Saturday, June 20, 2015

Deadly Little Secret by Laurie Faria Stolarz

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Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz
Publisher: Hyperion
Publication Date: December 23, 2008
Source: Borrowed from library

Some secrets shouldn't be kept...

Up 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 Ben, the mysterious new guy, 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 the rumors, even when her friends try to convince her otherwise. 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.

Even after reading the synopsis, I still wasn't sure what to expect from Deadly Little Secret. I mistakenly thought it would lean more toward supernatural, with the emphasis on her being "drawn to his touch". In the end it was really more of a YA thriller/mystery, complete with threats and a creepy stalker, albeit a little slow paced for my liking.

I felt like the characters where likeable enough, but didn't exactly stand out to me in any way. I couldn't tell if Camelia was brave, or just stupid; someone is sending threatening letters, she hears peculiar noises, a stranger has been in her room, and yet she has no problem being home alone. Ben was a little more interesting, but his back story still doesn't sit well with me, even after learning the whole scenario. Obviously I don't want to ruin anything for potential readers, so I won't elaborate, but it didn't make me feel much better about the situation regarding his ex. The one character that I really couldn't stand was Camelia's best friend, Kimmie. She was so over the top and literally only talked about boys. There was one point where she was finally being a good friend, after learning how serious her friend's stalker issues had become, and I thought she might not be so bad after all. Wrong. That moment was very fleeting, and seconds later she reverted back to her overly sexual self, existing solely to talk about the hot guys at their school and forever trying to get their attention. It was very hard to buy that they were best friends when they seemed to have absolutely nothing in common. Then there's Wes, Camelia's other friend, who didn't really get developed enough to care about. I assume he only existed so Kimmie would have someone to engage in witty banter with.

The relationship between Camelia and Ben didn't have much of a chance to get off the ground. Half of the book consisted of him avoiding her or trying to convince her that her life was in danger. They still had some moments where they connected, but with all of the chaos of people accusing him of murdering his ex and her being threatened, there wasn't a whole lot of opportunity for it. He also has his ex-girlfriend's death hanging over him, haunting him, so that weighed into it a lot as well. Not an epic love story to be sure, however I'm still anxious to see how these characters develop in book two.

The overall plot was decent, although as I said before it was a little slow going. The author did an excellent job at misdirection. I thought I had figured out who the culprit was at the beginning of the book, and was pleased to find that I was completely wrong. The end felt a little rushed; I expected it to be a lot more suspenseful, but it all ended pretty abruptly. There wasn't really a cliffhanger, yet I still feel compelled to read the next book in the series to find out what happens next between Camelia and Ben.

Hey, maybe Kimmie will be more tolerable in Deadly Little Lies. I won't hold my breath on that one though.

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