Katherine Tegen Books
Source: ARC from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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....
The synopsis of Vivian Divine is Dead gives the impression that the story spilled across the pages will be a sort of entertaining romp (despite the seriousness of Vivian’s recent family tragedies) full of romance, action, and a little mystery thrown in for good measure. What we find when we crack the spine though is a tale that desperately wants to live up to that impression but unfortunately never quite manages to do so. Vivian’s adventure south of the border as she goes into hiding exists in a strange type of literary limbo – not pushed far enough to venture into the territory of satire, allowing us to smirk our way through the story as we completely suspend disbelief, but just serious enough that we can’t even bring ourselves to laugh at the more ridiculous moments.
Vivian is a young starlet who at first glance doesn’t seem to be someone who buys into her own press, but once she gets to Mexico she lets her famous flag fly a bit and has us rolling our eyes as she sticks up her nose at certain people and things. To be fair, her attitude doesn’t last too long, but she remains a character lacking in substance, with no pieces of herself made available to us as readers so we can feel fully involved in her story. She falls for Nick appallingly quickly despite just having her heart broken by someone else, and she then proceeds to question him at every turn before forgiving him only to repeat the process all over again.
The romance doesn’t play a large role however, so the up and down of their relationship is fairly easy to tuck away in the back of our minds as we attempt to give the remainder of the story a chance to impress. Much to our disappointment though, the intentional craziness of her journey to Mexico and the over the top twists and turns remain as far from our emotional grasp as Vivian herself does, entertaining us on a more superficial level without giving us that bit of something extra to leave us with a much-craved pleasant satisfaction after reading.
Overall, Vivian Divine is Dead, while certainly well-written, is a story full to bursting with unfulfilled promise, and though we’re left with the feeling that Vivian’s story isn’t over just yet, it’s difficult to work up a great deal of enthusiasm to revisit her character in the future. Having said that however, Ms. Sabel has an easy, fluid writing style that makes Vivian Divine easily devourable in a single sitting, and though my experience with this particular story was a rocky one, I look forward to seeing what she brings to life moving forward.
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.