May 17, 2012

Review: Deadly Little Secret

By: Laurie Faria Stolarz
Published: December 2008 by Hyperion Book CH
Format: Hardback, 252 pages
First Reviewed: August 2011
Buy: Barnes & Noble//Books-A-Million//Amazon//Book Depository
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Some secrets shouldn't be kept...

Until three months ago, everything in sixteen-year-old Camelia’s life had been fairly ordinary: decent grades, an okay relationship with her parents, and a pretty cool part-time job at the art studio downtown. But when a mysterious boy named Ben starts junior year at her high school, Camelia’s life becomes anything but ordinary.
Rumored to be somehow responsible for his ex-girlfriend’s accidental death, Ben is immediately ostracized by everyone on campus. Except for Camelia. She’s reluctant to believe he's trouble, even when her friends try to convince her otherwise. Instead, she’s inexplicably drawn to Ben…and to his touch. But soon, Camelia is receiving eerie phone calls and strange packages with threatening notes. Ben insists she is in danger, and that he can help—but can he be trusted? She knows he's hiding something... but he's not the only one with a secret.

Rating: 1/5

This poor book has been sitting on my shelf for a couple of years. No lie. I got it and its sequel on a sporadic trip to the bookstore and after having read Stolarz other series, Blue is for Nightmares, I thought I'd love it, considering I liked that series. (Though, I need to re-read them now as that was about 4-5 years ago now...) Anyway, I was highly disappointed in this.

I don't want to sound mean when I say this, but the best way for me to describe the writing: Mediocre. It wasn't terrible, but it just wasn't writing I'd expect for a published novel. The writing is hard for me to describe other than that. It was just...boring. To me, it seemed Stolarz was just writing a story. This happened, "I" felt like this, "He/She" said this, then this happened. There wasn't "telling," but there was just a complete lack of depth. The was hardly any prose, and where there was, it didn't give anything to the character, and I never felt any emotion from Camelia. And I should have given what happens.

I'm not going to go too much into it as I'll just keep repeating myself, but overall it was just way too simple. No depth at all. Something I'd expect a first draft to look like.

Er...where to start with the characters, where to start. Like with the writing, there was absolutely no depth to these characters. They were just names on paper, their dialogue just words. Camelia, our narrator and MC, was just blah. I didn't care about her, nor did I care what was happening to her. I found myself thinking she was being an idiot. Who cares if your mom's having a rough time with her suicidal sister, some dude is stalking you and breaking into the need to tell your parents, you idiot. That person could have broken in and killed her parents, for crying out loud. Oh, sorry for the spoiler, but come on...

And Ben? Was he supposed to be some kind of boy every reader falls in love with? Because I cared about him even less than I cared about Camelia. Besides, he wasn't anyone character we haven't seen before. The mysterious new kid who everyone thinks is strange and different and bad. He was just blah.

The only character that had any substance for me was Camelia's friend Kimmie, who still wasn't up to published novel character standards, but who was still semi-developed into someone I actually liked some of the time. But other than that, the characters were just either overdone, boring, or just there. Even the villain was...well, dumb. His "diary entries" were creepy, but his actual character fell flat.

Sigh. I almost gave this two stars until the end, which was wrapped up within just a few pages and was unexciting, to say the least. No intensity at all.

In the beginning, I had a feeling I wouldn't like this for three reasons: 1) My friend told me, 2) I just finished Bloodlines and a Vampire Academy re-read, and 3) It was boring the heck out of me. For one, the chapters were so short, I literally found myself saying, "Really? You couldn't have just combined these two? These three/four/five?" I mean, come on, it made the story extremely choppy.

The plot, for me, wasn't too original. The typical new boy with weird abilities and a bad past/the girl who's in danger/blah blah, I'll try to avoid spoilers. Instant romance, though with this romance, there was, again, no substance. No feelings whatsoever. Just...lust. Touch-kind. Maybe that's the point, but if so, that just made this even more ridiculous.

I feel like I'm rambling and not making any sense, so I'll wrap this up: The book could have used so much more. The pacing was way too quick. The creepy-factor was all right, but I easily guessed the bad guy in the beginning, so it made the twist just blah, and once the climax came...well, like I said, not intense at all. There were unbelievable actions and reactions and some things were just too easily wrapped up/understood. Potential that fell flat.

Oh! And who in the world doesn't report a break-in, in which the person tore up items in your room and wrote "Bitch" on the mirror? Please...

Okay, so I had very little--any at all?--good things to say about this book, so I'll end with this: The overall premise could have been a great one if executed a bit better. If there was better use of emotion and depth. The idea was great. It just didn't work at all for me, was predictable, and didn't carry the intensity I expected from the build-up. Since I have the sequel, I'll be reading it, though I'm not very excited for it. At least these are quick reads. This is just not for me.

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