Pretty Dead Girls by Monica Murphy | Book Review

Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: standalone
My rating:

Beautiful. Perfect. Dead.

In the peaceful seaside town of Cape Bonita, wicked secrets and lies are hidden just beneath the surface. But all it takes is one tragedy for them to be exposed.

The most popular girls in school are turning up dead, and Penelope Malone is terrified she's next. All the victims so far have been linked to Penelope—and to a boy from her physics class. The one she's never really noticed before, with the rumored dark past and a brooding stare that cuts right through her.

There's something he isn't telling her. But there's something she's not telling him, either.

Everyone has secrets, and theirs might get them killed.

Pretty Dead Girls was a case of "right book, right time" for me. I was in the mood to read a YA thriller and Pretty Dead Girls landed on my hands and it was a great time.

The novel starts with a bloody bang as it opens in the killer's perspective and we see the killer take their first victim. Then, it switches to our main character, Penelope Malone: rich, popular and, most importantly, the president of the Larks, a very exclusive service club at school that was made up of five of the most popular senior girls and five junior girls. The senior members of Lark rule the school, and one of their tasks was to groom the junior Lark girls to take over when they're seniors.

The killer's first victim was one of the senior Larks. Reeling from the violent tragedy that changed their once peaceful and quiet town forever, Penelope pulls her fellow Larks together to plan events to honor the girl's memory. But, when the killer strikes again and again, seemingly to specifically target Penelope's friends and frenemies, Penelope starts if the killer is closer to her than she thinks. The only person who might have some answers, as well as a connection with the victims, was a boy from one of her classes. But he's keeping secrets too, and Penelope starts to wonder if she's next.

I breezed through Pretty Dead Girls in a couple of days, which was faster than my usual reading speed, because I was riveted. I wanted to know what's going to happen next, when the killer is going to strike, and who their next victim is. The fact that we see the murders through the killer's point of view kept the tension high and it's also when we're in the killer's perspective that we get most of the clues of who this person might be. I have to admit that although I enjoyed Pretty Dead Girls and it's a good YA thriller, it wasn't great. By this I mean, nothing about it really surprised me and there wasn't truly anything unique about it. I've seen the elements used in previous books before. Like, when the killer's motivation was finally revealed, it was more like a fizzling oh, okay not an Oh. My. God. I didn't not see that coming! gasp. I did like that the killer's identity wasn't obvious until the last possible minute because there were many possibilities and that kept the tension up all the way until the end.

As for the characters, some of the secondary ones felt all over the place in the beginning and I couldn't quite connect with our main girl Penelope. Then, there's our mysterious boy Cass who, unsurprisingly, was Penelope's love interest. He was okay, but I was indifferent about him. And since I had no connection with Penelope and Cass, I was meh over their romance and their overall relationship. 

I enjoyed the author's writing style. I've actually read her new adult books before--actually her new adult books are some of the firsts I read when I was new to the genre. There were some parts that dragged just a little bit, but I thought Pretty Dead Girls was paced pretty well. The author writes in a way where you can consume the words on the page quickly and I liked that, especially since I wanted a fast read.

Overall, Pretty Dead Girls was a fun, thrilling read. Like I said, I picked it up at the right time when I wanted a fast read that can keep my attention and Pretty Dead Girls was successful in doing that. If you're in a reading slump, this would be a good book to pick up to get you out of your funk. I've seen a bunch of reviews say it's a mix of Pretty Little Liars and Scream Queens, but I can't attest to that because I haven't watched/read neither PLL nor Scream Queen. However, the author did note that she was inspired by the shows so if they're your kind of thing, Pretty Dead Girls might be for you. While Pretty Dead Girls didn't blow my mind, it was very enjoyable and exciting as a whole.

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