Truly, Madly, Deadly

304p. Sourcebooks/Fire. 2013. pap. $9.99. ISBN 978-1-4022-8121-1.
Gr 8 Up—In this fast-paced thriller, Jayne crafts a suspenseful tale of vengeance and misguided love. Dating star football player Kevin Anderson has its perks, including instant popularity for junior Sawyer Dodd. Their relationship seems perfect, but what nobody knows about is the abuse Sawyer suffers at the hands of her controlling boyfriend. When Kevin dies in a car accident, Sawyer is filled with a mix of sadness and relief, certain that her terrible secret will remain just that. She receives a cryptic note that simply states, "You're welcome," and Sawyer questions its meaning until people around her begin to die. Someone is willing to kill for Sawyer but is setting her up to take the fall. She determines to uncover the identity of the murderer and clear her name before she becomes the next victim. Sawyer is depicted as the ultimate victim-of physical abuse, sexual assault, bullying-who has real motives for revenge against those who have hurt her, yet the subjective third-person narrative suggests that she isn't the perpetrator, even when Sawyer doubts her own innocence. Peppered with red herrings, the plot has twists and turns that will have the audience guessing, and while the ending isn't completely unexpected, it still feels anticlimactic after Jayne's intense buildup. Other than a few instances in which important details are overlooked, including a noticeable change in the way a character dies, the story seems plausible and will keep readers engaged. Teens who enjoy R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike are the likely audience for this gripping mystery.—Audrey Sumser, Cuyahoga County Public Library, Mayfield, OH

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