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 Review: Hartley's back! Yay! That's pretty rare, for me to be so happy to see a character return. I very rarely REALLY like YA characters. I'm happy to say that Hartley Grace Featherstone is one of the exceptions; I really like this girl!
Hartley's just as funny and go-with-the-flow as she was in the first book. I think that's why I like her so much. She doesn't try too hard to be a badass or anything. She's just an average teenage girl who stumbles into trouble and then does her best to get to the bottom of a mystery...albeit in very humorous ways and fantastic heels. She seems like a sweet person, the kind of girl you would actually want to be friends with in high school. The same goes for her slightly-crazier best friend Sam. Manic? Yes. Funny? Sure. Lovable? Of course. Sam's just a little nuts, enjoys snacking (I can relate) and loves dressing up her friends in ridiculous clothes (and who doesn't want to do that?)
The mystery this time wasn't AS interesting as the one in Deadly Cool, probably because Hartley wasn't as emotionally invested in the mystery this time, but it was still interesting---and hilarious. Since these are comedy books, the murders are always really dramatic and cheesy and the students' reactions are really fake and awful, but that's what adds to the humor of the whole wacky situation.
Also, I liked the storyline with Hartley's mom and her dating attempts. Normally I hate when parents have their own storyline (because I DON'T CARE) but this time it was amusing enough that I sort of enjoyed it. And also because Detective Raley is, quite frankly, pretty amusing, so there was a bonus to Hartley's mom's story.
The romance was EXTREMELY slow in this book, to the point where almost nothing happened. It kind of frustrated me, because it was the same in Deadly Cool and I had been hoping something more would happen with Hartley and Chase. I guess at the end, you're led to believe that they become something more...but I SERIOUSLY hope there's going to be a third book, because Gemma Halliday can't just let the story drop there! That would be just awful.
So, all in all, another funny murder-mystery with a great heroine and a funny backup cast, with a hint at perhaps more stories featuring Hartley to come in the future... I sure hope so, at any rate.
Cover: Cute! This girl doesn't look as dead as the girl on the first cover, but oh well---I'm not even sure they're SUPPOSED to be dead. For some reason, I picture the girl on the Deadly Cool cover as Hartley and this cover as Sam, but I'm probably wrong... EITHER WAY, the cover is pretty and it actually sets sort of a "Oooh, mystery," sort of air to the book.
Overall Grade: A-