Saturday, June 11, 2016

Review: The Dead List by Jennifer Armentrout

It's Ella's senior year of high school and she and her best friend Linds plan to make it the best year ever. At Brock Cochran's end of summer pool party, the girls vow to have as much fun as possible before they head off to different colleges next fall. But when Ella is mysteriously attacked on her way home from the party, everything changes. Ella's carefree senior year plans disintegrate as she finds herself at the center of an attempted murder investigation.

Ella tries to move on, but her attacker isn't done yet. He shows himself in the form of horrifying signs and symbols: a clown mask strewn on her bed, a dead bird in her backpack, a shadow moving past her window in the night. And as the weeks pass, it turns out that Ella isn't the only one being tormented.

With the help of an old flame, Jensen Carver, and her friends and family, Ella tries to attain some sense of normalcy, but she can't seem to shake the feeling that there's a dark pattern hidden in the killer's every move. Suddenly, even those in her innermost circle seem suspicious. In her seemingly safe West Virginia town, Ella starts to wonder who she can trust.

I have a confession I need to make. I am not a big fan of Armentrout's writing. I know that she is super popular, and everyone loves her, but I have a hard time making it more than a few chapters through any of her books. I am a HUGE fan of her as a person, I think she is super sweet, and smart and has a great presence on social media. If only all authors could be more like her. That being said, I wish that I could like her writing more than I do. Her romances, while swoon-worthy to an extent, tend to lean towards insta-love and never really have enough development for me. I say all of this so that you can understand how big a deal it is that I ended up loving The Dead List as much as I did.

The Good
I am a huge murder mystery fan girl, even more so when it's YA murder mystery. Throw in a good romance, and we are talking the perfect trifecta for me. So the premise of The Dead List really caught my attention. PLUS, it's a free Wattpad read, so it's not like you are investing anything other than time by giving it a shot.

Ella was a good heroine, not too whiny or weak, and she took a lot of the awful stuff that was happening to her in stride. Jensen, though. Jensen was just amazing. There was a little cheesy awkwardness in the beginning of their relationship, but for the most part, it was just hot. Jensen is this strong, capable guy who has a habit of being in the right place right when Ella needs her. And this being a murder mystery where a psycho killer is after our girl, he was needed a lot. I couldn't help but picture Jensen Ackles as Jensen, so that definitely helped with the hot part. And it was funny how Supernatural did come up a couple of times and Ella, of course, was a Dean fan girl.

As for the murder mystery part, I will admit, I was way more focused on the romance than I was in puzzling out who the murderer could be. Armentrout didn't drop a lot of clues along the way about who it might be, though Ella did have her suspicions. I was surprised by the ending, so that's always nice, when you haven't figured out who the killer is from the first couple chapters.

The Bad
This book did have a major case of where the fuck are your parents and what the fuck are they doing? I mean, if there was a psycho killer after me, my mom would have been on my ass every second of the day, not leaving me in the care of my (admittedly capable) boyfriend. And Jensen's parents, being totally cool with him staying with Ella all of the time was a little ridiculous. Like, "Sure honey, we know this girl has been attacked several times and obviously someone wants her dead, but of course you can go over there at midnight to make sure she is safe. There is probably no chance the killer could kill you, too!" But for the most part, it was easy to not care so much about that and focus on Jensen and Ella's many failed attempts to seal the deal.

Overall, The Dead List was a fast-paced, enjoyable read. There were moments of suspense and tons of romantic moments to keep you engaged and rooting for our lead girl to make it out alive. Well worth the effort, especially since for now, you can read it free on Wattpad!

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