Monday, June 22, 2015

Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls

Title: Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls
Author: Lynn Weingarten
Simon Pulse
Release Date:
July 7, 2015

The Gist: June barely has time to mourn the death of her best friend Delia, before Delia's ex-boyfriend convinces her Delia was murdered, and June is swept into a tangle of lies, deceit, and conspiracy.

The synopsis for this book is just a couple of lines.  When I first saw that, I was nervous.  It means going into this book knowing next to nothing, but it is perfect.  Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls is a book where you think you know exactly what is happening.  Up until close to the halfway point I was thisclose to putting it in the DNF pile and moving on.  Am I ever glad I didn't.  Just when you think you have everything figured out and know exactly where this plot is going (and start getting annoyed at it for being so dang predictable) EVERYTHING CHANGES.  I mean it.  I can barely write this review because discussing the awesomeness of this book means also revealing some of the twists and turns that make it incredible.  And there are some twists and turns.  My entire view of the plot and the motivation of the characters changed several times.  Weingarten seems to have mastered the art of allowing the reader to get comfortable in the plot and then smacking them in the face with something they never would have expected but which makes a lot of sense on reflection. 
The plot in the beginning is a little slow which lulls the reader into a sense of security.  It starts to look like this is going to be just another run of the mill mystery with an easily guessed outcome.  But once the first big twist is revealed everything changes.  The plot becomes intriguing and exciting as we try to figure out exactly what is happening.  The writing flashes back and forth in time as we discover what led up not only to the "break up" between June and Delia but also to her suicide.  The side characters come off a little bland and could use some development but June and Delia are fantastic.  Everywhere that June is careful and thoughtful, Delia is wild and erratic.  It is really her character that is the standout.  Much of the novel concentrates on discovering just what motivates Delia's actions and examining the odd relationship between her and June.  

There are some issues within this novel that would stop me from recommending it for younger teens.  There is a great deal of underage drinking and drug use as well as crude sexual remarks and attempted rape.  Some of this is pivotal to the plot, but I'm not sure all of it was strictly necessary.   

Bottom Line: If you think this book is just an average, run of the mill mystery, stick it out.  It will surprise you in the most incredible ways. 

Teaching/Parental Notes:

16 and up
Sex:  Kissing, Sex between teens, Sexual Language
Violence: Death from fire, Fist fighting, Murder
Inappropriate Language: Shit, Fuck, Pussy, Dick, Tit
Substance Use/Abuse: Underage drinking, a great deal of drug use

Unanswered Questions: Once she had actual physical evidence that Delia's death wasn't suicide why didn't June go to the police?


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