In this light comedy/murder mystery, 16-year-old Hartley tries to prove that her ex-boyfriend didn't kill her rival.
The emphasis stays on comedy with spikes of suspense as Hartley bounces from rage against boyfriend Josh and his not-so-secret squeeze Courtney to screaming shock when she finds Courtney's dead body in Josh's closet. Despite appearances, she's sure he's innocent and decides to prove it, no matter how ill-equipped she may be to do so. She teams up with Chase, a hunky, goth-type school journalist who looks a bit suspicious himself. Hartley breezily defies her mother and sneaks out of her house to meet strangers in the middle of the night, even after she literally stumbles over a second murder victim. Not surprisingly, eventually she finds herself in danger. Halliday keeps the mood light and tries to balance the comedy and suspense. Comedy easily wins the battle, but suspense often breaks into this fairly standard murder mystery. The author portrays Hartley as a bit of a bubble brain, however, indulging in omigod freakouts with best friend Sam at every turn of events and constantly acting on impulse, quipping her way through high-school suspects until she finds the major clue in the case. It's fine for an audience more interested in light entertainment than discerning heft.
Light indeed, but merry and often suspenseful. A pleasant, funny chick-lit mystery.Â (Mystery. 12 & up)Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Gr 8 Up--Hartley can't believe her bad luck. First, she hears rumors that her boyfriend, Josh, is cheating on her with Courtney Cline, a member of the abstinence-only Color Guard. Second, she finds an empty condom wrapper in his locker--maybe it doesn't mean anything, right? Finally, and this is the biggie, after she goes over to Josh's house to confront him, she finds Courtney dead in his closet, strangled by her own iPod earbuds. So, what's a jilted and traumatized girl to do? Prove her ex-boyfriend's innocence, of course. When Hartley and her best friend set out to discover who murdered the popular teen, they find themselves in more danger than they bargained for. After Hartley stumbles upon another murdered Color Guard member, she begins to suspect that she might be next on the killer's hit list. Along the way she meets Chase, the bad-boy editor of Herbert Hoover High's online newspaper, who joins her in her quest--but is the brooding James Dean look-alike everything he says he is or just a killer in disguise? The cliff-hanger ending sets the book up as the first in a series. This fun and outrageous mystery is a perfect mix of humor and horror that will have readers laughing while they try to figure out "whodunit."--Traci Glass, Eugene Public Library, OR[Page 114]. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.