'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Saturday 1 June 2013

Review: Dead, Actually

Wealthy and happy with her offbeat life, Willow Cartwright is a D-Lister by choice. She’s happy flying under the radar, but high school 'Queen B' JoJo Grayson has other plans.

Willow wouldn’t be surprised that JoJo is causing trouble (again), if it wasn’t for the fact that JoJo died in a car accident. Crossing to the ‘other side’ hasn’t made JoJo any easier to get along with, but if Willow wants the dead girl to leave her alone, she’s going to have to help her find out what caused her accident.

A missing mobile phone, unexplained text messages, dirty secrets and an anonymous blackmailer results in a very nervous group of privileged teenagers. Is Willow putting her own life at risk to help JoJo? Is gorgeous Seth Pentecost helping her to solve the mystery because he wants to be friends (or something more!) or does he have his own secrets to protect?

Intrigue, humour, romance, and a really narky ghost combine to create a wonderfully enjoyable story for teen readers looking for something interesting and entertaining to while away a few hours at the beach or, more likely this time of year, curled up under a blanket on the lounge. Dead, Actually is the perfect book for teen readers looking for a relaxing read, but keen for something with a more to offer than the clichéd boy meets girl. 

I love the humour underlying the story and found Willow and JoJo’s conversations in particular very entertaining. I also enjoyed the intrigue. With so many of the characters with something  to hide, it was difficult to decide just who was behind the blackmail and threats following JoJo’s funeral. The friendship dynamics within the group of wealthy Gold Coast teens were also interesting, especially with so many trying to discover each other’s secrets while working to keep their own hidden.

I have already recommended this novel to a friend’s 15-year-old daughter, who loved it (reading it on her Kindle of course, while I prefer the old-fashioned paper version).

Dead, Actually was the co-winner, 2012 Aurealis Awards - Best Young Adult Novel (shared with Sea Hearts by Margot Lanagan) and winner of the Favourite Paranormal Romance, 2013 Australian Romance Readers Association Awards.

Title: Dead, Actually
Author: Kaz Delaney
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, $17.99 RRP
Publication Date: March 2012
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781742378183
For ages: 12 - 16
Type: Young Adult Fiction