Thursday, March 7, 2013
Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Ten years ago, Lorelei's parents disappeared without a trace. Raised by her grandparents and leaning on the support of her best friends, Lorelei is finally beginning to accept the fact that her parents are never coming home. For Lorelei, life goes on.
High school is not quite as painful as she thinks it will be, and things are as normal as they can be. Until the day the school's designated loner, Cameron Lusk, begins to stalk her, turning up where she least expects it, standing outside her house in the dark, night after night. Things get even more complicated when a new guy—terrifying, tough, sexy Jared Kovach—comes to school. Cameron and Jared instantly despise each other and Lorelei seems to be the reason for their animosity. What does Jared know about her parents? Why does Cameron tell Jared he can't have Lorelei? And what will any of them do when Death comes knocking for real? (courtesy of Goodreads)
So many bloggers have raved about Darynda Jones's books that I've been dying to read them. I decided to pick up her YA series first. With the first book the Darklight series, I'm definitely a Darynda Jones fan and look forward to reading more of her YA and adult books.
Lorelai is your everyday small-town New Mexican teenager, except for the fact that she occasionally has visions when she touches people. She helps her grandma tend the family store, loves her iMac, stresses over tests, complains that she's too short, and spends most of her time hanging out with her two best friends. But everything changes when she meets Jared "supernova hot" Kovach.
I went into Death and the Girl Next Door blind. I didn't read the synopsis and I couldn't remember any specifics from reviews I'd read. It was fun to be surprised as the paranormal twist revealed itself. And so it did, with a literal death-defying bang as Lorelai was thrown to her death - except for the fact that she didn't die. This was followed up immediately by a crazed fight between Jared and Cameron, the school loner who's been stalking Lorelai. Needless to say, the book was full of action. The paranormal element is of a type that I've read before, but Ms. Jones writes in such a way that it doesn't feel tired. I don't want to give it away in case you want to be surprised like I was.
The highlight of the book was Lorelai's friends, Brooklyn and Glitch. Especially Glitch. They're the type of friends who will stand next to you and face any danger, no questions asked. Even better, they'll chime in with a few snarky, geeky quips that will make you roll your eyes and laugh. Cameron too quickly grew on me. He has a hard exterior that covers a painful past and a great responsibility. He has a dark sense of humor that I love.
I was a fan of Jared, although he was not my favorite character. He's your typical alpha, emo, dangerous, dark hero. He's likable and his passion for Lorelai definitely set my heart pounding a few times, but I think I've read a few too many books lately with his personality type. Plus, Lorelai went on Bella-style about his hotness (although not quite so bad).
Death and the Girl Next Door is a very fast read. Like I said earlier, it is chock full of action and jumps from one scene to the other - perhaps too quickly sometimes but at least it doesn't drag. Ms. Jones does a good job in giving us enough information about the characters and the paranormal world to make this first installment feel complete while leaving plenty of holes for future books to fill. The book doesn't break any new ground in the paranormal realm, but it does put a new spin on a frequently told world and managed to surprised me with some extra twists at the end. I'm looking forward to seeing where the Darklight series goes.