect was just too big to sweep under the rug or only half explore. I think if she had just left it as part of Sawyer's past - mention the abuse without any of the flashbacks - then I could have accepted it more as a piece of her but not the main focus of the story. As it was, I felt like it wanted to be the main focus but never quite got there.

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  7. Amen, Jenny. Amen. You nailed everything I felt about this book - it was very superficial and I never really felt any real anger or hatred towards Kevin for his abuse because Sawyer's flashbacks were pretty good. It made no sense at all.

    As this was a very Single White Female type of book, the abuse angle didn't need to be thrown in for dramatic flair. Nor did there need to be a sexual assault from a teacher ... It was all just so over-the-top.

    So much potential wasted.

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    1. Agreed. The sexual assault from the teacher was definitely over the top. I remember just sort of blinking at the book when that happened going "what?". Why did that need to happen at that moment?

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  8. Hmm. I love that I'm seeing mystery books pop up more often, but I think the lack of exploration into the abusive relationship would bother me in this one. =/

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    1. I think there are certain things you can build into a character's background and leave them there as part of what made them who they are, for me abuse isn't one of those things. I need to know a bit more about it if it's going to be the catalyst for all the other events in the story.

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  9. I totally agree with you on Sawyer's character. She lacked so much depth and I really wished the author had made some effort to go more into the trauma of the abuse. Like you said, it felt like she glossed over the whole issue. You already know how I felt about this.
    Lovely review, Jenny! :)

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  10. I generally dislike it when issues as big as abuse are hinted at to further complicate the plot or give characters more substance, but remain unexplored. I see no point, really, it's kind of an easy way out.
    I have very little time to read these days so I'm playing it safe by being very selective. I think I'll save this one for a vacation or something.
    Beautifully written review as usual, my friend.

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  11. Sounds like an affording book! Beautiful review Jenny! I agree that this book would need stronger abuse effects to make it more pogniant since it deals with suffering. I am intrigued to read it still since mysteries thrill me.

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  12. I got goosbumps just reading the synopsis. sorry it didn't completely deliver...it still sounds pretty intriguing though!

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  13. I almost took this on for review and then I passed. It sounds like such a great thriller, but I read your review and Nick's and it doesn't seem to exactly pan out. It seems this is an average read. Disappointing.

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  14. Jenny, I completely agree with you! I read this one and I wasn't too impressed. The thriller aspect was definitely a page-turner and speedy, but that was about it. I wasn't able to connect with Sawyer on any level, and Hannah Jayne could have done that easily with the backstory. Lovely, honest review, Jenny!

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  15. I'm surprised that you weren't more connected. I would think that would have to be an essential element to the story. Perhaps it was just started at the wrong part of the story? Hm... still sounds like a good enough read if you just want something to get the heart racing. Might have to check this one out!

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  16. Jenny, I think I love this story. I have heard some great things about it. Nice review.

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  17. Ooooh, I was hoping for more from this one! Still, it sounds like a page-turner so I might check it out!

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  18. So... I liked it even though I had some problems with is. But in the end when I closed it I had some fun and was actually compelled to find out the murder!

    BUT... I was frustrated with a few points, like why the heck didn't she tell anyone?!??!? There was no real reason why not to tell her BFF for instance... I mean of course there was but.. you know :) lol

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  19. Hmmm....not sure how I feel about this one. I've seen it around a lot lately and was initially intrigued, but I don't like how you said the abuse is glossed over. I do like that it's a fast read and a fun mystery though. Maybe I'll check it out of the library. Thanks for the great review as always, Jenny!

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  20. Regardless of how reviewers felt about the mystery and overall plot and no matter how they rated it, they all said the same thing..that the story kept you flipping the pages. Great review, I don't think I am going to buy this one, but i would pick it up from the library. Wonderful review Jenny!

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  21. I have tried to pick this one up a number of times but every time I try I couldn't get into it. It's to bad the abuse that Sawyer suffered at the hands of Kevin was glossed over. That's disappointing. I think I'll give this one another shot and see if I can finally get through it.

    Thanks for the review Jenny.

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  22. I love how balanced and helpful this review is, Jenny. I'm not a huge fan of this genre, so I think I'll be skipping out on this, despite the clever title and catching cover. Great review, dear!

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  23. Truly, Madly, Deadly does sound like it has the potential to deliver a solid story, but it sounds like the author decided to take on too much at once. I think I will still eventually pick up this book but just not right yet. Lovely review! :)

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  24. The premise sounds fantastic! It's got all the dysfunction I love, ha ha. I'll add it to my TBR.

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  25. That's a bummer this didn't work out Jenny! It has such a promising premise! It sounds like a read that would thrill and excite but I guess it just sort of fell flat. Great review, Jenny. It helps me weed out my TBR. :)

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  26. I have this one coming up to read soon, I'm sad that it didn't work a bit better for you. I am happy too see that it is a fast paced, read all in one sitting read though, those are the absolute best. I hope your next read blows you away!

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  27. I'm not a biggy on contemporary, I lean more towards fantasy and dystopian. Sorry to hear that it didn't work out for you! Maybe the next book you read will make up for it :)

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  28. I just don't know how I feel about abusive boyfriend books. On the one hand, I think it's a subject worthy of addressing, especially with a teen audience. On the other...well...I think the only way to address it properly is to delve incredibly deep, psychologically speaking. Maybe it's just that I think one book would never be enough to really get at the root of the problem--especially if the author glosses over it.

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  29. Awh... it's sad to know that this book didn't turn out as how you expected it! I know my sister read it and LOVED it though... I'll still give it a try b/c the synopsis sounds AMAZING! Great review!
    - Farah @ MajiBookshelf

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  30. I was disappointed by the fact that the abuse was glossed over too, Jenny. I also have to agree that I never felt like I got to know the characters.

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  31. Bummer that this one doesn't quite live up to it's summary. And what's up with sort of passing over the abuse? That's character/plot development gold right there, why would you ignore it? I'm glad that this one still remained intriguing enough to be a page-turner, but my expectations are definitely lower now than they were before.

    Julia @ That Hapa Chick

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  32. If the stalker killed Sawyer's boyfriend because he was apparently abusive to her then I would've expected a background on the abuse, not some gloss over. That part would bug me a little, but I like that it's a fast, enjoyable read. I'll give it a try. Great review, Jenny!

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  33. I was looking forward to this one, but now I'm thinking I might be a bit disappointed with the way the story unfolds. Glossing over physical/emotional abuse in favor of sweeter flashbacks is never going to sit well with me. It's such a shame, it sounds like this could have been so good if the author had just serviced her characters a bit better. Lovely, thoughtful review!

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  34. Truly Madly Deadly Boring! True fans of the series do not need episode by episode breakdowns which shed no new light on anything nor are the less than informative interviews with minor characters particularly interesting. The endless tutorial on the history of vampirism is obviously an attempt to flesh out this meager offering. Far more interesting would have been a frank study of how Alan Ball turned a poorly written and juvenile series of books into compelling television.

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