There are probably vague spoilers scattered throughout this entire thing, and one slightly more spoilery thing towards the end. It probably won’t ruin it for you, but if you’re picky about spoilers, I wouldn’t read it.
This book feels like a Lifetime movie. Honestly, it would probably make a pretty good Lifetime movie, and I would probably watch it if I was bored. But going into this book, I wasn’t expecting a Lifetime movie. No, I was expecting a horror novel, and that’s not what I got.
I wouldn’t say that this book was too long (I’ve read longer and I don’t shy away from a long book), but I did feel like it was kind of long for the amount of story it was telling, if that makes sense. There were some parts where there wasn’t much happening, but that didn’t keep the author from writing many pages about the nothing that was happening. If this had been a Lifetime movie, it would have been over in about an hour and a half, and there wouldn’t have been any parts where the plot got slow. I normally prefer books to movies, especially when it’s a Lifetime movie, but, in this case, I think it might have been better that way.
My other complaint about the plot is that there are two main parts of the plot-Stella trying to find Jeanie’s killer, and Stella deciding who to date-and I found the second part of the plot to be kind of irritating. If I was in Stella’s situation, the last thing on my mind would be dating. But in this, it’s apparently so important to decide if she should date the jock who likes her (but probably only because she’s popular) or the guy she’s known forever who has loved her forever (*eye roll*) that the conundrum takes up nearly half the book. I don’t even know what to say. She could be murdered, and there are police outside her home all the time, but she doesn’t worry about that. She worries about who to date. I just don’t get it. I wasn’t looking for something with cheesy romance, I was looking for something with terrifying horror. I was going to say something about how maybe in some books there can be romance and horror, just not this one, but I don’t know if there actually can be a good mix of horror and romance. There are no psychological thriller romances. The closest you’re going to get is a paranormal romance, but those aren’t even scary, the only paranormal thing is normally a hot vampire. When you think you’re about to die, you’re not going to be thinking about how cute some guy is. You’re going to be thinking about how you’re trying to survive.
For some reason the author felt the need to mention Zoey’s above-average cup size, and then very soon after mention that she hooks up with many guys, almost as if the two go hand in hand. The author doesn’t mention the cup size of any other character in the book, just Zoey. She doesn’t discuss the size of any of the guys bits and pieces either. I can’t even. I’ve run into people who are jerks to anyone with a cup size above a B, and they suck. You know the sort, any girl with large breasts is easy and apparently grew the breasts through sheer force of will just to improve her chances in the guy market. (I’ve been hearing these horrible things since I was twelve, sometimes directed at me, and I really have no patience with them.) Why would the author want to put a horrible stereotype in her book? Also, chances are the girls reading this book don’t care what cup size the characters are (and really it is only used here to establish her appearance and to prove her promiscuity). The only people I can see really caring are creepy guys. I doubt anyone would want to write a book with extra stuff just to appeal to the creepy guys except other creepy guys.
Also, if the author’s intentions were just to describe the character more, she failed. I’m sorry, but if you can’t write a good description of a character without throwing in irrelevant details like cup size, you’re a bad writer. I feel really bad saying this, but I do mean it. And it is a horrible stereotype. Well-endowed girls are no more promiscuous than less well endowed girls. This is just something teens use to hurt each other. Why would an adult put this in the book not as an insult hurled by one character at another but instead as a serious description of a character. I can see using it as insult. That would be true to teen conversation and interaction, but to use it as a description is really out of line.
I went into this book expecting there to be a supernatural creature. Probably with huge sharp teeth and claws-something along the lines of the monster from Stranger Things. But there wasn’t one. On the front of the book it says “If you look for monsters you’ll find them” and I took that very literally and expected monster monsters. Perhaps it’s my fault for taking it so literally, but for most of the book it seemed like there would have been something supernatural. About a hundred pages from the end, I started to wonder if maybe it wasn’t actually a monster and it was instead a horrible human. I was right. I have a lot of thoughts about this. I did want a supernatural creature, but I guess this ending is more realistic. Maybe the book is trying to reflect the times that we live in, where the horrible things in the world aren’t caused by supernatural beings, but instead terrible people? If that’s the case, I would feel really bad criticizing it for this, but I do feel like there was at least a little bit of false advertising. Also, if the goal was to reflect what’s going on in the world, I probably wouldn’t want to read the book. It sounds weird, but hear me out. I read to escape from the real world and to distract myself from my endless anxiety. I don’t want to read something that’s trying to mirror what’s causing me anxiety. I have no way of knowing for sure if this was the author’s goal or not, I could be entirely wrong, it’s just a theory I’m rambling about.
The last little detail I want to talk about is kind of weird, but whatever. Has anyone else noticed that in a lot of YA paranormal books like this the main character’s dad is always a lawyer or in some form of law? Stella’s dad was a lawyer. In the Mara Dyer trilogy, Mara’s father is a lawyer. In the Twilight series, Bella’s dad was a cop. Do authors do this so that that parent has to be at work for a long time and the main character can go mess around with paranormal stuff? Or is it just the first thing that everyone thinks of? As trained lawyers, shouldn’t they catch on to what their daughters are doing? I don’t know. It’s something I’m going to keep looking for.
I debated giving this book a higher rating because I haven’t been very generous with ratings so far this year, but I think I’m going to give it two stars. That’s probably higher than what I would have given it if I had given all the other books I read this year high ratings.